Review: BMW X5 (2018)
Excellent interior with plenty of space for front and rear passengers. Available with seven seats.
Lots of buttons in the cabin and no Android Auto.
BMW X5 (2018): At A Glance
- On average it achieves 73% of the official MPG figure
The BMW X5 competes with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLE, Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90. It's now in its fourth generation with a new platform (shared with the BMW X7) and gets modest styling updates.
We'll address those styling updates first, as you could be forgiven for thinking the new X5 looks very much like its predecessor. But those larger front kidney grilles make it appear almost as aggressive as the new X7 (almost), while the rear bears more than a passing resemblance to the smaller X1.
It's huge, too - longer, wider and higher than the old model, meaning there's all the interior space a modern family could possibly want. That includes 645 litres of boot space, while dropping the 40:20:40 split rear seats increases that to 1860 litres.
A split rear tailgate aids access, while the optional Comfort Access feature allows you to open both sections hands-free. Even the boot floor drops electronically when required to increase space, while an optional extra pair of seats can be fitted in the boot.
Of course, BMW's once-flagship SUV isn't short of technology. Adaptive cruise will now sit in stationary traffic for up to 30 seconds before the driver has to nudge the accelerator to move forward, while the new Lane Change Assistant will hold the steering in your lane until you indicate to initiate a lane change.
There's even a Reversing Assistant, which controls the steering to manouvre the X5 back along a path recently negotiated forwards. It can retain the steering movements made during the car's last forward manouvre for long periods, meaning the system can reverse the new X5 out of a parking position that it drove into forwards the day before.
Buyers can choose from one petrol and two diesel engines, with a plug-in hybrid version expected at a later date.
Most buyers will opt for the xDrive30d, which is our choice of the range. It offers plentiful performance, reaching 62mph in 6.5 seconds, while returning respectable fuel economy. The current top-spec model, meanwhile, is the M50d, with its 400PS providing a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds.
No matter which engine you choose, all X5 variants are good to drive. It's a big car, yet surprisingly agile - especially with the adaptive suspension of the M50d. Technology makes it easy to drive around town, too, and there's not much on the market that'll provide a more relaxing drive on the motorway.
The interior feels as upmarket as you'd expect from a BMW, although there are more buttons than you'd find in rivals. This might take a bit of getting used to and means the cabin looks a bit cluttered.
Our biggest grievance with the X5 is BMW's refusal to offer Android Auto - which says a lot about how good the car is. It's great to drive, with a premium interior and plenty of space for the family.
What does a BMW X5 (2018) cost?
BMW X5 (2018): What's It Like Inside?
- Euro NCAP rating of five stars
If you buy a BMW X5, you want to feel like the lord of the manor. You sit high up, in big comfortable seats with an excellent view of the road ahead. Everything feels of high quality, with lots of soft-touch materials and clever features.
It's typical BMW, with angular vents and a thick-rimmed steering wheel. And buttons. Lots and lots of buttons. This may or may not be a good thing depending on your point of view. The ability to control things like the climate control without having to dive into sub menus on the infotainment screen is a bonus, but there are so many buttons that it can take a little time to get used to where everything is.
There's a huge 12.3-inch screen sitting in the centre of the dash, operated by a rotary controller located between the front seats. BMW's Operating System 7.0 - to give it its full name - is a user-friendly system to use, although sitting down with the manual (or downloading BMW's app onto your phone) will help you get the best from it.
If you want to bypass the complicated system by using your phone, you'll have to pay a subscription for Apple CarPlay after the first year (currently £89 every 12 months), while BMW refuses to offer Android Auto. This is unlikely to change anytime soon - BMW has stubbornly said it likes to be in full control of the customer interface, and it doesn't want an Android screen in its cars.
There are some cool features of BMW's system, though. We like the gesture control, which lets you perform simple tasks like turning the volume up and down and skipping tracks through a wave of your hand.
It actually works quite well, but be prepared to look a bit silly if you're sat in traffic. There's also the voice control feature which works similar to Amazon's Alexa or, indeed, Mercedes-Benz's 'Hey Mercedes' system.
Gadgets aside, there's plenty of space inside the X5. Front seat passengers have all the head and legroom they could possibly want, while there's plenty of (electric) adjustment in the seats and steering wheel.
Things are good in the back, too - access is easy (you can drop the suspension if you wish), with wide opening doors uninhendered by the rear wheel arches. Two adults will be quite comfortable in the rear, while there's also an optional third row of seats, should you occasionally need to transport extra passengers.
The boot is big, as you'd expect - with the split tailgate aiding loading. Obviously the car's height does make things slightly tricky if you're loading heavy items, but the boot's wide opening is useful and the seats drop easily to provide 1870 litres of luggage space.
Specification (February 2019):
xLine models feature 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive two-axle air suspension, ambient interior lighting, BMW gesture control, BMW Live Cockpit Professional, LED brake lights, Connected Package Professional with Apple CarPlay preparation, DAB radio, enhanced Bluetooth with wireless charging, velour floor mats, HiFi loudspeaker system, LED foglights, LED headlights, Parking Assistant, rain sensor with automatic headlight activation and windscreen wiper control, matt aluminium roof rails, front electric seat adjustment with driver memory, front heated sports seats, automatic two-part tailgate operation, Vernasca leather and a WiFi hotspot preparation.
M Sport adds 20-inch alloy wheels, BMW Individual roof rails in high-gloss shadowline, Anthracite headlining, aluminium tetragon interior trim, M aerodynamic bodystyling, M leather steering wheel, M-specific floor mats, M-specific key, M-specific pedals, M-specific steering wheel, M Sport braking system ans run-flat tyres.
M50d features 22-inch M alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, adaptive M suspension, door sill finishers with illuminated M50d designation, harmon/kardon loudspeaker system, M Sport exhaust system and the M Sport differential.
Child seats that fit a BMW X5 (2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the BMW X5 (2018) like to drive?
If you're used to smaller cars, the BMW X5 might feel slightly intimidating at first. It's a big car, but one that you'll soon get used to. Visibility is good and there's plenty of technology to make life easier, with Parking Assistant standard across the range with a rearview camera. The Parking Assistant Plus, with its remote 3D view and surround view systems, is a worthwhile option as part of the technology pack.
On the motorway, it's a very serene cruiser, with little in the way of noise from outside the car. One frustrating thing is that, on all engines, fake engine noise is played through the speakers. This seems unnecessary in a car that few people will buy for a sporty driving experience.
Having said that, the X5 drives surprisingly well. It doesn't lean too much in corners and the steering offers plenty of feedback.
The M50d comes with an M Sport differential which helps the X5 feel more agile, but lesser models handle perfectly well for an SUV of this size. It also features Adaptive M suspension, while the rest of the range comes with adaptive two-axle air suspension.
The standard set-up provides a lovely, cosseting ride, while the Adaptive M system errs on the side of too firm if you select the sport driving mode - not helped, of course, by the M50d's standard 22-inch alloy wheels.
The majority of buyers will opt for the xDrive30d - and that's a good thing, as it combines the perfect mix of performance and economy. With 265PS and a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds, it's quick enough for most buyers and the eight-speed automatic gearbox is excellent.
Press down on the accelerator and it will readily drop down a gear or two in eagerness for an overtake, while you can take control using the steering wheel paddles should you wish to do so (we rarely felt the need).
Officially, the xDrive30d will return between 34.0mpg and 37.7mpg - pretty reasonable for an SUV of this size and performance. During our test, we found these figures to be fairly realistic, too - certainly, early-30s is very achievable during motorway driving.
|M50d||42 mpg||5.2 s||179 g/km|
|xDrive30d||46–47 mpg||6.5 s||158–162 g/km|
|xDrive40i||32–33 mpg||5.5 s||193–197 g/km|
Real MPG average for a BMW X5 (2018)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What Cars Are Similar To The BMW X5 (2018)?
Key attributes of the this model are: Comfortable seats, Family friendly, Four-wheel drive, Generous head room, Good for towing, High quality interior, Large boot, Luxury finish, Motorway cruiser, Quiet cabin, Raised driving position, Rear legroom, Refined ride, Seven seats and SUV.
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