BMW X5 SUV
Price £42,945 - £64,290
- Comfortable ride
- Economical sDrive model
- Plenty of interior space
- Expensive to buy
- Dull looks
- Uncomfortable Sport mode
At a glance
“The BMW X5 might not be the best looking 4x4, but it’s still an excellent seven-seat SUV.”
The BMW X5 was one of the first SUVs to offer excellent on-road performance at the expense of decent off-road ability. That means the current X5 is second only to the Porsche Cayenne when it comes to offering a fun driving experience. The X5 is also a refined motorway cruiser and even offers the option of seven seats.
One of the BMW X5's strongest attributes is its engine line-up, which offers four diesel engines and one petrol. All the diesels offer decent fuel economy and the range has recently been joined by an economical two-wheel drive version. The petrol version doesn’t make much sense because it is barely quicker than the fastest diesel and has terrible fuel economy.
BMW offers SE, M Sport and M50d trim levels, and standard equipment levels are generous with the even basic model coming complete with sat-nav, a leather interior, climate control and a Bluetooth phone connection.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Not the cheapest car to run, but not bad for an SUV
The most economical BMW X5 is the new two-wheel drive 25d sDrive model, which can get 50.4mpg and emissions of 149g/km so that road tax is just £145 per year. All other models get grippy four-wheel drive and the 25d xDrive car can get 48.7mpg and annual road tax costs £180. The quicker 30d and 40d models both get 45.6mpg and also cost £180 to tax. Given the performance on offer, the flagship M50d’s economy of 42.2mpg is impressive and its road tax bill will be £225 annually. The only petrol model is the xDrive 50i, but its 27.2mpg economy figure is poor which, combined with road tax of £485 every year, make it very hard to recommend - even if it is the quickest model in the range.
Maintenance for the X5 will be cheaper than the Porsche Cayenne’s, and BMW also offers fixed-price servicing that makes it easier to keep on top of costs.
Engines, drive & performance
Not as good to drive as other BMWs, but still a good motorway cruiser
You wouldn’t expect the basic X5 to be particularly quick, but the sDrive 25d can actually get from 0-60mph in just 8.2 seconds on the way to a top speed of 137mph. Interior noise is kept to a minimum, while the smooth-shifting automatic gearbox means that it never feels as quick as it is. Fitting the basic model with xDrive four wheel drive doesn’t harm the basic model’s 0-60mph time, while the four-wheel-drive 30d and 40d models get from 0-60mph in 6.9 and 5.9 seconds respectively. The flagship M50d model drops that down to just 5.3 seconds, but the quickest model of all is the expensive to run petrol xDrive 50i, which does 0-60mph in five seconds flat.
BMW fits the X5 with Driver Performance Control across the range, which lets the driver set the car up for comfort or sporty driving. On M Sport models it also stiffens the suspension and adds weight to the steering. Keeping it in comfort mode means less bumps are felt inside, but the steering can feel disconcertingly light at first.
Interior & comfort
The default Comfort setting will keep passengers happy
The BMW X5 has a stylish interior that is well built and east to use. Its raised driving position also gives the driver a good view of the road ahead, and the driver’s seat and steering wheel offer plenty of adjustment to make it easy to find a comfortable driving position.
Road, wind and tyre noise are all well insulated from the interior, to make the BMW a quiet motorway cruiser, although bigger-wheeled models suffer from more road noise. M Sport models come with adjustable suspension that allows the driver to choose between sporty handling and a comfortable ride.
Practicality & boot space
A big car with lots of boot space and seven seats
With huge exterior dimensions, it’s no surprise that the BMW X5 has plenty of space on the inside, too. Buyers can spec their X5 with seven seats, but leave that box un-ticked and the BMW gets a 650-litre boot, which offers up a total of 1,870 litres of load-lugging capacity with the back seats folded down. Space for passengers in the rear is good and there are plenty of cubbyholes in the interior, including a large lidded space between the two front seats.
Interior quality is good, and BMW will happily sell you packs that add to it with a variety of trims, including cold-to-the-touch metal.
Reliability & safety
Lots of active safety equipment as standard on all models
The X5 was one of the poorer performing BMWs in our 2014 Driver Power Survey, coming 97th out of 150 cars – a six-place drop on its 2013 ranking. It did particularly badly for reliability, where it ranked 141st out of 150 cars. As with any BMW, the X5 does get a three-year/unlimited mileage warranty, though.
With a five-star rating from Euro NCAP, the BMW X5 should be safe and it gets plenty of air bags, as well as a seatbelt reminded buzzer. Active cruise control, which matches the speed of the car in front and maintains a safe distance from it, is also standard.
Price, value for money & options
New two-wheel drive entry-level model is cheaper than before
As a premium SUV the BMW X5 is not cheap to buy, but it is less expensive than rivals such as the Range Rover Sport and the Porsche Cayenne. All models get active cruise control, sat-nav, climate control and BMW's excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox.
M Sport models get a subtle body kit, huge 19-inch alloy wheels and adjustable suspension, while the interior also gets unique trim and a sports steering wheel.
The options list includes colour screens for the rear-seat passengers and BMW's Driving Assistance Plus, which can move and steer the BMW in slow-moving queues of traffic.