Review: 2024 BMW X5


Since it first came out in 1999, the BMW X5 has always been offering multiple characters in a sport utility vehicle and reshaped its segment. It has always been the answer if you are looking for a luxury SUV that offers the perfect middle ground, with the right amount of sportiness and excitement factor. The updated X5 offers even more options with an environmentally friendly plug-in hybrid option, officially jumping the electrification bandwagon.

The Looks: Exterior and Interior

For 2024, the X5 receives a facelift and the front fascia is significantly different than the outgoing model. The revised chrome kidney grilles look proportionally right, unlike some modern BMWs. They are also illuminated but only visible at night. The headlights and front bumper are completely redesigned and it clearly gives the X5 a significantly more modern look. The Ametrine Metallic colour is $1000 extra, but definitely worth paying the premium as it looks very good in person.

The updated X5 has a similar silhouette, the biggest difference is the updated wheel design. Our tester has the optional M package, which comes with the dark gray 21″ wheels, and M Sport brake calipers in blue. When we make our way to the rear, the updates are less noticeable than the front end. The biggest differences are the updated taillights and rear bumper which give the X5 a more premium look in general.

The split tailgate is the unique feature of the X5 which allows the top section to rise like a conventional SUV, and the lower portion goes down like a pickup truck tailgate. It makes it much easier to load larger luggage, or a great place to sit. The X5 has above-average cargo space in its segment. There are 33.9 cubic feet (959 litres) of cargo space behind the rear seats and 72.3 cubic feet (2047 litres) with the rear seats folded. The 2024 BMW X5 can tow up to 7200 pounds, which is quite impressive for a luxury SUV. However, the plug-in hybrid option can tow up to almost 6000 pounds with the optional trailer tow hitch package.

There are important changes in the interior, the X5 joined the digitalization trend and has fewer physical buttons on the dashboard. BMW was nice enough to leave the volume knob, but most features are now only available through the infotainment screen including the HVAC controls. The center console looks a little bit more traditional with some buttons with haptic feedback and the iDrive rotary knob can also be used to control the infotainment system.

For 2024, the X5 also gets the latest infotainment system and the digital gauge cluster. The dashboard design looks very clean when the screens are off, it looks more like one giant curved screen. As soon as you start the car up, you will find that there are two separate screens located side by side. The 12.3-inch screen behind the steering wheel operates as a gauge cluster, but it shows tons of information and customizable layouts. You can also move your Google Maps to the digital cluster, and use the large 14.9-inch touchscreen for your music, or something else.

The X5 first came out with the iDrive 8, but later updated to the latest iDrive 8.5. When I first tried the new infotainment system, it was more of two steps forward and one step back, but BMW has been improving it to make it more intuitive and dumb-proof for all types of users. You may still need to use the search bar frequently to find the right app you are looking for, but it is better than before especially with the buttons placed at the bottom. Overall, it works very fast, the screen has great resolution and camera quality, but it gives you more like an Android phone experience.

In typical BMW fashion, the seats are very adjustable for all body types, and the X5 offers tons of interior space for the front seat passengers. It comes with 16-way power-adjustable sport seats with 2-way power side bolsters and 4-way power lumbar support. The thigh support is manually adjustable. The front seats are both heated and ventilated. I was hoping to see a memory seat function not just for the driver, but also for the passenger.

The rear seat passengers cannot get the same fine adjustment as the front seat occupants, but they can still enjoy nice creature comforts like the heated seats, 4-zone climate control, sun shaders and USB ports. We are surprised that there are no ventilated rear seats even as an optional feature, that’s something we can even find in some non-premium entries. Other than that, it is a great place to spend time, and even taller adults will have no issues with the overall legroom and headroom.

The Drive – Specs & Experience

The 2024 X5 comes with three different powertrain options, except the powerful X5M Competition. Our tester is called the xDrive50e, it is the only plug-in hybrid option with an updated turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six engine, which offers significantly more power and electric-only driving range compared to the outgoing xDrive45e. The 6-cylinder gas engine pushes 308 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque, and the electric motor generates 194 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. The combined output is 483 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque.

The X5 xDrive50e comes with a 25.7-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that offers 40 miles of EV driving, which is quite impressive for a plug-in hybrid vehicle. There is no level 3 DC charging option, but with the level 2 fast charging, you can charge it from 0% to 100% in 3.5 hours, which is more than enough for almost all situations. Of course, you can choose different modes to save the battery juice especially if you are driving it on the highway, but the transition is extremely smooth, almost unnoticeable. The 6-cylinder engine itself is extremely smooth and has tons of mid-range punch, but with the help of electric motors, the X5 is quite fast anywhere in the RPM range.

If you are spending tons of money to buy a luxury SUV, a plug-in hybrid powertrain isn’t meant to be a fuel or money saver. It boosts the luxury feeling in the interior, as it runs almost dead silent when the gas-powered engine is off. The electric motor offers an adequate amount of power, so you can accelerate in EV mode even on the highway. The air suspension offers the right amount of firmness and comfort that can also lower and raise the vehicle height based on the road conditions. The body roll is minimal, but very controllable thanks to the quite communicative chassis.

In typical BMW fashion, the driving experience is what makes the X5 special compared to other entries in this segment even with a plug-in hybrid model. The 25.7-kWh battery pack is located under the rear seat and the floor, giving the X5 a better weight distribution and a center of gravity. As expected, the xDrive system is rear-biased, but the X5 tends to understeer at the limit if you hesitate to use the throttle pedal. I found the steering and front end feeling a little vague at the limit, but that’s expected for a big SUV.

The Verdict

The X5 is not the first plug-in hybrid luxury SUV, there are other strong contenders like the Range Rover Sport PHEV. The updated X5 may not be as comfortable, or off-road capable as the Range Rover, but it continues to be our favourite luxury SUV for multiple reasons. It offers everything you expect from a BMW, it is faster and more fun to drive, and it comes with great practicality and the option to go fully electric with a usable range. The silky smooth inline-six is a perfect recipe for both worlds, it is a great daily driver that can also be exciting to drive.

Engine3.0 liter turbocharged inline-6 & electric motor
Transmission & Drivetrain8-speed automatic & all-wheel-drive
Max power (combined)483 hp @ 5500 rpm
Max torque (combined)516 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
0-100 km/h4.2 sec
Curb Weight5473 lbs – 2482 kg
Fuel Economy (observed)55 MPG – 4.2 L/100 km
Price (as tested)$107,000 CAD

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