- Responsive, sharp handling
- Engines pair well with transmission
- V-8 sounds sweet
- Tired design is nothing special
- Can get pricey quickly
- Active safety features require some adjustment
BMW X5 Expert Review
- X5 M50i joins the lineup
- Comfort Access standard on 40i models
- 50i and M50i models gain wireless charging and a WiFi hotspot
The X5, BMW's midsize luxury SUV, entered its fourth generation for the 2019 model year and introduces an M Sport model for 2020. The all-out X5 M arrives later this year, as does the plug-in hybrid X5 xDrive45e. When it made its debut as BMW's first SUV in 1999, the X5 paved the way for the automaker's current lineup of SUVs, from X1 to X7.
This new X5 is longer, wider, and taller than the last-gen car it replaces and it's the first X5 to ride on BMW's CLAR modular platform. Engine options include a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six and a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. The inline-six can be had with rear- or all-wheel drive; all V-8 models are all-wheel drive only. All engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The switch to the CLAR platform has done wonders for the X5 in terms of handling and dynamics. It's the best-driving X5 yet, with minimal body roll. Both powertrain options offer smooth, strong acceleration and the available V-8 sounds every bit as potent as it drives. Transmission calibration is excellent across the model range.
There is no dedicated off-road driving mode unless you spec the optional off-road package, though we were able to navigate a dirty, dusty, low-friction course with ease by raising the optional air suspension and setting the traction control system to Dynamic mode. In our First Drive, we were impressed with the improvements made off-road with the X5's exterior cameras and rear-wheel steering.
Twin 12.3-inch screens compose the digital dashboard and center infotainment system. iDrive functionality is well laid-out but we had trouble connecting and staying connected with BMW's wireless Apple CarPlay setup. Also, though interior materials and build quality are strong points, the second-row seats are not as spacious as we'd hoped.
The six-cylinder, 335-hp X5 xDrive40i scoots from 0-60 in just 5.0 seconds and manages an EPA-estimated 20/26 mpg city/highway. With 456-hp and 479 lb-ft from its twin-turbo V-8, the X5 xDrive50i completes the 0-60 sprint in a rapid 4.5 seconds and still manages decent fuel economy for a midsize SUV. The EPA rates the X5 xDrive50i at 17/22 mpg.
The new X5 earns the highest possible crashworthiness scores from the IIHS and when equipped with the optional Icon Adaptive Headlights with Laser Light package, it earns a coveted 2019 Top Safety Pick+ award. It has a four-star overall safety rating from NHTSA, with four-star frontal crash ratings, five-star side impact ratings, and a four-star rollover rating.
Standard X5 models will seat five passengers and an optional third row extends seating capacity to seven. There are 33.9 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the second row or 72.3 cubic feet behind the first row. Front seats have 39.8 inches of legroom; passengers in the rear make due with 37.4 inches.
Like most modern luxury cars, the X5 is packed with tech. Two 12.3-inch screens dominate the cabin; one serves as the digital gauge cluster behind the steering wheel, the other as the main infotainment screen. Creature comforts including heated and cooled massaging front seats and heated and cooled cupholders feel luxurious, as do the wireless phone charger and soft-close doors.
2020 BMW X5 sDrive40i
The entry level X5 is powered by BMW's 335-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It's the only X5 model that sends power exclusively to the rear wheels. Standard hill descent control and dynamic stability control ensure traction even in low-grip scenarios.
It has 19-inch wheels, heated power-folding side mirrors, leatherette upholstery, Apple CarPlay, a 10-speaker audio system, adaptive cruise control, and two 12.3-inch screens. A panoramic moonroof, power tailgate, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, and front and rear parking sensors are all standard. The standard model seats five passengers; a third row is optional.
The xDrive40i combines the standard features and 3.0-liter inline-six of the sDrive40i and combines them with BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system.
Stepping up to the xDrive50i grants buyers an excellent sounding 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 under the hood. In this state of tune, it develops 456 hp and hits 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. These models also get standard leather upholstery and an upgraded 16-speaker sound system.
2020 BMW X5 M50i
The X5 M50i builds on the xDrive50i with another 67 hp from the 4.4-liter V-8, 20-inch wheels, a body kit, and a rear spoiler. Additional hardware upgrades include M Sport brakes, an M Sport differential, adaptive M suspension, and an M Sport steering wheel.
2020 BMW X5 M
The X5 M and X5 M Competition represent the ultimate performance versions of BMW's midsize SUV. These models use more powerful versions of the 4.4-liter V-8, producing 600 hp in the X5 M and 617 hp in the X5 M Competition. An M Sport eight-speed automatic transmission features performance shift programming and launch control. Competition models feature an exclusive hardcore Track mode.
They utilize an M version of BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system that sends more torque to the rear wheels, along with an active sport differential. Staggered 21-inch front and 22-inch rear wheels help differentiate these M models from standard X5s. Extended merino leather, an Alcantara headliner, and carbon fiber trim differentiate the interior.