The BMW X5 was BMW’s first-ever crossover utility vehicle, debuting in 1999 with underpinnings borrowed from the midsize 5 Series car.
BMW’s decision to enter the crossover space turned out to be a fruitful one. In 2018, crossovers accounted for more than half of the automaker’s US sales, and the BMW X5 entered its fourth generation. Brand new for 2019, the fourth-generation BMW X5 builds upon the German automaker’s proven formula, with an all-new platform delivering enhanced on-road refinement.
The 2020 BMW X5 comes standard with a turbocharged, 335 horsepower 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, along with an eight-speed automatic transmission, auto start-stop, automatic high-beams, and Active Driving Assistant. The latter of these is a suite encompassing frontal collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
As with the smaller X3, a hybrid powertrain is available, in the X5 xDrive45e iPerformance. It couples a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder with an electric motor for a total system output of 389 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. A 24 kWh battery pack is expected to lend the crossover a pure-electric driving range of about 40 miles. U.S. sales will commence in 2020, with pricing likely to start around $62,000 MSRP or higher.
The 2020 BMW X5 is priced from $59,895 in the U.S. market, including a $995 destination fee.
Pros/ Comfortable, refined ride / Best base powertrain in the segment / Improved off-road capability
Cons/ Steep pricing / Unreliable braking feel / BMW's comically large kidney grille
Bottom Line/ Expensive even for the segment, the BMW X5 is nonetheless a refined, beautifully engineered mid-size CUV.
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BMW X5 Pricing
With a starting MSRP in the US of $59,895 including destination, the 2020 BMW X5 could hardly be called a bargain. It’s even more expensive than most of its primary competitors, and the price before options swells to $62,195 by the time you add all-wheel drive.
Want the V8? Stepping up to the X5 xDrive50i requires an even greater leap, up to a $77,145 MSRP before options.
The entry-level M model in the lineup, the 2020 BMW X5 M50i, starts at an eye-watering $83,145 before options. Check off the most expensive paint, upholstery, and package options and you can look forward to a $92,995 recommended sale price.
BMW X5 Features
The base 2020 BMW X5 includes as standard Hill Descent Control, power folding heated side mirrors, a 16-way power adjustable drivers seat with memory settings, heated front-row seats, a panoramic moonroof, and a power liftgate. Active Driving Assistant is also standard, encompassing frontal collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.
Additionally, a standard connected services suite, Connected Package Professional, rolls in remote services including stolen vehicle recovery and remote door unlock, concierge services, hazard preview, and in certain select cities, real-time traffic and on-street parking info. Features like parking distance sensors, gesture control, surround-view monitor, soft-closing automatic doors, head-up display, and other high-tech goodies are available with optional packages.
Of particular interest to customers with growing families is the BMW X5’s available third-row seating, which extends the crossover’s seating capacity from five to seven.
BMW X5 vs Audi Q7
The BMW X5 starts thousands above the Audi Q7 with its $54,545 starting MSRP, but bear in mind, the extra five grand helps secure a much more alluring engine. The Q7’s base powerplant is an unexceptional 2.0-liter turbo-four with just 248 horsepower to the X5’s 335. Both vehicles offer available third-row seating, and both come standard with swanky upmarket features like power folding heated side mirrors and a panoramic moonroof.
All things considered, the Audi Q7 has a slight edge when it comes to standard features, thanks to big-ticket items like leather upholstery and all-wheel drive, but the chassis and powertrain lose out to the BMW’s.
BMW X5 vs Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
Like the BMW X5, the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class has been completely redesigned within the last couple of years. Like the Audi Q7, it starts thousands of dollars lower than BMW’s mid-size crossover, while offering a less alluring powertrain; the GLE’s 2.0-liter turbo-four peaks at just 255 horsepower, and all-wheel drive doesn’t come standard with the lowest trim.
With no clear winner with regard to standard equipment, the question of Mercedes GLE versus BMW X5 largely comes down to one’s preference between four cylinders or six – and whether the extra two cylinders are worth the cost.
BMW X5 vs Porsche Cayenne
As much as BMW likes to lay claim to building “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” the Bavarian brand isn’t as singularly sport-focused as German rival Porsche. The Porsche Cayenne is, undeniably, the aspirational mid-size crossover of choice for those who prioritize driving dynamics, but good engineering comes with a price, and the Cayenne starts thousands higher than BMW’s X5. That’s despite identical peak power output ratings on the two base models.
What’s more, the Porsche comes standard with all-wheel drive, partial-leather interior, and an especially well-tuned adaptive air suspension. Just don’t expect any free active safety systems on the Porsche; all that stuff costs extra.
2017 BMW X5 Review
|Engine /||3.0L turbo 6-cyl / 4.4L twin-turbo V8|
|Horsepower(hp) /||335 / 456 / 523|
|Torque(lb-ft) /||330 / 479 / 553|
|Transmission /||8-speed automatic|
|Drivetrain /||Rear-wheel-drive / All-wheel-drive|
|Price Range /||$59,895-$77,145|
Our Final Verdict
The BMW X5 isn’t the cheapest aspirational mid-size crossover out there, but the newest fourth-generation is the best iteration yet. It’s poised and controlled on the pavement, and plenty capable off of it, with a competent all-wheel-drive system, standard hill descent control, and a trick air suspension system that can automatically adapt when the vehicle is wading through water. As thoroughly white-collar as the X5 is, it’s not opposed to a bit of overlanding.
If refinement, ace driving dynamics, and sophisticated engineering are your thing, the BMW X5 is an excellent choice—so long as you can justify the expense.