The BMW X5 is now 20 years and several generations old, and what’s most remarkable about the new version may well be that, in spite of all of the ways that it has adapted as the market that it helped to create has changed, it retains the key selling point with which the original forged its reputation back in 1999.
This is the luxury SUV half-breed that gives people as much space, convenience and utility as they need, and a driving experience that doesn’t make any of those things feel like it’s come at a compromise. The X5 remains a better-handing SUV: simple as that.
For a buyer who needs much of what a big SUV does but who doesn’t want a car that embodies everything that the modern luxury SUV has become, the X5 should continue to appeal strongly (it outsold all of its key German rivals across Europe and the US in 2017).
An Audi Q7 remains a more upmarket, accommodating SUV, while Land Rovers offer more 4x4 capability in their own uncompromising way. But the X5 is restored as a contender by this latest version, and should be considered a favourite by many.