BMW’s X5 has been the go-to SUV for posh family hauling since it was first introduced in 1999. Fast forward to today, and the X5 is getting ready to launch into its fourth generation.
Having seen numerous latest stage prototypes in all forms of specifications out and about on European and North American roads, let’s take an illustrated sneak-peek and look at what to expect from the mid-size luxury model from BMW.
Dynamic styling on the outside
Toned, muscular and aggressive are probably the best words to describe the new X5’s exterior design. Whilst not as big as that on the upcoming BMW X7, the kidney grille is large enough to inhale peasants with ease. In some scoop shots, we also detected detected a hint of blue inside the optical units, a giveaway for Laserlight technology.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing new styling elements is a belt-line that climbs sharply towards the rear door handles and lines up with the taillights. Front fender vents are similar to the X7’s (itself previewed by the X7 i7 Performance study last year), while the greenhouse is an evolution of the current X5’s.
What about the X5M, M Sport and M Performance models?
All M-variants will have a more aggressive styling that includes in-your-face front and rear bumpers, side sills, specific exhaust tips and beefier wheels.
From there on, as with the respective 5-Series models, the X5 M Performance will differentiate itself from the plain M Sport trim packages through some subtle detailing like dedicated wheels and kidney slats, plus titanium finish for the vents, mirrors and grille surround.
Naturally, the pure X5M will be the most dynamic looking of the three, with larger bespoke wheels and tires for a more planted stance along with other mods including thicker, black gloss grille slats, even bigger bumper air inlets, additional vents and quad exhausts. To be frank, though, casual drivers will probably have a hard time telling the difference between the X5M and the X5 M Performance models.
A classy new cabin that brings some changes
Cabin styling is more rectangular with a high-tech digital instrument panel and a new layout for the center console that adds a small screen with toggle switches between the air vents, discarding the traditional knobs of current BMWs.
The automatic shifter is smaller and sits within a squared panel of buttons and toggle switches, including the start button, iDrive controller, park brake button, suspension control and driving mode selector with dedicated buttons for Sport, Comfort and Eco Pro modes.
The new X5 will be bigger than its predecessor, which means good news for improved occupant space. It will continue to offer seating for 5+2. Other highlights are the ventilated and heated massaging seats, semi-autonomous capabilities similar to those on 7-Series and X7, B&W audio, BMW display key, ambient lighting and night vision with object recognition.
BMW’s new iDrive OS 7.0
As with other upcoming BMW models, the brand’s latest Operating System 7.0 will be a highlight of the X5 boasting a new layout with more intuitive commands. It still retains the useful round knob in the center console, but it’s been given a makeover with more jewel-like detailing, while all functions can be accessed via touchscreen too.
One fundamental difference is that besides the screen sitting above the center console, the driver also has direct access to all information on the new fully digital and customizable instrument panel, with the dials shrinking and reformatting depending on your needs. The system will be able to tell what information is more useful to the driver, for example switching to a parking map as you’re approaching your destination.
What will power it
In terms of gasoline engines, there is a 248hp / 252PS 2.0-litre four, a 335hp / 340PS 3.0-litre six, and a thumping 456hp / 462PS 4.4-litre V8 in the M Performance trim– all turbocharged. xDrive AWD will be standard across the range.
Diesels in 228hp / 231PS 2.0-litre four and 3.0-litre six-cylinder in 261hp / 265PS and 315hp / 320PS formats will feature, topped by a 400PS / 394hp quad-turbo 3.0L in the M Performance X5 for markets outside North America. The U.S. will likely get the base 261hp 3.0L diesel only.
For the enviro-conscious and fuel misers amongst us, there will also be a 2.0-litre turbo hybrid in xDrive40e guise. It will feature a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine, a 9.2 kWh lithium-ion battery, and an electric motor producing 111 hp (82 kW) and 184 lb-ft (249 Nm) of torque. This setup will deliver a combined output of 322 hp (240 kW) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque.
Tell me about the maxed out X5M
If none of the above rips the skin from your rice pudding, then wait for the almighty X5 M. It will share the twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 found in the M5 delivering 600 PS (592hp) and 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) of torque which would be a modest increase over the current model that gets by with 575 PS (423 kW) and 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) of torque. However, combine that with a significant diet, and the X5 M could possibly join the sub-4-sec club for the 0-60mph sprint. Scary!
Underpinning the all-new X5 is the lighter and stiffer CLAR architecture, which is shared with the 7-series and X7. Conjecture has as much as 300kg (661lbs) being shaved off itsin weight, which is fundamental to handling and performance gains.
The stiffer platform will also contribute to better crash performance – especially when it comes to the IIHS tough to pass, small overlap crash test. Whilst the out-going X5 hasn’t been rated in this area, the CLAR-based 5-Series has been and carries a top safety pick+ rating.
When will we see it?
BMW is expected to reveal the all-new 2019 X5 later this year, possibly at the Paris Auto Show in October with sales to start either towards the end of the year or in early 2019.
What do you think of the X5; will it be on your shopping list? Tell us in the comments below.
Additional reporting from John Halas