The first BMW X5 came out in 1999. Two decades later and the German automaker’s premium mid-size SUV is in the fourth generation, with the latest one hitting production just last year.
Made in BMW’s U.S. factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, it represents a big step over its predecessor, not so much visually, but technically. It’s bigger, so it offers improved rear headroom and legroom, has even better quality materials inside and comes jammed with enough modern gear to put a lot of pressure on its rivals from Audi and Mercedes, such as the Q7 and GLE.
In America, it can be had in two versions called the xDrive40i and xDrive50i, with 335 and 456 horsepower, respectively, and the ability to hit 60 mph (96 km/h) in 5.3 and 4.6 seconds for each model. Pricing starts from $60,700, and the entry version is sufficient, says Consumer Reports after having a go in one. It’s agile and refined, although the handling is now more focused on comfort. That doesn’t mean it won’t respond well when pushing it through corners, though.
The well-made cabin with high-end trim, comfortable and supportive front seats, plenty of room for rear passengers and other features have put the new X5 in a favorable light with the reviewer. It may take some time to master the infotainment system, but once they get the hang of it, users will find it quite intuitive. Loading large items into the boot is no big deal either because of the split-opening tailgate.
The all-new X5 is a much better SUV than it’s predecessor, but is the best one in the class? You know the drill to find out.