BMW X5: a punchy and refined SUV


The all-new BMW X5 still impresses and is now better than ever. Sarah Moore reports.

The BMW X5 was a game changer when it first arrived in 1999, says Nat Barnes in the Daily Express. More than 2.2 million worldwide sales later and we now have this fourth-generation X5, boasting even better luxury and performance, as well as improved off-road ability.

What’s new? Pretty well everything, says Top Gear – only the engine and transmission are old friends, although even they’ve had a going-over. On top of that, there is more luxury and connectivity, as well as BMW’s fanciest driver assistant and a new, all-screen dash. Another feature new to the latest X5 enables you to use your phone to BMW X5lock and unlock it, thanks to a chip in its doors. All you need to do to unlock the car is hold your phone up to the door handle – the engine will start as soon as you’ve put your phone in the wireless-charging spot or smartphone tray, says BMW. You can also send access to up to five friends via an app.

Underneath, you can find some new engineering: all-round air suspension. It’s easy to poke fun at people who never use their SUV’s potential, says Top Gear – “the only climbing they do is the social kind!” – but for those who do use the capability, “this will be a boon”. The familiar 3.0-litre, six-cylinder diesel engine packs enough shove – 0-62mph takes 6.5 seconds – for effortless overtaking, while also feeling relaxed enough for motorway cruising, says Richard Ingram on Auto Express. It’s “surprisingly agile” for a 2.2-tonne SUV, too – the steering is accurate and body control is good, while the ride is “compliant and composed”. BMW is hoping that its xDrive 40i petrol car will account for an increasing proportion of sales as the buying public turns its back on diesel, says Ingram. For now, however, the 30D will remain the biggest seller. After only a few miles, it’s easy to see why: “It’s punchy, refined and super-flexible.”

Price: from £56,710; 0-62mph: 6.5 seconds; Top speed: 143mph; Engine: 3.0 litre, six-cylinder diesel