BMW’s elegant but athletic X5 sport utility vehicle is a car that can take you deep into the Cascades on a forest service road with confidence, and in the time it takes to drive through a car wash, deliver you in style to a country club wedding in Bellevue.
The X5 luxury midsize SUV is 100 percent remodeled for 2019, with new engines, updated styling, bigger dimensions, and abundant technology.
Two X5 versions are available for 2019: the xDrive40i and the xDrive50i, with new BMW twin-turbo engines. A 335-horsepower inline six-cylinder powers the xDrive40i, and a 456-horsepower V8 is the driving force for the xDrive50i. Torque ratings are 332 pound-feet and 480 pound-feet, respectively.
Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive and an electronically controlled locking rear differential are standard.
Base pricing including a $995 destination charge is $61,695 for the xDrive40i and $76,745 for the xDrive50i.
My tester was the X5 xDrive40i, whose ability to go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 exciting seconds muddies any argument for the V8 engine unless track driving is a consideration. Fuel economy ratings for the six-cylinder engine are 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. The V8 reduces those numbers significantly, to 17/22/19 mpg.
X5’s handling on any road is precise and fluid, and with the tester’s M Sport brakes (a $650 option) stopping is especially quick and controlled. Driving dynamics selections for the driver include Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport.
An expanded number of standard driver assistance technologies on the new X5 includes a lane departure warning system that startled me at first when it forcefully steered the car away from the line when I wasn’t even that close. It was overreacting, if you ask me, and even while driving in a straight line in the middle of the lane I could feel it making tiny adjustments back and forth, itching to make another violent correction. It was like riding on a luge. After a little research on the BMW’s iDrive vehicle control system, I found the place where the lane departure warning could be adjusted to several different levels of sensitivity. Someone who apparently enjoys driving while drowsy had set it at the highest alert level. I toned it down a couple of notches and then everything was perfect.
The iDrive system, which also controls infotainment and connectivity features, has a new 12.3-inch touchscreen with a handy and friendly rotary knob on the center console. The system contains a seemingly unlimited number of features that can be customized for each driver, but the whole system is amazingly intuitive. BMW’s original iDrive was impossibly confusing. 2019 marks the iDrive’s seventh iteration, and although it’s more sophisticated and all-encompassing than ever, it is a snap to use. Thank you, BMW.
The standard interior configuration of the X5 is two rows, with seating for five. When second row seats are upright, rear cargo space is 33.9 cubic feet. A third row seat, suitable mainly for car-loving canines or small children, is available as an extra-cost option. If a third row is installed, second row seats will have electric fore-and-aft adjustment, to make third row access easier.
The 2019 X5 xDrive40i cabin embodies the solid, superlative craftsmanship BMW is well known for. Quietness and comfort are a given. Standard features such as 16-way power front seats, ambient lighting (with several different color options) and a panoramic moonroof enhance the atmosphere along with an optional ($875) Harman Kardon surround sound audio system. Center console cupholders with heating and cooling put enjoyment over the top.
2019 BMW X5 xDRIVE40i
Base price, including destination charge: $61,695
Price as driven: $73,980
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.