A mature and solid product after 20 years
The X5, BMW’s SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle, the definition BMW prefers instead of SUV) was the first SUV of the German brand which was introduced 20 years ago.
BMW launched the current model last summer as the fourth generation. The X5 offers two engine options; xDrive 40i and xDrive 50i. Our tester was a 40i with a 6 cylinder TwinPower turbo engine that delivers 335 horsepower.
This is a well-selling model and since its introduction, 2.4 million X5’s has been built in Spartanburg, SC. This production site is a center of competence and also handles production of the BMW X3, X4, X6 and recently then flagship SUV X7
Already, the previous generation was a great vehicle with its driving dynamics. BMW had managed to build an SUV (aka SAV) with the driving characteristics of a sports car.
The base MSRP for X5 40i is $71,500. The price of our test was $96,300 with all bells and whistles. The total of options is $25,000 thus the price of a well-equipped middle-class car. Well, we are in BMW territory and the figures have a different meaning.
Design-wise, this generation of X5 is distinguishable by a larger, restyled kidney grille and adaptive LED headlights or optional laser lighting. Taillamps wrap around for a 3-D look. The wheel arches are more angular, too. Overall, the new model looks like a perfect evolution of the former and already mature SAV.
We are already familiar with the impressive driving characteristics of the X5 since we tested this SAV in the previous generations.
BMW says that the biggest X5 improvement lies off the pavement. The 2019 model marks the rollout of the optional off-road package with enhanced modes for snow, rocks, sand, and gravel, plus a rear-locking differential. Push a button to raise the suspension for better ground clearance. When the engine control unit detects water, the kidney grille closes and ride height is locked in place. If the SUV senses wheel slip on a rock, it adjusts the suspension to reduce the load in that area—the same principle relieves pressure on a flat tire.
In early summer days in Ontario, we did not have a chance bad weather and challenging off-road conditions and refrain from giving our opinion.
The rise of SUV’s, in all the segments, looks unstoppable. And the Bavarians are well positioned with products across the segments, from X1 to X7. With the BMW-typical built quality, driving dynamics and the overall image, the success in the luxury category is well secured.
Article and photos by Varol McKars