BMW feeds American motorists’ insatiable appetite for SUVs with no less than seven offerings, from the diminutive X1 to the three-row X7. In the middle of the pack is the X5. Now in its fourth generation, the X5 benefits from a complete redesign last year, including a new stronger yet lighter-weight platform.
As usual for the German automaker, each successive generation of its SUVs grows larger—wider, taller, and longer in the X5’s case. At low speeds around town, the X5 feels rather ponderous from the driver’s seat. But let it loose on a twisty road, and the X5 rewards with surprisingly crisp handling for an SUV.
BMW’s sweet inline 6-cylinder engine produces such abundant acceleration that it could be mistaken for a V8 (a V8 is indeed an X5 option). Fuel economy—22 mpg overall—is decent for a largish vehicle that can tow 7,200 pounds. The cabin is luxuriously appointed, although leather upholstery costs extra. Several advanced safety systems are standard, but the X5 earns an unimpressive 4-star overall NHTSA crash-test rating.
In a bid to be everything to everybody, BMW offers a huge list of options, from a third-row seat (suited only for die kinder) to an off-road package. The least expensive trim level—the sDrive40i with RWD—lists for about $60,000; a top-o’-the-line M50i loaded with options approaches a cool 100 large.
Vehicle layout: 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder (335 hp), 8-speed automatic, AWD
MSRP, base model: $62,195; (as tested: $73,980)
MPG, city/hwy/combined: 20/26/22
Safety ratings: NHTSA: 4 stars overall; IIHS: good (crash-related ratings), 2019 Top Safety Pick Plus (with specific headlights)
Basic warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
Final assembly: Spartanburg, South Carolina
Spare tire: None (run-flats)
Takeaway: German technology, American-made
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