BMW’s first SUV, the X5, entered its third generation for the 2014 model year. As with its immediate predecessor, the X5 leans more toward the luxury side of the spectrum, with a well-appointed interior, wide array of standard and available features, and plenty of space for first- and second-row passengers. The available third-row seat expands passenger capacity to seven, but space there is limited, and the seat eats up cargo space when deployed.
A range of BMW’s excellent I-6 and V-8 engines is available, with a 3.0L diesel I-6 providing reasonable power and fuel efficiency for such a large vehicle. In fact, the standard 3.0L turbocharged gas I-6 is able to equal some of its diesel-powered competitors in fuel efficiency. However, things take a downward bent with either of the available twin-turbo V-8 powertrains, which get rather poor fuel economy.
The benefit to that inefficiency is loads of power. In particular, the X5 M is a willing partner for high-speed cruising, and it handles very well in most situations. However, it’s not appreciably faster than the much cheaper Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.
With a range of powertrains (and price points), there’s a lot to like about the X5. Its trademark BMW smoothness and power/efficiency balance (at least with the I-6 engines) make it a compelling proposition.