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2018 BMW X5

$57,200 - $74,050
Price Range (MSRP)
BMW X5

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.

2018 BMW X5 Changes: What’s the difference vs 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

X5 Exterior

Riding on either 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels, the chassis is slimmed down by its sleek lines and sharp bi-xenon headlights. The dual kidney grille is more subtle than the grilles of most rivals, and the standard fog lights sit quite high up in the lower bumper. The rear lights break over the liftgate with an extra brake light bar integrated into the rear roof spoiler. 21-inch wheels are available on the top-most trim.

2018 BMW X5 Front View
2018 BMW X5 Rear View
2018 BMW X5 Rear View
See All 2018 BMW X5 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The BMW X5 doesn't stand out from the crowd in terms of its size. At 193.2 inches long, 76.3 inches wide, and 69.4 inches high, the SUV is quite average, with only a rare few, like the Audi Q7 measuring longer. With a starting weight of 4,625 pounds on the sDrive 35i, the BMW is quite average for the segment, being about 100 lbs lighter than the entry-level Q7. The xDrive variant weighs 110 lbs more. The heaviest model is the xDrive 50i, with a cumbersome weight of 5,095 lbs. This is on par with similar luxury SUVs at their highest trim levels.

Exterior Colors

When dressing your luxury SUV, you can choose from a selection of fourteen possible colors. The standard non-metallic options comprise Alpine White and Jet Black. The metallic palette includes Carbon Black, Black Sapphire, Space Gray, Glacier Silver, Imperial Blue, Dark Graphite, Mineral White, Sparkling Brown, Atlas Cedar, Azurite Black, Pearl Silver, and Ruby Black. The last three options are part of BMW's Individual trim, and certain other colors may be exclusive to specific trim and interior color combinations.

  • Black Sapphire Metallic
  • Space Gray Metallic
  • Glacier Silver Metallic
  • Mineral White Metallic
  • Dark Graphite Metallic
  • Carbon Black Metallic
  • Imperial Blue Metallic
  • Sparkling Brown Metallic
  • Atlas Cedar Metallic
  • Azurite Black Metallic, Priority 1
  • Pearl Silver Metallic, Priority 1
  • Ruby Black Metallic, Priority 1
  • Alpine White
  • Jet Black

X5 Performance

With three engine options and two drivetrains, performance can vary quite a bit across the X5 range. The basic engine that comes with the entry-level 35i is the 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder that delivers 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels, with optional four-wheel-drive. Rounding out the powertrain is an eight-speed automatic transmission. While there are more powerful engines out there, as well as the V8 available to the X5 50i, this basic setup is enough to propel the relatively bulky SUV to 60 mph in as little as 6.1 seconds. This is impressive, given the weight of the vehicle, but the Audi Q7, also equipped with its six-cylinder engine option, can achieve the same feat 0.4 of a second faster. You can expect the turbocharged V8 in the top-tier BMW X5 to perform even better, though.

Regardless of engine choice and drivetrain setup, the X5 is rated to tow up to 6,000 lbs of braked weight. And while it cannot tow more than this, the 35d, with its torquey diesel engine, can pull this modest amount around town without breaking a sweat.

2018 BMW X5 In Motion
2018 BMW X5 Rear View Driving
2018 BMW X5 4.4L V8 Turbo Engine

Engine and Transmission

A turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine powers both the rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive variants of the 35i. With 300 hp and 300 lb-ft at your fingertips, you will find getting around town or passing on the highway to be child's play. But the kind of fun you'll take away from this high-performance luxury SUV is definitely more adult-oriented.

The diesel-powered 35d sees a 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-six replacing the gasoline engine. This option will lose you 45 hp but gain a whopping 113 lb-ft, for a total of 255 hp and 413 lb-ft. While this means the high-end power suffers a little bit, you will find that the extremely potent mid-range acceleration more than makes up for it.

The final engine on offer is the throaty monstrosity that is the 4.4-liter turbocharged V8. Available only to the top-of-the-range 50i, this engine harnesses an impressive 445 hp and 480 lb-ft to deliver performance that is hard to match. With this much torque, you can easily overcome the 50i's extra 500 lbs of weight and still leave the lower-tier trims in the dust. And once you're up to speed, all those horses will keep you plowing down the highway with little effort.

Across the range, and with any engine or drivetrain choice, you will find your hand on the shifter of an eight-speed automatic gearbox. This transmission rows through the gears seamlessly, shifting up and down at the perfect moment to take full advantage of the power of each engine.

  • Engines
    3.0-liter Turbo Inline-6 Gas, 3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Diesel, 4.4-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

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.

X5 Gas Mileage

With three engines available, the X5's fuel consumption can vary significantly. The standard rear-wheel-drive 35i gets an EPA-estimated 18/25/21 mpg over the city/highway/combined cycles. Also burning premium gasoline, the four-wheel-drive 50i gets a less impressive 15/21/17 mpg with its thirsty V8. For optimal fuel consumption, you can opt for the diesel-powered engine, which gets 23/29/25 mpg. The standard setup gives pretty average fuel economy for the segment, with the Q7 matching the 35i's figures while the GLE gives slightly less. However, the optimal diesel setup gives very competitive figures, and diesel is cheaper than premium gasoline. With a 22.4-gallon tank available, the SUV can potentially cover 560 miles between refuels.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    22.4 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 18/25 mpg
* 2018 BMW X5 sDrive35i

X5 Interior

Inside the cabin, the BMW is as impressive as you'd expect from this premium German manufacturer. Without the optional third row, there is ample room for drivers and passengers. Unfortunately, great build quality aside, the X5 is starting to show its age. It lacks many of the standard features most buyers have come to expect from modern cars, with Apple CarPlay only available as an optional add-on, while Android Auto isn't offered at all. At least the controls look good, with their stylish ceramic finish, and they are quite ergonomically configured.

2018 BMW X5 Driver Area
2018 BMW X5 Driver Seat
2018 BMW X5 Dashboard Layout
See All 2018 BMW X5 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

As standard, the X5 can seat up to five passengers. There is plenty of both head and legroom for passengers of any size. The seats are also well-appointed for maximum comfort, which is good because the chassis doesn't handle road imperfections as well as you might hope. You can choose to have a third row of seats installed, but this ill-advised as they are not particularly comfortable and head and legroom provided for occupants are extremely limited. Ingress and egress are hindered by the awkward running boards and further compounded by the height of the step-in.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

The interior is exceptionally plush with only minimal hard plastics on display. Soft-touch surfaces abound, and even the standard vinyl upholstery is very comfortable. On the more opulent 50i, the vinyl is replaced with supple leather, while Nappa leather and Merino leather are available with optional interior packages. SensaTec vinyl is presented in Black, while leather is offered in either Terra, Mocha, Black, or two-tone Ivory White/Black or Canberra Beige/Black. Nappa leather is available in Mocha or Ivory White/Black, while Merino leather offers the choice of Nutmeg, Taupe, Criollo Brown, Amaro Brown, or Smoke White. Available interior trims comprise Poplar Wood, Brushed Aluminum, Fineline Oak Wood, Fineline Pure Textured Wood, Aluminum Hexagon, and Piano Black. Color options may be limited to specific trim levels and combinations with exterior paint colors.

X5 Trunk and Cargo Space

Cargo space in the BMW X5 is a bit on the low side compared to its rivals. Behind the rear seats, there is 35.8 cubic feet of space available in the X5, with the Audi Q7 supplying 35.7 and the Merc GLE offering 38.2. With the rear seats folded down, the BMW has a maximum capacity of 76.7 cubic feet. This is slightly more than the Q7 with all five rear seats folded down, and a little less than the Mercedes with its rear seats folded down. And, while the X5 may not outshine competitors, it still offers plenty of daily utility. You could easily fit luggage for five in the rear.

Inside the cabin, there is ample small-item storage capacity. The glove compartment and center console supply room for larger items, while the cupholders and door pockets are large enough for all your smaller items, water bottles, and cell phones.

2018 BMW X5 Rear View
2018 BMW X5 Side View
2018 BMW X5 In Motion

X5 Infotainment and Features

Features

Standard equipment on the base 35i comprises cruise control, dual-zone climate control, power accessories, a trip computer, auto-dimming mirrors, a rearview camera, parking assist, 14-way power front seats with power lumbar with driver-seat memory, and 40/20/40 split fold-down rear seats, heated front seats, and a power liftgate. Added with the 50i trim upgrade is four-zone climate control, keyless entry and ignition, as well as front and rear parking sensors. Available features include blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning.

Infotainment

The infotainment suite in the entry-level X5 comprises a 10.2-inch central display, navigation, a nine-speaker sound system with two subwoofers, AM/FM/CD/MP3 playback and Bluetooth compatibility. The upgraded system on the top-tier 50i includes SiriusXM and a 16-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system.

X5 Problems and Reliability

J.D. Power has awarded the X5 a dependability score of 84 out of 100. It was subjected to a recall in 2017 for faulty suspension bolts, and again in 2018 for a risk of fire from the charging cable. BMW offers a basic and drivetrain warranty valid for 50,000-miles/48-months, as well as a 36,000-mile/36-month maintenance plan. Roadside assistance is available for 48 months, with unlimited miles.

X5 Safety

The NHTSA has awarded the BMW X5 a five-star rating for safety. The IIHS only tested the vehicle for overlap front and side crash safety, for which it awarded SUV a top score of Good.

Key Safety Features

Standard safety features comprise a rearview camera, ABS brakes, brake assist, stability and traction control, and six airbags: dual front, front side, and side curtain. Features available as add-ons include front and rear parking assist, a collision warning system, lane-departure warning, and active blind-spot monitoring.

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'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.

2018 BMW X5 Models

The X5 range comprises three basic models, with the entry spec available in two drivetrain options; the 35i can be had as an sDrive (RWD), or xDrive (AWD), the mid-tier 35d (AWD), and the 50i (AWD).

Under the hood of the base-level 35i, you'll find a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder producing 300 hp and 300 lb-ft. A turbodiesel six-cylinder, also displacing 3.0 liters, delivering 255 hp and 413 lb-ft, is equipped in the 35d. The most powerful engine is found in the 50i, a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 that develops 445 hp and 480 lb-ft. Rowing through the gears on every model is an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Both the 35i and 35d come equipped with the same features. These include the choice of either 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, fog lights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, a panoramic glass sunroof, cruise control, 14-way power front seats with power lumbar adjustments, dual-zone climate control, power accessories, premium vinyl upholstery, a 10.2-inch central display, navigation, a nine-speaker sound system with two subwoofers and AM/FM/CD/MP3 playback, Bluetooth compatibility, a trip computer, a rearview camera, and parking assist.

Additional features added with the 50i comprise leather upholstery, four-zone climate control, keyless entry and ignition, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, Sirius XM, and front and rear parking sensors. The larger 21-inch alloy wheels are also available on the top-tier trim.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
sDrive35i
3.0-liter Turbo Inline-6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$57,200
xDrive35i
3.0-liter Turbo Inline-6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$59,500
xDrive35d
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Diesel
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$61,000
xDrive50i
4.4-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$74,050
See All 2018 BMW X5 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The Executive Package ($2,800) for the 35i adds automatic high beams, soft-close automatic doors, surround-view camera, parking assistant, adaptive LED lights, and a dynamic digital instrument cluster. Luxury Seating Package ($1,350) for the 35d comprises ventilated front seats, multi-contour seats, 20-way power driver's seat, 10-way power passenger seat, additional shoulder and thigh functions, lumbar support and two-way manual headrest. A Premium Package ($1,600) is available for the 50i and includes speed limit information, active driving assistant, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, pedestrian warning and city collision mitigation, active blind-spot detection, surround-view camera, parking assistant, and a heated steering wheel.

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

2018 BMW X5
2018 BMW X5

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.

See Volvo XC90 Review

BMW X5 Popular Comparisons

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