BMW X5 SUV
Price £44,280 - £90,180
- Very roomy
- Efficient engines
- Plenty of equipment
- Looks dull
- Could be quieter
- Options very expensive
At a glance
"It faces some pretty stellar rivals, but the impressive BMW X5 is a very worthy competitor."
This is the third-generation BMW X5 – a large SUV to rival the likes of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport. It's among some pretty stellar company, then, but BMW has pulled out all the stops to ensure this model is a worthy competitor.
It has lashings of standard equipment, an extremely roomy interior and a choice of powerful yet economical engines. On top of all that, it's still fun to drive, but now a little more comfortable than before.
The X5 has always been offered with four-wheel drive, but there's also the option of a two-wheel-drive model (badged sDrive). With its lower purchase price, small 2.0-litre diesel engine, good fuel economy and low CO2 emissions, this version gives buyers on a budget a step-up into X5 ownership.
That said, most people are likely to choose four-wheel drive (badged xDrive) – an option on the 2.0-litre model but the only transmission available with the larger (although still economical) 3.0-litre diesels. These are available in three different states of tune, confusingly called 30d, 40d and M50d. The latter is the most powerful and produces 375bhp (sufficient to take the car from 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds) yet can still return 42.8mpg economy.
But it's the least powerful 30d that gets the nod from us – it'll still return 42mpg, yet covers the 0-62mph dash in 6.8 seconds, which is plenty for a car like this. Plus, it's cheaper to buy than the M50d.
There's just one petrol model, but its high fuel consumption and CO2 emissions – not to mention the comparatively small amount of money you'll get back when you sell it – mean it's best avoided.
The X5 comes in two trim levels: SE and higher-spec M Sport. There's a single M model, too (the M50d). Even the SE has leather trim, an eight-speed automatic gearbox, bright xenon headlights, sat nav and 18-inch alloy wheels, making it our pick of the range. Unless you really crave luxuries such as parking cameras and even fancier leather, there's no need to increase your company-car tax liability by ordering your X5 with expensive extras.
The X5's cabin is a stylish and extremely comfortable place, while build quality is generally very high. However, the previous-generation model, on which this new X5 is based, finished a disappointing 97th in our Driver Power 2014 owner satisfaction survey. For this reason, the X5's three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty could come in handy.
The BMW X5 xDrive30d offers the best balance of economy, price and likely resale value
The BMW X5's diesel engines come in two sizes and four power outputs, while all engines drive the wheels through a very smooth automatic gearbox
Compared with the SE’s generous and well chosen array of features, the BMW X5 M Sport looks unnecessary
If carrying extra passengers is more important to you than boot space, an optional third row of seats can be specified on the BMW X5
It’s a pity that the BMW X5’s strong case appears to be undermined by average-at-best reliability