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BMW SUV models – a buyer's guide

What’s the difference between BMW’s SUV models and which one is right for you? Here’s our guide to the BMW SUV model range.

Graham King Cazoo

By Graham King

Updated: 7 February 2024

There are nine BMW SUV models – the X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, X7, iX and XM – and each one is stylish, practical and good to drive.

With so many models to choose from, deciding which one is right for you could be tricky. Here, we look at the BMW SUV model range in detail, to help you decide which one could be right for you.

What’s the smallest BMW SUV model?

BMW’s smallest SUV is the X2. It’s similar in size to other compact SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz GLA or the Audi Q3. Despite its smaller size and coupe-like styling, the X2 has plenty of space in the back seats and a big boot. It works pretty well as a family car, although small children may have trouble seeing out of the small back windows.

If that’s a concern for you, the X1 may be a better option. The X1’s more traditional SUV body is a few inches longer and taller. Its boot is usefully larger, too.

BMW X2

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What’s the largest BMW SUV model?

The largest BMW SUV is the X7. It’s a very big car that’s similar in size to the Range Rover or Audi Q7. The X7 is really spacious and practical, and deeply luxurious.

The XM is a fraction shorter and lower than the X7 but is similarly vast. It's BMW's most high-end model and is a rival for Aston Martin and Bentley SUV models.

The iX and X5 are slightly smaller than the X7 and XM but are still large cars, roughly the same size as the Mercedes-Benz GLE. Slotting into the gap between these two and the X1 is the X3, a mid-size SUV that is a rival to the Jaguar F-Pace and Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

The X6 is the same size as the X5, and the X4 is the same size as the X3, but the X6 and X4 have shorter, lower bodies with sportier styling.

BMW X7

What’s the difference between the odd- and even-numbered BMW SUV models?

Take a look at the BMW SUV model range and you'll see that there are some with odd numbers in their names and some with even numbers in their names.

The odd-numbered models – X1, X3, X5 and X7 – have a conventional SUV shape with a high roofline and squared-off look at the back. The even-numbered models – X2, X4 and X6 – are essentially coupe versions of X1, X3 and X5, with the same chunky stance and raised height but with a lower roof and coupe-like styling behind the front doors that gives them a sportier look. They feel sportier to drive, as well.

BMW X5 (Left) BMW X6 (right)

Which BMW SUV models have 7 seats?

Two BMW SUV models are available with seven seats – the X5 and X7. In the X5, an extra pair of seats that fold out of the boot floor are available as an option when the car is new. Not many buyers go for it, though, and these third-row seats really only have enough space for children.

The X7, on the other hand, has generous, comfortable space for adults in its standard-fit third row. It’s luxurious back there, too, with armrests, cupholders and heated seats. You can also fine-tune the space according to your passengers’ needs because the second row of seats slides back and forth.

There are also some X7 models that have six seats, with a pair of luxurious ‘captain’s’ chairs in row two, instead of a three-seat ‘bench’.

BMW X7's third–row seats

Do all BMW SUV models have four-wheel-drive?

Not all BMW SUV models have four-wheel drive. Most X1 and X2 models, and some X3 and X5 models, have two-wheel drive. You can spot a four-wheel-drive BMW of any sort – not just an SUV – by the ‘xDRIVE’ badge on its boot lid (xDRIVE simply being the name BMW gives to its four-wheel drive system). Models with two-wheel drive have an ‘sDRIVE’ badge.

BMW xDrive four-wheel-drive badge

Which BMW SUV model has the biggest boot?

Unsurprisingly, the X7 has the biggest boot of any BMW SUV, with a vast 750 litres of space in five-seat mode. Even with all seven seats in place, there’s still enough room for some supermarket shopping. Fold down all the back seats and you have 2,125 litres of space – enough for a full-height fridge/freezer. However, some other SUVs of the X7’s size have an even bigger boot, like the Land Rover Discovery. That’s the case for all BMW SUVs – they have a usefully large boot, just not the biggest you can get in an SUV of their size.

BMW X7's boot

Which BMW SUV model is best for dog owners?

All BMW SUV models are good for dogs because each one has a large boot and hatchback-style boot lid. Of all them, the X5 and X7 are the ultimate dog carriers. They have the biggest boots, s well as two-piece boot lids with lower halves that fold down to create a platform that makes it easier for your dog to get in and out.

Some BMW SUV models also have suspension that lowers at the touch of a button, so your dog faces less of a jump up. While the sloping back window of the X2, X4 and X6 might be an issue for very large dogs, smaller dogs should fit in fine.

BMW X5's boot

Are there any hybrid or electric BMW SUV models?

The X1, X2, X3 and X5 are available with petrol-electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV) power alongside a selection of petrol and diesel engines, while the XM is available only as a plug-in hybrid.

There are pure-electric versions of the X1, X2 and X3 called iX1, iX2 and iX3. There's also one electric-only BMW SUV called the iX. It’s roughly the same size as the X5 and has a very high-tech look inside and out. The top-of-the-range BMW iX has an official maximum range of 380 miles.

BMW X3 xDrive30e plug-in-hybrid

Are BMW SUV models good off-road?

BMW's SUV models are generally as good off-road as rival SUVs made by Audi or Mercedes-Benz but, like those cars, they're designed with on-road comfort in mind.

Four-wheel-drive versions of the X3, X5 and X7 can cross terrain more challenging than most people will ever try to tackle but they’re ultimately not as capable as a Land Rover. The other models are more capable off-road than most conventional hatchback or saloon models would be thanks to their extra ground clearance, but it's not really their natural habitat.

BMW X7 off–roading

Are there any sporty BMW SUV models available?

All BMW SUV models feel quite sporty to drive compared with many SUVs, but some models are more obviously focused on high performance and an exciting driving experience. These models all have 'M' in their name.

Those with an ‘M’ followed by two numbers – M35 or M40, for example – are sportier versions of the standard models. They're very quick and very well equipped, yet still very comfortable in everyday driving.

Then there those with an ‘M’ in their names – the X3 M, X4 M, X5 M, X6 M and XM. These are bespoke high-performance models that are very fast and powerful and cost a lot more to buy and run.

BMW X4 M

BMW SUV models in summary

BMW X1

The compact BMW X1 may be small on the outside but it’s big on the inside, with plenty of space for four adults and a large boot. It’s great for families and doesn’t feel too big for single people or couples. An all-new X1 went on sale in 2022; the previous version (pictured) was on sale new from 2015 to 2022.

BMW X2

The BMW X2 is essentially a sportier version of the X1 with coupe-like styling. It stands out from the crowd, feels great to drive and you still get the high seating position of an SUV. But it’s not as practical as the X1.

BMW X3

The BMW X3 is a step up in size from the X1. As you’d expect, it’s more spacious and practical as a result. It's a rival for cars such as the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.

BMW X4

As the X2 is to the X1, so the X3 is to the X4 – the sportier ‘coupe’ version. The X4 actually works quite well as a family car, but its focus is more on style and a sporty driving experience.

BMW X5

The BMW X5 is a large SUV that's a rival for cars such as the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90. It has a huge interior with space for five adults and a big boot. It’s comfortable, luxurious and it feels almost as good to drive as a sporty saloon.

BMW X6

With its standout looks, you won’t lose the X6 in a car park. It’s the ‘coupe’ version of the X5, focused on style and sportiness. But it’s practical, too, with more than enough space and practicality for most families’ needs.

BMW X7

The X7 is BMW’s largest, most luxurious SUV. It has generous space for up to seven people, a huge boot and just about every high-tech feature BMW offers. It feels surprisingly agile to drive, too.

BMW iX

The BMW iX is a pure-electric SUV that's about the same size as the BMW X5, albeit noticeably lower. It has a distinctive, high-tech look inside and out and has a maximum battery range of up to 382 miles, according to official figures.

BMW XM

The BMW XM is BMW's most expensive SUV model. It's only available with plug-in hybrid power and has an extremely high-tech, luxurious interior. It's a rival for SUVs from brands such as Aston Martin, Bentley and Porsche.

You’ll find a range of BMW SUVs for sale at Cazoo. Simply use the search function to find one you love then buy or finance it online. You can choose to have it delivered to your door, or you can collect it from your nearest Cazoo Customer Centre.

We're constantly updating and adding to our stock. If you can't find the right BMW SUV today, it’s easy to set up a stock alert to be the first to know when we have cars that match your needs.

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