BMW X5 SUV
Price £44,280 - £90,180
- Reasonable running costs for a large SUV
- Plenty of standard equipment
- Loads of room inside
- Pricey options
- Some rivals are more refined
- Not the most exciting car to look at
At a glance
“The BMW X5 is an excellent car in a very strong class.”
The BMW X5 is a large SUV, which, like much of the BMW range, appeals due to its sporty nature. It's an exceptionally accomplished machine, but when it's up against rivals like the Audi Q7, Volvo XC90, Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport and Mercedes GLE, it has to really shine to stand out.
This latest version has more space than ever before (it's the first X5 to come with the option of seven seats), which sets it apart from the Porsche and the Mercedes. The two extra seats do eat into this space a bit – especially in the boot – but it's still pretty roomy. There are also a variety of storage cubbies.
Almost all versions of the X5 come with four-wheel drive as standard, apart from the entry-level X5 sDrive 25d. This has a two-litre diesel engine and is by far the cheapest conventionally powered model in the X5 line-up to run, thanks to its lower power and lighter weight compared to the rest of the range. You can also have this engine with four-wheel drive, plus there's a plug-in hybrid that boasts even lower running costs.
Most of the rest of the engine range relies on at least six cylinders to move the X5 about. There are three 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesels, a 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 petrol and the hybrid, which uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor.
This last version should be the cheapest to run, returning 85.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 77g/km, while it's not particularly expensive to buy for a hybrid, either. The cheapest X5 – the two-wheel drive X5 sDrive 25d – will return 53.3mpg and cost £130 a year to tax, thanks to its 139g/km CO2 emissions. Company-car buyers will be liable for 25% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax.
Next up is the 254bhp 3.0-litre diesel X5 xDrive 30d, which will do the 0-62mph sprint in an impressive 6.8 seconds, yet still return 47.9mpg. This means CO2 emissions of 156g/km, resulting in a 29% BiK rating and a £180 annual road tax bill.
The second 3.0-litre diesel – dubbed the X5 xDrive 40d – is considerably quicker than the 30d. It dispatches with the 0-62mph sprint in 5.9 seconds (nearly a second quicker) thanks to its 308bhp, yet still returns 47.1mpg. Running costs shouldn’t be too bad, either, thanks to CO2 emissions of 157g/km. This means the 40d sits in the same road tax and BiK brackets as the considerably less powerful 30d.
At the top of the diesel pile is the M50d, which is quite simply astonishingly fast. Thanks to its 376bhp engine, 0-62mph takes just 5.3 seconds. It does, however, cost quite a bit to run. It’ll only manage 42.1mpg economy and its CO2 emissions are 173g/km. This equates to a £205 annual road tax bill and a 32% BiK contribution, which isn’t too bad for a car this powerful.
The only pure petrol engine available is a turbocharged 4.4-litre V8, which makes 444bhp and does the 0-62mph sprint in 4.9 seconds. However, it costs a lot more to run than any of the diesels, due to its 29.4mpg economy and CO2 emissions of 224g/km. This means you’ll pay £290 a year in road tax.
Standard equipment on the X5 isn’t quite as generous as the Volvo XC90, but it's pretty good nonetheless. All models get alloy wheels, Bluetooth phone connectivity, DAB digital radio, sat nav, cruise control and leather upholstery, plus front and rear parking sensors.
Our favourite model in the X5 range is the xDrive 30d. Some other diesels are quicker or cheaper to run, but this version offers the best balance between performance, running costs and purchase price. Get one in M Sport trim and you’ll be very happy indeed.
The BMW X5 xDrive30d offers the best balance of economy, price and likely resale value
The BMW X5 has diesel engines in two sizes and four power outputs, plus a very smooth automatic gearbox
Compared to the sensible and well equipped SE, 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