Strong, agile and outspoken, the BMW X5 is the logical choice for BMW drivers with a family. And while its main selling point is spaciousness, there’s a reason that BMW calls it a "Sports Activity Vehicle": It performs like a pro.

Pricing and Equipment

The entry level X5, (the X5i) will run you about $54,000 which is about right for a full–size luxury crossover. It’s powered by a robust 3-liter turbocharged V6 and—unlike higher trims that have all-wheel drive—the X5i is rear-drive only. It comes standard with:

  • Nineteen-inch light alloy wheels
  • Three-stage heated front seats
  • Driving Dynamics Control w/ ECO PRO mode
  • Poplar Wood trim
  • Navigation with a 10.2-inch high-res screen

We had the X5i as our test model and found it more than accommodating. In our opinion, the true strength of the X5 line lies in its power and handling, not features and technology. One feature that did catch our eye, though, was the Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection ($2,300) package. While expensive, it was exciting to have this kind of technology behind the wheel.

Performance Pros

BMW X5 Side

We love the X5i’s 6-cylinder turbo. It moves! You will never tire of the strong acceleration. It feels more like a sports car than an SUV.

  • 300 horsepower and 0-60 in 6.1 seconds. Need we say more?
  • We found the handling to be exceptional.

Performance Cons

  • We tried a little (legal) off-roading. Not bad, but the X5i is more in line with the family-oriented Touareg than with the more rugged Range Rover.
  • The X5's electric power steering doesn't give much in the way of feedback. This is pretty common in electric power steering systems these days.

Interior Pros

BMW X5 Interior
  • BMW drivers will feel right at home in the X5. We did. The interior offers typical BMW ambiance: sporty luxury with aluminum trim and lots of strong, sloping lines. You can also get upgraded interiors.
  • It delivers the BMW cockpit-style controls we know and love.
  • Excellent front seating.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The power! Few things give more pleasure than lots of horsepower and hesitation-free acceleration. That alone makes the X5 a good choice.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

We found off-roading a bit lacking in the X5. We recommend staying on-road with this one.

The Bottom Line


The bottom line is that the X5i is a performer. It offers very fast acceleration with outstanding handling. On top of that, it has room for the family. We recommend going with one of the all-wheel drive models even if it costs a bit more.