2018 BMW X5

Compare insurance prices:
Save an average of $440
Free Quote

2018 BMW X5 Review: One Last Hoorah

by Gabe Beita Kiser

Once the forerunner in the segment, the now-aging BMW X5 has fallen behind the pack a little as rivals like the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class continue to fine-tune their entries to suit the market better. But, while the X5 may not be as big on the inside as these competitors, it's still just as luxurious. However, with modern buyers expecting more and more features as standard, the SUV's former focus on high performance over utility, and even handling, is not becoming painfully clear and it may be time for BMW to rethink their approach to the SUV segment in favor of a more family-oriented design. Still, with the not-too-modest starting price of $57,200, a choice of three stellar engines, and competitive fuel consumption, the BMW X5 isn't ready to tap out just yet.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 8 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 8 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 7 /10
What is BuzzScore?

2018 BMW X5 Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2017 X5?

The BMW X5 enters 2018 almost entirely unchanged. The wheel selection for specific models has been expanded to include the 21-inch M-style 599M wheels. Also, the transmission has been refined, and trapezoidal tailpipes are now standard on the 35i and 35d.

Pros and Cons

  • Choice of three powerful engines
  • Luxurious interior
  • Impressive fuel efficiency with diesel engine
  • Excellent safety rating
  • Optional third-row seat is terribly cramped
  • No standard smartphone integration
  • Unengaging handling
  • Ride quality is anything but premium

What's the Price of the 2018 BMW X5?

The base-model sDrive 35i has a starting MSRP of $57,200 while the xDrive variant will set you back an additional $2,300. Moving up to the xDrive only models, $61,000 will get you behind the wheel of the 35d, while the top-of-the-range 50i asks you to shell out $74,050 before you even think about some of the add-ons that modern buyers might view as essentials. These prices exclude tax, licensing, registration, and BMW's $995 destination fee.

Best Deals on 2018 BMW X5

2018 BMW X5 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
3.0L Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Diesel
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
xDrive40e iPerformance Plug-In Hybrid
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
4.4L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2018 BMW X5 Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

With its impressive array of engines and its stylish design, both inside and out, you wouldn't be wrong to expect a great deal from the BMW X5. And, in many ways, it delivers on these promises. Every engine supplies impressive acceleration and excellent top speeds, and these factors certainly do their part to deliver an enjoyable driving experience.

Unfortunately, really immersing yourself in this experience is almost impossible. One of the main reasons for this is the mute steering, which tells you absolutely nothing about what the overly large wheels are doing. But, naturally, the steering is still very accurate, despite its unadventurous nature. This precision takes a hit at lower speeds, however, making the SUV feel mulish around the parking lot. The brakes are a bit more cooperative, quickly responding to pumps of the pedal. Sadly, the tires are a little less suited to quick braking, losing traction rather than helping slow the X5 down.

The BMW also fails to impress when it comes to handling. Don't get us wrong, for a vehicle of its size, it's still quite nimble, but it doesn't live up to the promise of such a prestigious brand or premium-level price tag. It takes corners with adequate poise, but none of the sporty grace that the German manufacturer is renowned for. Now all of this would be forgivable, given that this is a luxury, family-oriented SUV and not a sports car… but it fails to deliver in that area too. Ride quality is pretty appalling for such a luxury brand, especially when you consider how good the interior looks and how comfortable the seats are. Unfortunately, even the plush appointments can't save passengers from being rattled as the SUV hurtles over choppier road surfaces. And the chassis does a pretty poor job of dampening the noise of the road or the throaty engines. Luckily, the soundtrack of said engines is a pleasant one.

Verdict: Is the 2018 BMW X5 A Good SUV?

The BMW X5 SUV is a case of you win some, you lose some. The array of potent engines on offer each deliver class-leading acceleration and top speed figures, and the turbodiesel option is one of the most economical in the segment. The transmission is beautifully refined, and the interior of the cabin is luxurious and as stylish as the exterior. Cargo space is a little below the class leaders, but still more than enough for any daily-driver, and the fold-down seats offer a bit of extra customization.

There is plenty of space for passengers, too, with the five seats supplying ample head and legroom; and, the seats are dressed to the nines in the plushest of upholstery. You can also opt to install a third row of seating, but you would need to think long and hard before making such a decision as the cabin simply wasn't designed to capitalize on this option.

But once you look past the surface, and the impressive engine output figures, you start to see that not all that shines is gold. The engine might get you going at break-neck speeds in the blink of an eye, but the uncommunicative steering may very well lead to a broken neck if you get overconfident. This is even more likely when you take into account how limited the standard safety features are for a car that claims to be a luxury family SUV. At least the infotainment is a bit better-equipped, if only slightly. Apple CarPlay doesn't come standard, and Android Auto isn't offered at all.

This is still a great car, even though it may not be as well-rounded as some rivals, like the Audi Q7 or Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class. Still, the X5 bests them in some areas by sacrificing in others, and it comes down to where you, as the buyer, place the most value. The BMW X5 should definitely make your shortlist, but it wouldn't hurt to consider the alternatives.

What BMW X5 Model Should I Buy?

While it offers slightly less horsepower than the standard turbocharged gasoline six-cylinder 35i, the xDrive35d delivers higher torque figures, identical handling dynamics, and much better fuel economy. The list of features and infotainment remains unchanged between the two trims, but you will have to pay $1,500 more for the diesel-powered model. This is a small investment to make for the long-term savings in fuel economy. Considering that the next trim, the 50i, is over $10,000 more expensive, the 35d is definitely the most well-rounded choice.

Check out other BMW X5 Styles

2018 BMW X5 Comparisons

Audi Q7 Audi
Volvo XC90 Volvo

2018 BMW X5 vs Audi Q7

With slightly larger dimensions, and a longer wheelbase, the Q7 is better-equipped to handle its standard third-row seat, but it's still not overly spacious inside as a result. Where the interior is definitely better equipped than the BMW is in the tech and safety features on offer, while still maintaining competitive trunk space. The Audi has everything the modern buyer could ask for, all for a lower starting price than the BMW. The X5 does offer more engine options with better overall performance figures, but it's outdone by the Q7 in terms of handling. Overall, the Audi is a more well-rounded competitor than the X5, with better handling and an array of features inside the cabin to really make the ride as enjoyable as possible.

See Audi Q7 Review

2018 BMW X5 vs Volvo XC90

Volvo has definitely been gunning for the top position with its XC90 in terms of performance and handling, all designed to unseat the German podium holder. Luckily for Volvo, the X5 is getting a bit long in the tooth now, so the Swedish upstart is certainly nipping at its heels. The XC90 handles beautifully, and it oozes elegance and style. Its engines are nothing to write home about, sadly, and it doesn't offer an overly impressive list of features as standard. Cargo space is also a bit limited thanks to the standard third row of seats, but it doesn't suffer too much from being cramped inside, which is nice for such a well-appointed model. Still, the lower starting price and marginally better fuel economy certainly make the Volvo look good beside the luxury competition. However, with a new BMW X5 planned for 2019, you may want to consider looking at the new kid on the block before switching teams.

To Top