Top of the range xDrive50i comes with a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged eight-cylinder pumping out a hearty 445hp. It's insanely fast and is the perfect alternate for those who want an X5M but can't justify the higher price tag. Our pick however goes to the xDrive35d which comes with a silky smooth 3-liter turbo-diesel pumping out 255hp. The price tag isn't too much more than the xDrive35i trim and is perfect for those who do tons of highway driving.
On the road the X5 is actually very entertaining to drive. You'll forget that you're in a heavy 4x4 vehicle. Those who want an edgier driving experience may want to consider a lighter more agile M car or the M performance version of the X5. The ride comfort can get a little firm on some surfaces but it's far from uncomfortable or a deal breaker; too bad you'll have to pay the premium for the adaptive M suspension system to get the X5 to drive and handle the way it should. Wind and road noise are well suppressed and all engines sound smooth and refined at all speeds. The engine stop start system isn't all that refined and is rather disappointing because you'd expect a X5 with such a hefty price tag to have a smoother system.
Driver's will find their ideal driving position quite easily behind the wheel of the X5. You'll be very happy that all the controls and dials are within easy reach of the driver's hand. The new iDrive system is much easier to navigate through, however we aren't huge fans of the large infotainment screen that pops out the dash. It doesn't raise and lower into the dash like Audi's but it still is classy in its own right. Passengers in the second row won't even complain about space because it is in the bucket loads. Headroom is good and legroom is good, however if you option for the third row seat you'll only want to have kids back there. They won't have much fun either because it really is tight for space and the boot space will suffer with the third row seat in place. Fold that seat down and the space opens up dramatically. Fold the second row seat down and you've got yourself a cargo van.
You get what you pay for really does define BMW well. Xenon headlamps with LED day time running lamps come standard on all trims as well as, heated front seats, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and Bluetooth audio streaming. However, keyless, leather upholstery and rear view camera aren't even standard. We can think of quite a few rivals that offer these features standard and are similarly priced. Your investments will be well secured with the X5 however because it does enjoy high resale value even if the purchase price is step to downright insanely high.
Build quality is good thanks to many soft touch materials that feel sturdy and long lasting but BMW reliability becomes questionable after warranty expires. If you are planning to keep your X5 after standard warranty we strongly suggest opting for the extended warranty because the previous generation X5 was woeful in reliability and the newer generation we still hold that same concern. Safety is still on the top priority list of BMW and you get electronic stability program, brake assist, adaptive brake lamps and emergency brake assist. Side curtain airbags for both rows are standard and you can option for automatic high beam headlights to keep from dazzling oncoming traffic when high beams are activated.
The X5 really does defy logic. It handles well and can do some off-road trails as well. It can seat seven somewhat and is a classy well desirable option in the luxury 4x4 segment. However, the X5 doesn't go without its flaws. The engine stop start system isn't all that refined. Some options make the X5 more expensive than it already is, and the Volvo XC90 can carry seven people and is much classier inside out. It's hard ignoring the rivals for the X5 when some are cheaper and offer more kit that BMW puts as an option but for those seeking that BMW badge and won't settle for anything else, this is the car for you.
Likes: Logic defying on-road dynamics. Diesel engine option is quite good. It's classy image with excellent resale value.
Dislikes: Options and packages will sky rocket the price. Running costs won't be cheap either. No standard rear view camera and at this price point that's disappointing. We loathe the stop start system.
Xdrive35d is our pick of the range; that diesel engine is silky smooth and refined. If you do tons of highway driving this is the best way to go. Everyone else may want to consider the xDrive35i trim because it is slightly cheaper but most importantly it may find more appeal for those who won't be able to find a diesel refilling station in their area.