First launched as a 2000 model, the X5 is the one that started it all for BMW, moving past sports cars and luxury sedans, into sport-utility and crossover vehicles. Considered a luxury crossover with broad appeal, the X5 blends satisfying performance with quiet comfort for its passengers. In a category marked by high-achieving vehicles, we consider BMW’s X5 to be the equivalent of a well-rounded athlete, available with a choice of temperaments and capabilities.
What's New for 2017
Several updates have been developed for the 2017 model year. Navigation has been updated to iDrive 5.0, with touchscreen functionality for the display. BMW xLine equipment is now standard, including stainless steel underbody cladding; silver matte “kidney” grilles, air intakes, and rocker panels; satin aluminum roof rails and window trim; an anthracite headliner; and new 19-inch star spoke wheels. The Luxury Package is a no-cost alternative to the xLine.
Wireless charging and a wi-fi hotspot are included in the Premium Package for 35i and 35d models, and in the Executive Package for 50i models. Options now include extended Merino leather, including a leather dashboard.
Choosing Your BMW X5
Dimensionally, the X5 fits into the middle of the crossover segment, with space for five occupants and up to 76.7 cubic feet of cargo volume. An optional third row provides space for two more—though only children are likely to be comfortable.
Three distinct powertrain choices are offered. Trim levels for the X5 correspond to the engine and drivetrain.
- In the 35i, a 3-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine develops 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, available with rear-drive or all-wheel drive.
- For diesel devotees, the 35d holds a 255-horsepower 3-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder engine that achieves an estimated 26 mpg in combined driving. In the wake of the diesel-emissions scandal perpetrated by Volkswagen, BMW diesels underwent additional federal-government scrutiny; but that testing was completed in mid-2016, allowing sales to resume.
- The top choice for performance, the 50i unravels a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that generates a mighty 445 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.
Each engine mates with an eight-speed automatic transmission. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive comes standard with turbodiesel and V8 models. Automatic stop/start technology is standard.
Option groups can add to the luxury level of the 35i or 35d.
- The Premium Package brings Dakota leather upholstery, keyless access, four-zone automatic climate control, and satellite radio, plus wireless charging and a wi-fi hotspot.
- Ventilated front seats with additional adjustments come in the Luxury Seating Package.
- The M Sport Package includes sport seats, an M steering wheel, aerodynamic body kit, and double-spoke 19- or 20-inch wheels. An adaptive suspension also is available, including rear air springs.
- Only the xDrive 50i can get the Executive Package, which adds soft-closing doors, leather dashboard trim, a head-up display, and ceramic-finish controls.
- The Cold Weather Package brings a heated steering wheel, headlight washers, and heated rear seats.
- Adaptive LED headlights with automatic high-beam control come with the Lighting Package.
- A rearview camera and a head-up display make up the Driver Assistance Package. Stepping further into safety, the Driver Assistance Plus Package adds adaptive cruise control with automatic braking, a collision mitigation system with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and a surround-view camera system.
As usual, several standalone options are worth considering, including an adjustable rear air suspension (included with seven-passenger seating), an automated parallel-parking system, infrared Night Vision, high-end Bang & Olufsen audio, and a rear entertainment system.
With so many drivetrain and option choices, the X5 can be configured in a dizzying number of ways. Naturally, that means the total price can escalate quickly. We consider the Premium group and Driver Assistance packages to be most essential for a luxury crossover. Each is included on the V8 model—the only one with a standard rearview camera.