4x4Car Reviews

2019 BMW X5 Review

Toby Hagon’s 2019 BMW X5 Review With Pricing, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Safety, Verdict And Score.

In A Nutshell Fourth generation of BMW’s large luxury SUV is bigger than ever and it steps up the comfort and refinement.

2019 BMW X5 30d Specifications

Price $112,990 Warranty 3 years, unlimited km Service Intervals Variable depending on driving style Safety Not rated Engine 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo diesel Power 195kW at 4000rpm Torque 620Nm at 2000-2500rpm Transmission 8-speed auto Drive All-wheel drive Dimensions 4922mm (L) 2004mm (W) 1745mm (H) 2975mm (WB) Ground Clearance NA Kerb Weight 2110kg Towing 3500kg Boot Space 645 litres Spare Space saver Fuel Tank 80 litres Thirst 7.2L/100km

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AS THE top selling large luxury SUV, any new iteration of the BMW X5 comes with big expectations. And it’s no different with this fourth-generation car, which rides on a new architecture and boasts a larger body.

The X5 will initially be offered with the choice of three six-cylinder engines: two diesel and one petrol. But down the track expect the range to expand to include an entry-level four-cylinder and a V8-powered M version.

What’s In The Range And How Much Does It Cost?

Stepping into an X5 is more expensive than it’s been for years, in part because there’s not a four-cylinder engine available yet in this new model. BMW also crept X5 prices up over the past year, possibly in readiness for the new model.

For now, the BMW X5 range kicks off with the $112,990 plus on-road costs xDrive 30d (xDrive denoting all-wheel drive) as tested here. It’s powered by a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo diesel making 195kW of power and 620Nm of torque.

Standard equipment includes a panoramic sunroof, 20-inch alloy wheels, leather trim, keyless auto-entry, digital radio, 360-degree camera, head-up display, ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control, automatic on/off headlights and wipers, and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen to match the digital instrument cluster. Don’t bother pushing the dealer to throw them in because velour mats are also part of the deal.

It also gets the latest BMW Live voice activation system. It’s handy for programming the sat-nav and can even adjust the ventilation settings. But it’s limited in what it can do and will likely impress more in the showroom than it will in the real world.

On the safety front there is a system to monitor driver attentiveness, lane-keeping assistance, cross-traffic warning front and rear, blind spot warning and high-speed autonomous emergency braking (AEB).

Those wanting petrol power can choose the xDrive 40i ($115,990+ORC), which gets a turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder making 250kW/450Nm. It accelerates to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds, a full second quicker than the 30d diesel.

Equipment levels on the 40i are identical to the 30d.

While that includes a generous spread, there’s still plenty left to the expansive options list. It includes items such as heated seats, sports exhaust, air suspension, side blinds, four-zone air-conditioning, laser headlights, massaging front seats, different alloy wheels (ranging in size from 19 inches to 22) and various different colours and trims inside.

While key rivals such as the Audi Q7 and upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLE come with three rows of seats as standard, the X5 charges $3700 extra for the additional two seats.

Many of those features are included standard in the X5 xDrive M50d ($149,900), which gets a quad-turbo 3.0-litre six-cylinder making 294kW and 760Nm, enough to launch it to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds.

It also gets 22-inch wheels riding on sports air suspension with active stabiliser bars to reduce leaning. There are also laser headlights, four-zone climate control and 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio.

What’s The Interior and Practicality Like?

The exterior of the X5 has grown in every dimension, with an extra 36mm added to its length, 66mm to  width and 19mm to height. Those extra millimetres – including 42mm more between the front and rear wheels – translate to more interior space.

That’s particularly noticeable in the rear, where kneeroom is very adult friendly and there’s also ample foot room under the front seats.

The seat backs are plush and long, ensuring excellent comfort over long distances. That seat comfort also extends to the front, where bolsters wrapping around your torso adds to the lateral support.

We haven’t checked out the third row seat option, something that also brings a sliding middle row. But as with the previous model it looks like it’ll be best left to little ones.

Boot space is 645 litres and there’s a 40/20/40 split-fold system for the backrest, allowing a much large space for bulky items.

The flat luggage floor is expansive and can be raised for some small underfloor compartments, a gas strut holding the tilted floor upright. Also in that underfloor compartment is a luggage net that can be fitted to stop items joining you up front if you brake hard.

What Are The Controls and Infotainment Like?

BMW’s once-controversial iDrive controller is the control centre for the infotainment system. In its current guise it’s an excellent system, the additional menu buttons ahead of the circular controller making for quick choices around the 12.3-inch screen.

Or you can just use the touch functionality of the screen.

For a cool party trick there’s also gesture control, with some hand swiping and finger twirling all that’s needed to adjust the volume on the sound system or answer a phone call. You can even program your own hand gestures.

So there’s no shortage of ways to get around that sizeable screen, which is generally easy to navigate – although make sure you spend some time learning its deeper functions, of which there are plenty.

The digital instrument cluster also allows some customisation, with the right-hand portion flicking between trip computer and information screens to audio controls or even a power/torque meter.

Basic information such as speed and navigation directions can also be displayed on the large head-up display that projects a virtual image above the bonnet.

Elsewhere, the physical buttons are a mix of black plastic and silver metal finishes. There’s some knurled finishes to some of the dials and knobs adding texture and elegance.

The eight programmable buttons (you can program radio stations, navigation destinations or phone numbers, for example) are also terrific, allowing some additional customisation.

The stubby gear selector lacks some tactility compared with the larger pistol-grip BMW has used previously, but at least looks neat and tidy. The plastic buttons to the right of that gear lever also take some adjusting to, only going through a half-motion when you push them.

There’s only one regular USB input at the base of the dashboard, or you can use the smaller USB C connector in the centre console. If you want more, two USB C inputs can be optioned for the rear.

What’s The Performance Like?

The bigger body means the new X5 is 40kg heavier than the one it replaces, and at 2.1 tonnes it’s no featherweight.

But BMW has managed to eek more out of the 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel in the 30d. It now makes 195kW and a thoroughly handy 620Nm.

It’s that torque peak, in particular, that makes for effortless progress, the clean acceleration and smooth-revving nature of the engine suiting the character of the car beautifully. The full 620Nm is available from just 2000rpm, so you don’t have to be pushing hard to experience the forward surge.

If you want to drive more enthusiastically, the engine revs out nicely, occasionally touching 4500rpm before slotting into the next gear.

The eight-speed auto is also a great companion, making the most of the engine courtesy of closely spaced ratios and crisp, well-timed upshifts.

It’s also impressively quiet and refined, the dull hum of the engine muted against the backdrop of a generally hushed cabin.

On paper, the X5 uses more fuel than its predecessor, but the claimed fuel use of 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres is conducted to the new WLTP (worldwide harmonised light-duty vehicles) test. It’s designed to be more realistic and, as such, is higher than the previous standard still being used on most cars in Australia.

So, short story is it’ll likely use a similar amount of fuel – perhaps a tad less – than the previous X5.

What’s It Like On The Road?

The X5 is a giant leap forward in the way it drives thanks to the new body. Spacing the wheels further apart appears to have paid big dividends in how the car deals with bumps, the large footprint allowing for more compliance while remaining stable and athletic.

Our car was fitted with air suspension ($3900) that did a top job of controlling body movement. Only on sharp edges did the suspension falter, some initial terseness upsetting an otherwise compliant ride.

The most impressive element, though, was the compromise between comfort and control.

As well as vastly improved comfort, the X5 maintains its dynamic poise. It’s the sort of SUV that doesn’t feel sloppy when you ramp up the pace, the steering faithfully pointing the car accurately up until the point where the front wheels run wide in predictable understeer.

While drive is sent to all four wheels, there’s a rear-focused feel to the way it tackles bends, something that allows those front tyres to focus more on the job of turning the car.

There is also a drive mode selector that allows you to dial up pre-programmed settings that adjust things such as throttle and transmission calibration, and the weighting of the steering.

It’s quite a pronounced difference between Eco-Pro (with  sluggish throttle response) and Sport (with edgier suspension and weightier steering).

While you can adjust your own settings for each of those, it’s the Comfort setting that makes most sense for everyday driving, the lighter steering and mid-level responses being well chosen.

What’s It Like Off The Road?

It’s predominantly an on-road car, doing its best work in the city and suburbs. But the X5 has an all-wheel drive system and can do some basic off-roading. Given the road-focused tyres and minimal ground clearance it would be best left to light duty tracks and a blast to the snow.

That said, if you’re planning on going to the snow, be aware BMW says only the optional 19-inch wheels can have snow chains fitted. Some BMW dealers offer a wheel exchange service, whereby you can temporarily exchange your wheels and tyres for smaller ones to go to the snow.

For another $7500 there is also an off-road pack, which BMW calls xOffroad Package.

It includes additional aluminium underbody protection and specific drive modes that tailor the throttle response and transmissions shift points while also adding up to an extra 40mm of ground clearance by raising the air suspension. It can be set for sand, rocks, gravel and snow. The off-road pack also includes a mechanically locking rear differential for additional traction in slippery conditions.

Does It Have A Spare?

The X5 uses run-flat tyres that can be driven on temporarily in the event of a puncture, something you’ll learn of early thanks to tyre pressure sensors. That’s handy if you want to drive to a repair shop or away from busy roads. However, when you drive on deflated runflat tyres they typically cannot be repaired, which can be expensive.

There is also a space saver spare tyre tucked under the boot floor. It is much skinnier than the tyres on the car and limits the recommended top speed to 80km/h.

Can You Tow With It?

Luxury SUVs aren’t often relied on to lug large weights, but the X5 is rated to tow a trailer up to 2700kg.

What About Ownership?

While many mainstream brands over warranty coverage of five years or more, BMW’s coverage only extends to three years, with no limit to the distance covered.

As with all new BMWs, the X5 doesn’t have fixed service intervals. Instead, the computer monitors how the car is driven and alerts the driver when the next service is due. If you drive the car hard, for example, or for mainly short trips, the car will call for oil changes sooner. But if you’re doing gentle country kilometres you may be able to drive further between services.

That makes budgeting for services trickier, but BMW offers an up-front service package that covers all servicing for the first five years or 80,000km. It costs $1795.

What Safety Features Does It Have?

There are airbags all around as the start of a comprehensive safety story that focuses heavily of active safety and driver assistance systems.

Auto emergency braking, or AEB, is standard and there is also semi-autonomous functionality that allows hands-free driving for short distances, taking control of braking, steering and acceleration.

As with all lane departure systems it not particularly intelligent sticking to the centre of the lane.

Blind spot warning is more useful and vision generally is good. For extra assistance when parking there is a 360-degree camera that can provide a virtual overhead view.

There’s also cross traffic alert in forward and reverse, the car warning of other vehicles approaching from the side. Plus, it can perform auto braking in reverse.

The cruise control can also tap into the speed limit recognition technology and adjust the car’s speed automatically when the speed zone changes. It’s a handy feature for country driving.

There’s also a nifty feature that can remember the last 50 metres of driving, allowing the car to reverse along the same path. It’s handy for those with tight driveways.

Editor's Rating

How do we rate the interior and practicality?
How do we rate the infotainment and controls?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate the safety?
Practical Motoring says: It’s more of the same done a whole lot better in the latest BMW X5. As well as more space and features the car drives much better, the improvements to the ride the most notable. At the same time, it’s among the most engaging SUVs to drive more enthusiastically, with good control and driver feedback. The superb diesel engine in the 30d makes for a refined and brisk drive, topping off the driving experience. Prices have crept up and having to option the third row of seats adds more again, but it’s a convincing luxury SUV that ticks plenty of boxes.

Toby Hagon

Toby Hagon

From Porsches to LandCruisers, Toby Hagon loves all things cars and has been writing about them for more than 20 years. He loves the passion and people that help create one of the world's most innovative and interesting industries. As well as road testing and chasing news he more recently co-authored a book on Holden. These days he crosses the world covering the industry but still loves taking off on the Big Trip in Australia.