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The new fourth generation X5 delivers on its promise of being a practical, high-tech and dynamically confident family SUV.

03 Jul 2019


Launched all the way back in 1999, the first ever BMW X5 was the very first SUV from BMW, heralding the start of the brand's X family of cars. Of course, this was way before the rapid proliferation of SUVs across the industry.

Now, the new fourth generation X5 finds itself in a highly competitive segment chock full with competitors chomping for a piece of the pie (a pie BMW will gleefully tell you it first created). How does it stack up?

The new X5 is longer, wider and taller than its predecessor

It must have grown bigger, yes?

As with everything these days, yes, the new X5 is bigger. It's not just the kidney grille either (though that too has grown). Compared to its predecessor, the new X5 is 36mm longer, 66mm wider, 19mm taller and has a 42mm longer wheelbase.

Visually, it's not immediately apparent (other than the aforementioned kidney grille, which really is rather big). The car retains a generally similar beefy and muscular design language to the third generation model, though sleeker elements like the BMW Laserlights and a strong signature character line help make the car look a tad less gargantuan than it actually is.

With the third row of seats folded, the X5 boasts 645 litres of boot space

It is inside the car where the extra space can be felt. There's more head, shoulder and legroom, especially for the rear passengers.

The car also comes standard with seven seats - fold the third bench and you have access to 645 litres of boot space, expandable to 1,860 litres with the second row folded. There is also a couple of buttons in the boot area that will allow you to easily fold the second row of seats.

And there's a ton of new tech, presumably...

Oh yes, there most certainly is. The list of new available technology is extensive, but a couple stand out.

The Gesture Control function is now much more refined, with clearer detection and operation

The first is the new BMW Live Cockpit Professional, comprising a 12.3-inch digital instrument display as well as a 12.3-inch Control Display running BMW's latest Operating System 7.0. Beyond just being very sleek-looking, the new Operating System 7.0 is easy to use, while also being highly customisable. This also gives you access to all sorts of cool functions, including gesture control and the Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPA), activated by saying "Hey BMW".

The X5 also features wireless Apple CarPlay, which allows you to mirror your iPhone without an ungainly cable dangling around the cabin. However, we found the system to have occassional hiccups - at times, the system would disconnect the iPhone for a couple of minutes before being able to re-establish the connection. This should hopefully be resolved in a future Remote Software Upgrade.

Wireless Apple CarPlay allows for even more convenient smartphone connectivity

BMW has also packed the X5 with the whole gamut of driver assistance systems, including Parking Assistant Plus, Reversing Assistant and Cruise Control with braking function.

And while the new X5 definitely packs a lot more equipment, the cabin actually feels more minimalist and uncluttered. This can be attributed to the new centre console where a majority of the important buttons are housed. 

So how does it drive, then? 

As you'd expect, the X5 is pretty sweet to drive. It's light on its feet, with generous amounts of power from the 3.0-litre turbocharged engine. 335bhp and 450Nm of torque pushes the car from 0-100km/h in just 5.5 seconds. And, the engine makes a pretty sweet sound - not loud or rapturous like an M engine, but rather mellow yet sonorous.

Saying "Hey BMW" activates the IPA, enabling you to operate a wide range of features just by talking to the car
 
The ride is good, too. The two-axle air suspension system with automatic self-levelling allows the X5 to soak up bumps in the road effortlessly, significantly improving overall ride comfort. You can also engage Sport mode to firm up the suspension if you want to partake in spirited driving.

For a car this big, the X5 handles impressively. Along twisty roads, the X5 delivers ample amounts of grip, the steering is fairly precise, and you can really hustle it along much more quickly than you really should a big, tall-riding SUV. However, there's no overcoming the sheer size of the car - some roll is to be expected, and you'll definitely find yourself creeping into the other lane.

The 3.0-litre stright-six engine pairs creamy smooth power with a melodic soundtrack

Niggles? We seemed to detect a low-frequency boominess within the cabin of the X5, though we're not quite certain what it is. It may be the car's large cabin reverberating ambient noise. Tyre noise is also a tad more detectable than we'd like. 

So is it still the segment leader?

There's no doubt that the new fourth generation X5 is markedly improved from before. That's no real surprise - with new technology, better equipment and greater refinement, the X5 is a step up from the previous generation.

Right now, the new X5 is a certainly the best iteration of BMW's family SUV formula

Is it better than the rest of the field? This is a more difficult question. You see, back when the X5 first debuted in 1999, there was nothing else quite like it. And, the X5 has always stood out for its superior driving dynamics, while still delivering the practicality of a big family SUV.

These days, with so many SUVs in the market, drivers have more options than ever before. The new X5 is undoubtedly the best iteration of BMW's luxury family SUV formula (at least until we get behind the wheel of the new and even bigger X7). Is it the best-driving? We suspect the Lamborghini Urus and Porsche Cayenne will beg to differ. The most luxurious? The Bentley Bentayga has got that covered. Most comfortable? The Volvo XC90 is certainly up there.

There may be other SUVs that do specific things better, but when it comes to all-round capability, the X5 still stands tall

The X5 may have created the formula, but so many brands have now gone and made their own spin on it. Where the X5 probably still reigns supreme is in scoring the highest average mark across all grading categories. It's supremely well-rounded, capable of delivering the goods no matter what you ask of it. And if you think about it, that is probably its own new benchmark. 
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Car Information

spacer

Price

: $360,888

Engine Type

:

6-cylinder in-line Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

2998cc

Horsepower

:

250kW (335 bhp)

Torque

:

450 Nm / 5200 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A) Steptronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

5.5sec

Top Speed

:

-

Fuel consumption

:

10.9 km/L

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bmw  bmw x5  x5  bmw suv  x5 40i  x5 suv