used bmw x3 review

BMW X5 review

A practical SUV that's good looking and has a great range of engines to choose from.

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Here's a history lesson for you, the humble SUV that you see today hasn't always been as popular as it is now. In fact, up until the late 2000s, the SUV was a rare sight. So, you can only imagine the surprise when BMW decided to release the original X5 in 1999. However, the popularity of the X5 has continued to rise since its introduction, and with every generation comes a host of improvements and new technology. The X5 is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of the current SUV craze we have today.

used bmw x3 car review

Exterior

The X5 inherits a lot of the features that give BMW that distinctive and instantly recognisable look. This shouldn't come as a surprise in all honesty, but it means the X5 is a well proportioned car that has some excellent features incorporated into its design. BMW's 'kidney grilles' feature throughout each generation along with those slanted and aggressive headlights. Depending on the specification of X5 you choose, you also get a small body kit and much larger wheels, giving the car a more purposeful look and stance - assuming that's your sort of thing. All-in-all, a fine car to look at on a daily basis.

bmw x5 interior review

Interior

As you can imagine, being a premium-SUV created by BMW, the interior of the X5 was never going to be a pound shop extravaganza. Sitting inside an X5 is a pleasurable experience, leather and soft materials covering the majority of the cabin, while the switch gear has a distinctive and reassuring feel when it's used. We are big fans of the iDrive computer that is built into the central dashboard - it allows you to change a host of settings so that the car is tailored to you and your preferences.

used bmw x3 review

Driving

The BMW X5 has always been praised for the way it manages its size and weight. The engineers at BMW have somehow been able to design the X5 to deliver exceptional road manners, without it compromising the car's ability to off-road when required. As you'd expect, the X5 offers a very refined driving experience, with road and wind noise kept to an absolute minimum. The suspension set-up is supple enough to provide a comfortable ride, but stiffens up when you want to press on in the corners - the X5 really is a great all-rounder.

Practicality

The BMW X5 is a large SUV so is incredibly practical as you can imagine. The interior is large in general, with plenty of head and legroom for passengers of all ages and sizes. The height of the car makes getting in and out of the car an easy task, essential if you have baby seats for the young ones. On top of that, the boot is generously sized, offering more than enough space for all your weekly shopping. There is even plenty of space for pushchairs and the family pet.

bmw x3 car review

Engines and transmissions

Each engine BMW produces is beautifully engineered, offering excellent performance and class-leading efficiency. The X5 benefits from a range of these engines; the petrol engines offer excellent performance for those who enjoy pressing on, although you won't be disappointed by the pulling power the more humble diesel engines offer. Manual and automatic gearboxes all make an appearance with each engine, all offering seamless gear changes and excellent refinement on the road. The automatics in particular are a special unit these days, ensuring the power is there whenever you need it.

Lifestyle

The X5 stays true to its roots by remaining the perfect activity vehicle for families who are always out and about. The immense practicality the X5 offers makes it perfect for the weekly food shop or a family trip to the countryside (because of all the equipment you can shove in the boot). Alternatively, the high levels of refinement and silence make the X5 a great car for the working professional who spends a lot of time on Britain's highways. Although you may not see it much, the X5 is capable when the road runs out thanks to the elevated ground clearance and choice of driving modes.