Butch bodywork? Check. Opulent interior? Check. Premium badge? Check. Chuck in BMW’s reputation for building nifty driver’s cars and this latest X5 looks like it has the luxury SUV marketplace all sewn up.
Indeed, good driving manners have been an X5 staple since the first iteration hit the streets in 1999. This fourth-generation model has been around for only a year or so, but it still entices potential purchasers with a healthy range of hotshot engines.
The diesel line-up kicks off with a 261bhp 3.0-litre straight six in the xDrive30d, followed by a 394bhp M50d. Petrol fans have three options: a 335bhp 3.0-litre xDrive40i, a 523bhp M50i and a 616bhp 4.4-litre V8 in the X5 M Competition. Meanwhile, the 389bhp xDrive45e is a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid that has a claimed EV range of 54 miles.
Equipment levels are very generous, with even the entry-level xLine getting 19in alloy wheels, a 12.3in infotainment system, LED headlights and parking sensors front and rear, along with a rear-view camera. M Sport has 20in alloys and sportier exterior and interior styling, while M50i and M50d X5s have 22in alloys, adaptive headlights, an upgraded Harman Kardon sound system, an M Sport exhaust and an M Sport differential for increased traction in corners.
Much like all X5s, the current model excels on the road. No rival this side of the Porsche Cayenne can match the X5 for handling prowess, because it has very good body control for something so tall, as well as loads of grip. Ride comfort isn’t much of an issue, either, since nearly all models get air suspension. With it, the X5 maintains its composure over harsh potholes and ridges in the road without any of the floaty, wallowy sensations that make many similarly equipped rivals feel all at sea.
Interior quality is impressive, too. Every surface is swathed in soft-touch materials and highlighted by genuine metal finishes that give it a highly luxurious feel. There are also traditional buttons for frequently used controls, such as the air-con and infotainment system. Front and rear occupants won’t have much to complain about, because there’s lots of head, leg and shoulder room for all. And there’s plenty of adjustment in the electric driver’s seat, including adjustable lumbar support. With the optional third row in use, some passengers won’t be quite so happy, but the X5 isn’t any worse than the Range Rover Sport in this regard.