White BMW X5 M50d [2018] driving

Which BMW SUV is best for me?

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

Cazoo

By Cazoo editorial team

BMW makes some of the best SUVs. They’re spacious and practical family cars. Their interiors are luxurious, user-friendly and loaded with tech. They look great and are fuel efficient by SUV standards. They feel fantastic to drive – better, even, than many conventional hatchbacks and saloons. And there’s a huge range to choose from.

BMW makes seven SUV models – the X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 – the bigger the number, the bigger the car. There are significant differences between the odd- and even-numbered models, as well, which we’ll come back to in a moment.

With so many models to choose from, all offering broadly the same qualities, deciding which BMW SUV is right for you could be tricky. Here, we answer some of the important questions to help you decide which one is right for you.

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

There are, in effect, two separate BMW SUV ranges – those with odd numbers in their names and those with even numbers in their names. 

The odd-numbered models – X1, X3, X5 and X7 – have the tall body of a practical, family-friendly SUV. The even-numbered models – X2, X4 and X6 – have the chunky looks and raised height you expect of an SUV but with a lower roof and coupe-like styling that gives a sportier look. They feel sportier to drive, as well.

The two ranges pair up. The cars in each pair are the same size and share many mechanical parts. The pairs are X1 and X2, X3 and X4, and X5 and X6. The X7 will be joined by the X8 when that model is launched in late 2021.

BMW X5 (Left) BMW X6 (right)

What’s the smallest BMW SUV?

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. Though it has a lower number in its name, the X1’s more traditional SUV body is a few inches longer and taller. Its boot is usefully larger and you and your passengers, whatever their ages, will appreciate a more spacious interior that’s lighter and brighter than the X2 is.

BMW X2

What’s the largest BMW SUV?

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 X5 is slightly smaller but it's still a large car, the same size as the Lexus RX or the Mercedes-Benz GLE. Slotting into the gap between the X5 and 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

Which BMW SUVs have 7 seats?

Two BMW SUVs are available with seven seats in three rows – 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

Which BMW SUV is best for dog owners?

BMW SUVs are available in a broad range of sizes, so there should be one big enough for your dog(s) to move around and lie down, whatever size it is/they are. The view out of the sloping back window of the X2, X4 and X6 isn’t great, though, especially for smaller dogs.

Of all the models, the X5 and X7 are the ultimate dog carriers. They have the biggest boots and two-piece boot lids with lower halves that fold down to create a platform making it easier for your dog to get in and out. Some models also have suspension that lowers at the touch of a button, so your dog faces less of a jump up.

BMW X5's boot

Are there any hybrid or electric BMW SUVs?

The X1, X2, X3 and X5 are available with petrol-electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV) power and offer a usefully long zero-emissions range. According to official figures, the X1 25e and X2 25e can go up to 35 miles on battery power; the X3 30e up to 29 miles; and the latest X5 45e up to 60 miles. The older X5 40e can manage around 25 miles.

Two new electric models will go on sale in late 2021 – the iX3 and iX. The iX3 is an electric version of the mid-size X3 with an official range of up to 285 miles on a fully charged battery. The iX has been designed from the ground up as an electric car. It’s the same size as the X5 and has a very high-tech look inside and out. The top-of-the-range iX has an official maximum range of 380 miles.

BMW X3 xDrive30e plug-in-hybrid

Which BMW SUV 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

Are BMW SUVs good off-road?

BMW makes its SUVs feel as good as possible to drive on the road, but that comes at the expense of off-road ability. 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 a conventional car would be, but they don’t feel especially comfortable in that environment.

BMW X7 off–roading

Do all BMW SUVs have four-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 – most X1 and X2 models, and some X3 and X5 models, have two-wheel drive.

Four-wheel-drive makes a car feel safer and more secure on the road than two-wheel-drive cars do. Especially in wet, muddy or icy conditions. It's helpful for towing, as well, and pretty much essential for driving off-road.

BMW xDrive four-wheel-drive badge

Are there any sporty BMW SUVs available?

All BMW SUVs feel quite sporty to drive, but some models are more overtly focused on high performance and an exciting driving experience. These models actually come in two ‘tiers’. Models in the first tier have an ‘M’ followed by two numbers as their engine designation – M35 or M40, for instance. That’s followed by an ‘i’ to indicate a petrol engine or a ‘d’ for diesel. All of the first tier models give very rapid acceleration and feel like a sports car on a winding country road, yet they’re still very comfortable in everyday driving.

The second tier has just four models, all with an ‘M’ in their names – the X3 M, X4 M, X5 M, and X6 M. They’re very fast and powerful, and exciting to drive on the road, but their speed comes at the cost of a stiffer ride and higher running costs.

BMW X4 M

BMW SUV models in summary

BMW X1

The compact 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.

Read our BMW X1 review

BMW X2

The 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. 

Read our BMW X2 review

BMW X3

The X3 is a step up in size from the X1. As you’d expect, it’s more spacious and practical as a result. It has more tech, too, and, despite being a bigger car, actually feels better to drive.

Read our BMW X3 review

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 X5 is a very capable and versatile car. 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. 

Read our BMW X5 review

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.

You’ll find a range of BMW SUVs for sale at Cazoo. Use our search tool to find the one that’s right for you, buy it online and have it delivered to your door. Or choose to collect it from a Cazoo Customer Centre.

We’re constantly updating and adding to our stock. If you can’t find a BMW SUV within your budget today, check back soon to see what’s available or set up a stock alert to be the first to know when we have saloons that match your needs.

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