When it comes to premium mid-size SUVs, the BMW X5 is one of the leading names.
It first emerged in 1999 and it has quietly yet confidently ploughed through to its fourth-generation model, racking up more than 2.2 million sales in the process.
But is this latest iteration good enough to keep it ahead of the ever-expanding pack of rivals that includes strong competition like the Mercedes-Benz GLE, Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90?
‘A fantastically capable all-rounder’
Auto Express awarded it four out of five stars, hailing it as ‘a fantastically capable all-rounder’. However, despite its strong points, the weekly car mag struggled to find anything about the X5 that elevated it above its rivals.
In the plus column though, AE said the X5 was ‘big, comfortable and quiet’, going on to compliment how the diesel engines combine decent performance with reasonable running costs.
Autocar matched AE’s four-star score, describing the new X5 as ‘capable, convenient, refined and classy’ despite its ‘occasionally crashy ride’.
Similarly, the Telegraph viewed the X5 mk4 as ‘an evolution of what’s gone before’, but the most luxurious and efficient version yet.
How does it drive?
Autocar’s tester felt a bit deflated by the X5’s pace, saying that it doesn’t feel as fast as the 6.5 seconds claimed by BMW, with some sub-2000rpm lag uncovered when switching over to manual.
This is no sportscar though and Autocar acknowledged that few buyers will push the big SUV to its limit and considered this version to be ‘more of a driver’s X5’ than what has come before it.
They went on to praise its off-road ability and mix of high torque and versatile suspension that will keep drivers moving along most tracks.
WhatCar? found the three-litre six-cylinder diesel, badged 30d, to be gutsy if a touch slow to respond when the accelerator pedal is floored from a standstill. Despite this, they considered it to be responsive and punchy whilst on the move.
Top Gear raised caution on the X5’s four-wheel steering system, which proved ‘a little unpredictable and ornery’.
They explained: ‘It’ll turn into a 50mph bend with a twitch, so you stop winding on the lock, then mid-bend it wants some more. It’s tricky to be smooth.’
Top Gear went on to question whether this system was even necessary in the UK where motorways aren’t fast or windy enough to warrant that extra stability.
What’s the X5’s interior like?
Spacious enough to keep four large adults happy, so says the Telegraph, which preferred it to the comparatively squishy Porsche Cayenne.
Comfort depends on which suspension setting you opt for though, with the adaptive comfort suspension being the preferred option. While the seats are supportive, their manual seat controls are ‘horribly fiddly’, which would be a problem if more than one person drives the car regularly.
The Telegraph found the X5’s dashboard layout to be ‘classy and simple to use’, thanks largely to BMW’s brilliant iDrive control system.
Should I buy one?
Yes. There’s not much that the X5 does badly and going off reviews, the X5 remains one of the best-in-class.