5 reasons to buy a BMW X5
Despite a few pitfalls, the BMW X5 deserves a place on your large SUV shortlist. It's pleasant to drive, has a strong range of engines and is practical enough to suit most families...
In the world of large SUVs, technology moves quickly, and where once the BMW X5 was among our favourite options in this market, it's now been overtaken by the likes of the Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and our current Large SUV of the year, the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
That's not to say the X5 isn't worth of your attention, though. This is still a practical and classy SUV, and if you're not tempted by its rivals it's well worth considering. The X5 offers excellent handling, a comfortable ride and truly excellent rear space.
With prices starting from £44,575, the X5 is also cheaper than much of the competition – prices for the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLE start from £48,455 and £50,075 respectively.
Here are five reasons to consider a BMW X5 as your next car.
5 reasons to buy a BMW X5
5. Lots of kit
Even entry-level SE models get 18in alloys, parking sensors, heated leather seats, a DAB radio, sat-nav and Bluetooth connectivity. There's really no reason to look any higher in the range.
4. Space for seven, comfort for five
Even if all of your passengers are six-footers, they'll all have space in the X5, and because there's no large transmission tunnel the middle seat passenger doesn't miss out on comfort. There are also two optional extra seats which flip up from the boot floor if you need to carry more passengers.
3. Great handling
The X5 is one of the sharpest SUVs to drive. It has plenty of grip through corners and feels more agile than rivals like the Range Rover Sport or Volvo XC90.
BMW's infotainment and navigation system is among the best around. It's slick, intuitive and graphically rich, and it's controlled through a rotary dial on the centre console.
Some SUVs suffer with rear visibility due to thick pillars, but the X5 offers a good view out of the front and the back. The fact that front and rear parking sensors are included as standard helps with parking, too.
What about buying used?
The first generation of BMW's large SUV went on sale in 2007 and lasted until 2013. It makes an ideal long-distance cruiser, with passengers getting plenty of space in the plush and comfortable cabin.
If you're after a bargain, then look for petrol-powered X5s, because these are known to not hold their value very well – just be aware that you'll spend more time at the pumps than you would with a diesel. Emissions of CO2 are high across the board, too, so you'll also be paying quite a lot of tax.
Of the many engine choices available, we'd opt for the 232bhp 3.0-litre diesel, which is fast, smooth and easy to find on the used market. Later versions of this model, after 2008, were named badged xDrive30d SE. There's no need to look past SE specification, as this comes with everything you're likely to need including climate and cruise control and parking sensors.
Complaints are relatively few, but some owners report poor interior build quality, engines running rough and faulty parking sensors. Engine faillures aren't unheard of, either. If your car comes with run-flat tyres, be aware that they'll be expensive to replace. Also check that the Bluetooth system works on your test drive, as it's known to be temperamental.
Cars from this era start at around £5700, but our preferred xDrive30d model can be had for around £14,500. For that price, you'll get a car with fewer than 50,000 miles on the clock.