James Flammang
Contributing Editor - September 12, 2016

Expert Rating

4.3 (Excellent)
19 City / 25 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.


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.

BMW X5 Front

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.

sDrive 35i

Comes with the six-cylinder gasoline engine and rear-wheel drive. Standard features include SensaTec simulated-leather upholstery, heated power front seats with a driver’s memory, poplar wood interior trim, a panoramic moonroof, power liftgate, xenon headlights, front/rear parking sensors, and 19-inch alloy wheels. As for technology, the 35i provides a navigation system, Bluetooth, integrated smartphone apps, plus a nine-speaker sound system with HD radio.

xDrive 35i

Identical to above, but fitted with BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

xDrive 35d

Gets the fuel-efficient 255-horsepower turbodiesel engine. Otherwise, equipment and options are similar to the 35i.

xDrive 50i

Contains the potent V8 engine, along with a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system, satellite radio, four-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, and a rearview camera. Many items that are optional for the 35i are standard in this top model.

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.

CarsDirect Tip

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.

Get your price on a BMW X5 »

Read our review on the BMW X5 »

BMW X5 Rear

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