This is the all-new BMW X5, and as you’d expect, it’s better than the old one in just about every way.
So long as you think bigger is better, anyway. The new BMW X5 is 36 mm longer, 66 mm wider, and 19 mm taller than its predecessor. That means more interior space, into which you can now fit a third row of seats – so long as you tick the option box.
Still, without the third row of seats, you’ll notice that the new X5 is extremely spacious inside. With all of the seats up, you get 645 litres of space, but with everything folded flat, you get a van-like 1,860 litres of space. And at the front, you get enormous screens (more on them later), wrapped around a commanding driving position.
According to BMW, the styling takes bold new steps for its X line of cars, but we reckon there’s more than a whiff of the current-gen X3 about the new X5. At the back, things are a little more modern and aggressive-looking, but otherwise, BMW has played it pretty safe. And with good reason – 2.2 million X5s have been sold so far, meaning there’s a lot riding on this new one.
Happily, the most important updates come underneath, and as far as we’re concerned the big one is the fact that you can spec the new BMW X5 with an off-road package. That comes with two-axle air suspension, front and rear underguards, and four off-road driving modes, which will hopefully add up to a pretty capable machine. BMW released pictures of the X5 being tested off-road last month, and it’s fair to say the car looked like it was coping pretty well.
If you’re more interested in on-the-road dynamics, the new BMW X5 should be pretty good, too. You get a new all-wheel-drive system with rear-bias as standard. There’s a differential lock at the rear axle, which, BMW says, provides “noticeably enhanced agility, traction and directional stability” when accelerating out of corners. Nice.
There’s also electronically controlled dampers as standard, meaning all of that sporty treatment shouldn’t have any ill effects on the ride.
At launch, power will come courtesy of a 462 bhp V8 in the BMW X5 xDrive50i, or a 340 bhp straight-six in the xDrive40i. We’re assuming that, further down the line, there’ll eventually be an X5M.
Tech-wise, this is right up there with all of BMW’s other flagship cars. There’s a new version of BMW’s venerable iDrive system, here housed in a massive, 12.3-inch touch display above the centre console. You also get a fully digital (and configurable) instrument cluster. There’s also a new head-up display, which can provide 3D graphics and additional content. And you can relax with massaging seats, four-zone climate control, a Panorama glass sunroof, and a Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound system.
Elsewhere, the new BMW X5 continues the car industry’s slow march towards autonomous vehicles with a host of drive-assistance functions. There’s a package that gives you an active cruise control system that’ll even stop and start for you if you hit traffic. There’s steering and lane control assist, and evasion aid. And, if you really get into a mess, this is the first BMW to feature emergency stop assistant, which brakes the vehicle automatically and steers it to the side of the road.
Production has already begun on the new BMW X5, with the first models coming to market at the end of the year.
What do you reckon? A worthy update to BMW’s best-selling SUV?