The 2018 BMW X5 is one of the original luxury crossovers, providing a more sporty alternative to the Lexus RX-series while launching BMW into the realm. While the luxury SUV market is now incredibly well developed, the X5 remains a cornerstone of it, as a refined and luxurious, but somewhat conservative option.

Best Value

The best value for the 2018 BMW X5 is one of the six-cylinder models. Personally, we'd go with the all-wheel-drive xDrive 35i model, which opens up the possibility of travel on less-than-ideal surfaces. It includes all of the standard features of the rear-wheel drive model, but adds some neat ones like hill descent control and an advanced vehicle memory and key system. Additionally, the chrome accents that come with the Luxury Design look pretty smart. The Premium Tier is also a good value at $1,150, giving you four-zone automatic climate control and keyless entry.

Once you get into the realm of packages and options, the X5 can get expensive – like most BMWs. We're already shelling out over $60,000 for this luxury SUV, so we'd go for the Dakota leather to make it feel the part. The Lighting Package is a great add, as the extra light really makes a difference when driving at night. Options can add up really quickly, but the third row seat with the rear air suspension is nice to have, as is the heated rear seats.

  • Model: 2018 BMW X5 xDrive35i
  • Engine: 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder
  • Output: 300 hp / 300 lb-ft
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • MPG: 18 City / 24 Hwy
  • Options: Luxury Design ($0), Premium Package ($1,150, four-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, Sirius XM satellite radio for one year), Dakota Leather ($1,450), Lighting Package ($1,900, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams), Third Row Seat with Rear Axle Air Suspension ($1,700).
  • Base Price: $60,495 (including a $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price: $66,695

Performance

BMW X5

The BMW X5 is well powered in all trims. The base engine is a smooth revving 3.0-liter straight six with a turbocharger that produces 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. The engine is quick enough to get the 4,700-pound vehicle to 60 miles per hour in a hair over six seconds.

If that isn't enough for you, BMW also offers a 4.4-liter V8 for those who need more power in their lives, with 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, making it very fast. If you'd prefer to save some gas, BMW offers a 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel, which offers 255 hp and an awesome 413 lb-ft of torque, while also offering 23 miles per gallon city and 29 mpg highway.

There's also a hybrid version that combines electric motors with a four-cylinder turbo to make 308 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, while also giving the X5 an electric-only range of 14 miles. Strangely though, the hybrid version doesn't get better gas mileage than the diesel, with a combined rating of 25 mpg. It's better in the city, but you won't notice a difference when cruising on the highway.

The X5 is available with rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive trims get hill descent control, although you won't be able to tackle off-road challenges like a Land Rover. Base trims of the X5 are set up for comfort, so they can feel fairly disconnected in the corners with very little road feedback to inspire confidence. The M Sport's suspension tune works well to help mitigate this, but steering feel remains distant. The best option is the adaptive suspension, which allows for the best of both words. It's comfortable yet feels in control on the road.

Style

The BMW X5 is same as it ever was, with an exterior that hasn't deviated in design from the very first model. It's a handsome design, but there isn't anything that excites us about the look. You'll not be turning heads in an X5, but who in your position needs validation from the masses? The only thing that matters is what you think, and the X5 reflects that.

Inside, the design is still conservative, but BMW makes it work. The wood and aluminum trims look great, and there's even an option for ceramic climate control knobs. While the leatherette that upholsters the base option feels and looks like the real deal, the real leather seats are supple and available in a wide range of colors. It's a high-class vehicle that feels like its price tag says it should.

The X5's seats are comfortable and adjustable, with optional sport seats for those who like to feel held more in the corners. There are also available multi-contour seats that are adjustable in every possible way. A third row is optional, but they're not there for regular use; use them instead to haul your kid's friends around. If you'll consistently need a third row, you should skip the X5 for a bigger vehicle.

The Best and Worst Things

The strength of the X5 lies in the powerplants. The base inline-six cylinder turbo is powerful and well balanced, giving smooth acceleration and plenty of oomph for a vehicle this size. It's also nice to know that BMW is continuing to offer a V8, giving buyers a taste of the bonkers X5M without shelling out over $100,000. Additionally, the offering of a diesel and a hybrid powertrain allow the X5 to suit most needs.

Like most BMWs, the way the options and trim packages are set up can be very confusing. It has been refined somewhat for the current model year, but there are still many avenues and paths to go down that can get your head spinning. Also, many features are offered as standalone options and the price can add up quickly if you're not paying attention.

Right For? Wrong For?

BMW X5

The X5 is perfect for a successful businessman or woman who wants the comfort and refinement of a luxury crossover, but doesn't want to draw attention to their wealth or choice of vehicle. It's very incognito, and its exterior style will not shout to the commoners that you've done much better than them in life. However, the interior is very nice, providing every comfort a luxury car should have.

On the other hand, BMW's largest SUV may have a third row, but it's not for daily use. It's capable of being used in a pinch if you need to get a few extra people somewhere, but those in regular need of a third row should look elsewhere.

The Bottom Line

The BMW X5 is one of the definitive offerings in the mid-size luxury crossover market. It's been around since the beginning of the concept, and it has continued to offer a luxurious driving experience and power to spare. It may not be the flashiest vehicle out there and it may have softened up a bit, but the BMW X5 is still a benchmark that others try to emulate.