- BMW build quality
- Well-equipped as standard
- Rivals are better on the muddy stuff
- Sportier models are less comfortable
- On the pricey side
What's the BMW X5 like?
The big, butch BMW X5 has a lasting upmarket image and has long been one of the go-to models for a large SUV.
Although they all have four-wheel drive (4WD), limited ground clearance means that they're not really go-anywhere off-roaders.
But that said, they can still handle tracks and grass fields with ease – even towing a large caravan, trailer or horsebox.
And their nimble handling and outright performance on the road make them very good to drive.
Between 2013 and 2018 both 5 and 7-seat versions were available but the third row of seats is pretty cramped and will not accommodate adults.
Build quality has always been very good – as is true of most BMWs – and there is a range of engines to choose from.
All come with a standard eight speed automatic gearbox, making them easy to drive in most situations. However, the pure size can make them more difficult to manage in confined city spaces.
And if you value your comfort, avoid models fitted with sports suspension, because it gives quite a firm ride that’s not as good as the standard setup.
Most available on the used market will be powered by the only sensible options – the excellent 2.0-litre and 3.0-litre diesel engines with power ranging from 214 to 308bhp.
There's also a thirsty 4.4-litre petrol V8, and a petrol electric hybrid that uses the well-known 2.0-litre petrol and an electric motor to give very low emissions.
Economy king is the higher powered 231bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which is capable of 52mpg and will sprint to 60mph in 7.5 seconds.
The 3.0-litre 30d still manages a best of 40mpg but with 254bhp on tap, gets to 60mph from rest in 6.6 seconds.
In real driving, that means you’ll get around 30mpg – or less if you’re using it mainly in town.
All without sports suspension are comfortable and very quiet at any speed.
The BMW X5 has excellent handling and roadholding, with tremendous grip from very large tyres.
In fact, the way they handle belies their size so that it’s possible to attack a series of bends in complete safety.
And the automatic gearbox is beautifully intuitive, always seeming to find the right gear for whatever you want to do.
Running Costs and Equipment
Bear in mind that insurance is going to be group 40 or higher, and maintenance is not cheap. Also, some models at the lower end of the range are available without 4WD, so if you want it, make sure you it's fitted.
Equipment is good across the range. Basic spec is pretty comprehensive encompassing climate control, an alarm, leather upholstery with heated front seats and electric adjustment, audio remote on a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control and headlamp washers.
It also includes heated mirrors, sat nav, traction control, parking sensors and sports seats.
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Find your BMW X5 your way with CarStore
The BMW X5 has long been a go-to choice within the large SUV market thanks to high levels of practicality, a comfortable yet engaging ride, and good fuel economy figures. Whist some rivals may be better off the road, very few can match the X5's kerb appeal on it.