Cons: Hefty price tag, no android auto, bling style
When BMW launched the original X5 two decades ago, it was somewhat of a revelation for the brand. Bold styling and big stature, it quickly grew into one of the best-selling large luxury SUVs on the marketplace. For 2019, BMW has introduced a new fourth generation X5 that competes against rival models including the Audi Q7, Land Rover Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GLE amongst others. The new X5 boasts packs more technology than ever before, with styling upgrades and tweaks galore. We put this range-topping M50d model to the test on Irish roads recently to see if it can retain the title as Ireland's favourite luxury SUV.
What is it like?
The new X5 oozes presence out on the road and it looks larger from the outside than its predeccesor thanks to chunkier front kidney grilles, new laser lights and sculpted side and rear lines. The M50d specification test car pictured here is loaded with is equipped with all sorts of styling nicties to include a distinctive Phytonic Blue paint scheme, enormous 22-inch M alloy wheels, performance brakes and and M body styling. Although the X5 is larger than before, it is no longer the range-topping SUV in BMW’s line-up. That accolade goes to the all-new X7 which launches to the Irish market later this year.
The X5’s cabin is a technological marvel with beautifully-intergated digital displays surrounding the driver's area. A new crisp 12.3-inch touch screen dominates the centre console with BMW’s latest operating system 7.0, which is very intuitive to use and among the best offered in the class. It can be used with various commands, including voice control, gestures control, touch or via, the traditional iDrive control located beside the new diamond-style transparent gear lever. The X5 now features Apple CarPlay as standard, though Android Auto still isn’t featured. The X5 now boasts a wireless smartphone charger as standard however, along with a Wifi hotspot to keep tech-savvy passengers entertained.
The X5 is wondefully roomy inside, with enough room to accomodate five passengers in comfort and an option to upgrade to seven seats for family buyers. Boot space is generous with 645 litres to stow away items and this increases to 1860 litres when the rear seats are folded. While the X5 isn’t as outright roomy or practical as the Mercedes GLE, it comes pretty close.
In Ireland, the X5 is available with a single petrol engine (xDrive40i) or a choice of two diesel units (xDrive30d or M50d). While the entry xDrive30d is likely to be the leading choice with Irish buyers, we tested the M50d which is a 3.0-litre six cylinder diesel unit bolstered by four turbochargers and pumps out 400 horsepower along with an incredible 760Nm of torque. When you add in BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system and sport automatic transmission, this means the M50d is very fast in a straight line. It can sprint from 0-100km/h in a mere 5.2 seconds, even more impressive when you factor in the X5’s sheer bulk (well over two tonnes). The M50d glides effortlessly at motorway speeds with a gentle whir from the six-cylinder unit, though when the raciest sport plus mode is selected, it transforms into a sporty unit with instantaneous power delivery and a louder exhaust note.
Out on the road, the X5 is effortlessly refined with responsive handling and soothing comfort at motorway speeds, courtesy of the standard two-axle air suspension system. The X5 features a new fly-by-wire braking system in similar style to the new BMW 8 Series, though the system offers tremendous stopping power when required. The huge 22-inch wheels on our test car certainly look the part, but add a degree of harshness over bumpy road surfaces.
The X5 is equipped with BMW’s xDrive all wheel drive, and while the vast majority of X5 drivers will stick to regular terrain, its is a competent off-roader with different driving modes available for less favourable driving conditions such as snow and muck. As ever, the Land Rover Range Rover offers superior off-roading prowess.
Prices for the new BMW X5 start from €87,390 for the entry xLine model and it leaves little to be desired with a plethora of standard equipment including 19-inch alloy wheel, aluminium-style interior trim, DAB digital radio, BMW’s online services system, a 12.3-inch touch screen system, electric front heated seats, ambient interior lighting, wireless smartphone charging, LED headlights and lots more. M Sport specification adds 20-inch alloy wheels, upgraded interior trims, an M Sport styling package, sports seats, anthracite headlining and a host of niceties.
Prices for the range-topping M50d that we drove start at a whopping €114,421, and it leaves little to be desired with just about every desirable listed. Our test car has a host options to the tune of €28,369, including BMW’s Comfort Plus package, Visibility Package, Technology Package and lots more (see full details below).
Carzone verdict: 4.5/5
The new BMW X5 moves forward from its predecessor rather convincingly, with impressive cabin tech, a rewarding drive and lots of desirable equipment as standard. When you throw in the fact that it’s roomy, practical and competent off-road, the new X5 ticks most of the boxes for large premium SUV success. That said, the flashy new interior and exterior looks won’t be to everyone’s tastes, while it can prove monumentally expensive in high-specification guise (our test car weighs in at an eye-watering €142k). That said, it’s likely to continue as one of the best-sellers in its class, despite increased competition from all corners.