The side exterior of a white BMW X5

BMW X5 review (2018-2023)

The BMW X5 is an SUV that has all the gadgets you could want. The best thing about the X5 is the way it drives, blending a smooth ride with impressive handling despite being such a big car.

Pros

  • Excellent interior space and comfort
  • Extremely well-equipped
  • Every version is fast and good to drive

Cons

  • Most models are expensive to run
  • Not as capable off-road as some rivals
  • Plug-in hybrid isn't as practical as other models

Summary

“The BMW X5 has been one of the best – and most popular – large SUVs for a long time.”

By Cazoo editorial team

The BMW X5 is a premium SUV that offers luxury, space and practicality, while providing a feeling of status and presence.

We're focusing on the fourth-generation BMW X5 model that was introduced in 2018 and sold new until 2023, when it was replaced by an updated version. As with all previous X5 models, the X5 we're looking at is big, luxurious and enjoyable to drive. It's packed with features and although it's quite costly to buy and run you can say the same about every other large premium SUV.

What’s the interior like?

“Loads of space for the whole family and a relaxed environment for the driver.”

The interior of the X5 is uncluttered, all the controls are well positioned and the dashboard has nice clean lines. There’s lots of headroom for the driver and passengers as well as decent legroom for those in the back.

The boot is huge, with a capacity of 650 litres that's enough for for two large dogs or several large suitcases. The amount of space reduces if you choose a model with the third row of seats and there's even less space in the five-seater plug-in hybrid model, however.

The materials are excellent and give you the high-quality feel you expect from the brand. The infotainment system looks good and is easy to use, with a large screen linked to a rotary controller BMW calls 'iDrive' between the front seats. It's intuitive and non-distracting on the move, unlike some rivals' touchscreen systems.

What’s it like to drive?

“Much more agile than you'd expect for a big SUV.”

The X5 feels lighter and more agile than you might expect of a big SUV. It rides smoothly and gives you great confidence on country roads. Finding a parking space to fid can be a challenge but you get a decent view from the driver's seat and all versions have front and rear parking sensors.

You get a choice of petrol, diesel or (petrol-electric) plug-in hybrid power with this X5 model. All are powerful and make pulling away effortless. All but the entry-level X5 25d model have ‘xDRIVE’ four-wheel drive, while every version has a smooth-shifting automatic gearbox as standard.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Similar costs to rivals, the plug-in hybrid could work out cheapest to own”

The X5 is a big car with luxury and technology in abundance so it’s never going to be a cheap model to run.

Fuel economy is similar to what you'd get with the X5's rivals so you're looking at twenty-something mpg for petrol models and thirty-something for the diesels. Fuel and insurance costs for the high-performance models aren't for the faint-hearted.

The xDrive45e plug-in hybrid model could save you money on running costs depending on your driving habits and how and where you recharge the battery – it has an official range of about 50 miles using pure-electric power, which could dramatically improve your overall mpg.

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Which one is best for you?

The diesel engines suit the BMW X5 well, giving you less scary mpg than the petrol models and excellent performance. The petrols are fun, however, while a plug-in hybrid version could be a great bet if you can charge the battery regularly and tend to do lots of shorter journeys.

All versions are spectacularly well-equipped so the choice of trim depends on whether you want a car with a focus on comfort or one with a more sporty look and feel.

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