2019 BMW X5 xDrive 30d Review
Isaac Bober’s 2019 BMW X5 xDrive 30d Review with Price, Specs, Performance, Ride and Handling, Infotainment, Ownership, Safety, Verdict and Score.
In a nutshell: The new X5 is bigger and more sophisticated than its predecessor but there are some glaring omissions.
2019 BMW X5 xDrive 30d Specifications
Price From $112,990+ORC Warranty three years, unlimited kilometres Service Intervals Use based Safety Not tested Engine 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder diesel Power 195kW at 4000rpm Torque 650Nm from 2000rpm Transmission eight-speed automatic Drive all-wheel drive Dimensions 4922mm long, 2004mm wide, 1745mm high, 2975mm wheelbase Turning Circle 12.6m Weight 2120kg kerb Angles 25.2-degrees approach, 22.3-degrees departure, 20.2-degrees rampover Boot Space 650-1870L Spare space saver Fuel Tank 80L Thirst 7.2L/100km
The all-new BMW X5 which arrived Down Under towards the end of last year is bigger than its predecessor in every single way and miles bigger than the original X5, launched 20 years ago. Indeed, the new X5 is 36mm longer than its predecessor, 66mm wider and 19mm taller… it’s more than 25cm longer than the original X5, 132mm wider and 38mm taller. It’s big.
What’s the price and what do you get?
The BMW X5 xDrive 30d we’re testing lists from $112,990+ORC and is, currently, the cheapest way into the X5 range. It’s expected that both a four-cylinder and more-power M variants will make it to Australia to flesh out the range.
The major features, include 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 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and powered split-fold tailgate.
In typical premium vehicle fashion, the cost options list is longer than your arm and includes things like massaging, ventilated front seats, a range of different wheels, paint colours, leather seat colours, interior and exterior trims, heated and cooled cup holder in the front, heated front and rear seats, and so much more.
There are also many ‘packs’ available for the X5, including M Sport Pack, the Indulgence Pack, Performance Pack, Comfort Pack, and the Off-Road Pack. And the idea is that these packs allow buyers to shortcut the options list with pricing per pack generally better than choosing individual items from the cost-options list.
Our test car featured the M Sport Package which includes things like, 20-inch M Light Alloy Wheels, M Sport Brake, Adaptive M Suspension (and this is worth remembering), M Leather Steering Wheel, M Aerodynamics Package, a specific M key, M specific instrument display, brake air-breather surround in gloss black, and more. This pack, which more than 80% of previous X5 buyers added, is priced from $4000. Our test car also featured BMW’s cost-optional Laser lights (standard on the M50d).
What’s the interior and practicality like?
With the growth in the X5’s dimensions (wheelbase has stretched 42mm too) there’s more room inside the cabin than ever before. And, combined with a deep glasshouse (windows) the whole cabin, from the front to the back, feels roomier and airier than the old car.
In the front, the dashboard is spread out horizontally to accentuate the sense of width in the X5 with some beautifully finished materials. There’s soft-touch pretty much everything and wherever your hand touches, although the unlined door bins are a bit of a letdown given a $26k Ford Focus offers this.
The plastic air vent toggles feel very cheap and nasty and while the general switchgear (climate controls and radio) is beautiful to look at they’re small and fiddly to use on the move, but everywhere else it’s pure quality in terms of materials used.
There isn’t a lot of to-hand storage in the front of the X5. You get a split-lidded centre console bin which is a decent size (indeed the whole centre console area is nice and wide further exaggerating the sense of room in the cabin), cup holders in a bin at the base of the centre stack, glovebox and door bins.
The front seats are nice and comfortable with support everywhere you want it, including the ability to extend the base of the seat. For those of us with longer legs, getting a little extra under-thigh support on longer drives can make all the difference in terms of comfort.
Over in the back is where the real gain has been made in terms of passenger space. The rear seats are well shaped and comfortable with plenty of foot wiggle, leg and knee room. There’s also good headroom, even with the panoramic roof eating into the space. While the middle seat in the back isn’t quite as comfortable as the two outboard seats, it’s wide enough, and the floor flat enough, that an adult can use the middle seat. Indeed, you can easily fit three adults across the backseat of the X5.
Both the front and rear doors open nice and wide to make getting in and out of the back relatively easy for adults and kids alike. The backseats are 40:20:40 split which means you can tweak the boot space to suit all sorts of objects, or simply fold down the middle seat to help separate your children.
One negative is that BMW offers a third-row as a cost-option on the X5 ($3700) where key competitors offer it as standard. Now, whether having it as standard would win over more buyers it’s almost impossible to say. Optioning the third-row tweaks the back seats, allowing for them to slide fore and aft.
The boot offers up to 650 litres of space with the back seats in use (more than 1800 litres with them all down) and the shape is excellent, allowing you to pack right out to the edges. There’s a space saver spare hiding beneath the boot floor and the split-fold tailgate is cool and very practical.
What are the infotainment and controls like?
For more detail on the X5’s infotainment system then click HERE to read our X5 Infotainment Review, or watch the video below.
The new X5 runs BMW’s latest infotainment system, called 7.0, which offers a shallower menu structure than the old system. That doesn’t mean it’s easier to use, it just means it’s harder to get lost down a rabbit hole and, once you’ve got your head around it, easier to find what you need.
The trick with the system is that there are so many ways to interact with it, from the iDrive controller, shortcut keys, steering wheel controls, the touchscreen, voice control, and even gesture controls. Yep, you can wave your hand in front of it and it will respond.
The system is also, always online, meaning it can update itself in real-time like your smartphone, but while the native sat-nav system is good, Google Maps is a better system. And, fortunately, Apple CarPlay is now a free, standard inclusion. And BMW Australia is offering access (one-month) to a host of trial apps, like Microsoft 365 integration.
The 12.3-inch digital display is in place of analogue dials and this is better than the digital system BMW has previously offered. The screen can be divided now with mapping displayed in the centre of the screen. But it’s not perfect, see, the mapping shown in the instrument cluster displays the name of the road you’re on but not side roads as you pass them.
As mentioned earlier, the general controls all feel nice to the touch, except for the air vent toggles, but as nice looking as the switchgear is, it’s all very small and fiddly to use when on the move.
In all, the X5’s infotainment and controls are mostly a hit but they’ll take you awhile to get your head around.
What’s the performance like?
The X5 xDrive (meaning all-wheel drive) 30d runs a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine which makes 195kW at 4000rpm and 620Nm of torque from 2000-2500rpm. Despite that short, peak torque band, the engine feels incredibly urgent; as if it would continue to accelerate for days if allowed. Put your foot down from a standing start, or from almost any speed and the X5 30d surges ahead with all the sensation of a jumbo jet taking to the air.
The eight-speed automatic transmission is smooth once up and running and will slip between gears, and back again, barely noticed. But at low speed there can be the odd moment of hesitation from the transmission.
In general, though, the engine and transmission are perfectly matched making it one of the smoothest driving large SUVs on the planet. For those trainspotters, the fuel consumption has risen (7.2L/100km combined) but that’s only because the EU now demands car makers to test fuel consumption and emissions via the new Worldwide Harmonised Light-Duty Vehicles protocol (WLTP). The aim, is that vehicles are tested, still in a lab, but in a way that is more reflective of real-world driving.
What’s the ride and handling like?
The X5 is cost-optionally available with air suspension ($3900) but our car rode on the standard steel spring set-up, albeit with adaptive dampers via the fitted M Sport Package. This meant, out of the box, the ride was a little firmer than you might expect from the standard set-up, but it wasn’t teeth-rattlingly firm.
Toggling through the Drive Modes, you can choose from Eco, to Comfort, to Sport and with the option to further tweak those settings. Comfort was my pick with Sport making the throttle response too nervy and the steering too artificially heavy and twitchy. The X5 is a big vehicle and in Sport, on tight roads, the thing felt a little clumsy. Whereas Comfort offered a decent blend of body control and driver involvement and passenger comfort.
Indeed, the X5’s ability, at speed, to deal with sharp-edged hits is to be applauded. At low-speed, however, the same ‘hit’ jolts into the cabin but not unsettlingly so for passengers or vehicle.
Given the growth of the X5’s dimensions, owners will need to factor some adjustment time because the thing takes up a decent amount of room on the road. But it’s also a very confidence inspiring vehicle if you do decide to start pushing it along a winding road. Don’t misunderstand me, this is still a more-than-two-tonne vehicle so it’ll never behave like a sports car, but it is surprisingly agile. Although you need to get used to the steering, as there’s some slackness in the straight-ahead with weight building from there.
In all, the ride and handling is spot on for this sort of vehicle with just the right blend of comfort and control and the light steering will suit more buyers than it might annoy.
Should you take the X5 off-road?
Probably not. There isn’t a lot of ground clearance and there’s not a lot of wheel travel either. And you only have to look at the 20-inch wheels and licorice strap thin rubber to know this thing is aimed at on- rather than off-road driving. That said, BMW says its optional 19-inch wheel can be fitted with snow chains.
If you option the air suspension and the off-road pack you’re looking at around $10k, and no matter what BMW says, that still won’t make the X5 an off-roader in the same way a Range Rover is an off-roader.
The air suspension will allow an extra 40mm of travel and the additional drive modes with the xOffroad Package adds Sand, Rocks, Gravel and Snow. Given the sophistication and effectiveness of BMW’s permanent all-wheel drive xDrive set-up, these additional modes, I can only imagine, would be good. And the inclusion of a rear locking differential means that the X5 should be able to handle more difficult terrain than any one of its key competitors except for something wearing a Land Rover badge.
So, if you don’t have the air suspension and the xOffroad Pack then stick to well-graded dirt roads, if you have the pack then you’ll be able to go a little further off-road but you’d likely want to swap the 20s for the 19-inch alloys to get a slightly taller tyre.
Does it have a spare?
Yes, there’s a speed-limited (80km/h) space saver spare beneath the boot floor. The four tyres on the vehicle are run-flats, though. Still, the space saver spare is a good back-up if you’re in the middle of nowhere – even runflats can be destroyed.
Can you tow with it?
The BMW X5 is rated to tow a braked trailer weighing 1900kg with a towball download of 140kg. The engine and all-wheel drive make the X5 a formidable potential towing platform, but the low towball weight and braked capacity suggest this is one for box trailers only.
What about ownership?
BMW offers a three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty but there is no fixed service schedule. Instead, the vehicle monitors how it’s being driven and determines when a service is necessary. But, as a rule of thumb, ensure you’re getting your vehicle serviced once a year.
BMW offers a service package which can cover you for up to five years and 80,000km. In its basic form, it costs $1795 but rises to $4850 if you choose the top Plus cover. Depending on your level of cover, things like replacing wiper blades, air filter, spark plugs, brake pads will either cost extra or be covered in your service plan.
What about safety?
The X5, out of the box, comes equipped with plenty of active safety systems, like autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist (although this is very aggressive), forwards and reverse cross traffic alert with automatic braking in reverse, speed sign recognition and a 360-degree camera with multiple camera angles which is an excellent system. There’s also quite a bit of autonomous capability in the X5 which, across short distances allows it to steer, brake and accelerate. And it can even remember the last 50 metres of driving and follow a breadcrumb path and reverse back the way it drove in.