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8 vehicles within 100 miles of
Zac Estrada
Automotive Editor - November 6, 2014

Expert Rating

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19 City / 27 Highway

Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.


Nothing is so much a staple among upscale families than the BMW X5. It may not be the last word in practicality, but nothing has the presence and premium appeal of the X5, one of the first luxury soft-roaders. On top of that, a wide choice of engines, trims and its driving dynamics make it a force in this category.

What's New For 2015

For 2015, the X5 gets minor efficiency and performance upgrades, as well as some changes in option pricing and packaging. Bluetooth audio streaming is now standard, but Enhanced USB and Smartphone Integration is now an option.

Choosing Your BMW X5

X5s come in four trim levels differentiated by four powertrain setups. Each of those is also offered in four "lines," or essentially appearance packages: Base, Luxury Line, xLine and M Sport. Upholstery, color, wheels and some individual options are affected by which line you choose.


The base X5 starts with a 3-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower going only to the rear wheels. Like all X5s, it comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and an auto start-stop function. Other equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, leatherette seating, heated front seats, xenon headlights with LED fog lights, power front seats and BMW's iDrive multimedia system.

Major options include the Premium Package, with leather upholstery, keyless entry and start, satellite radio and four-zone climate control. The Driver Assistance Package adds a backup camera and head-up display, while the upgraded package adds a surround view monitor and blind-spot detection. A third-row seat with rear air suspension is optional, as well as a night vision camera, adaptive cruise control, active park assist and either Harmon/Kardon or Bang & Olufsen audio.


The xDrive35i adds an all-wheel drive system. Other than that, standard features and options are equivalent to the sDrive35i.


The diesel-engined X5 gets a 3-lliter turbocharged six-cylinder unit with 255 horsepower, good for highway fuel economy of up to 31 mpg according to the EPA. Otherwise, the xDrive35d shares standard and available features with the xDrive35i.


The V8-powered xDrive50i includes a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 with 445 horsepower, along with standard all-wheel drive. It also adds 19-inch wheels and leather interior trim, keyless entry and start, a power liftgate, panoramic moonroof and 20-way multi-contour powered front seats.

Luxury Line add to base trim 19-inch wheels, chrome exterior accents and satin aluminum roof rails. The xLine changes that to silver matte trim and different 19-inch wheels. And, finally, M Sport includes a revised front bumper and lower air dam, M Sport wheels, revised transmission tuning, a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, as well as a unique set of paint colors.

CarsDirect Tip

Base trim is probably the way to go no matter which X5 you choose, since many of the sport tweaks that affect driving dynamics are available on the base car. Our pick has to be the xDrive35d for the way most people use the X5 and will give it excellent efficiency and cruising range. But even the 35i models are quick.

Choose your BMW X5 »

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