- Strong performance from every model
- Luxurious and comfortable cabin that lives up to its price tag
- Optional diesel engine is as potent as it is efficient
- A long list of optional features allows for a wide range of customization
- Less legroom in the second row compared to some of its competitors
- Optional third-row seats are tight even for children
The BMW X5 wasn't the first luxury SUV, but it has been around long enough to solidify its position as one of the best in its class. The 2017 BMW X5 lineup continues the evolution by satisfying all of the comfort and convenience requirements demanded by families and pleasing drivers with strong performance and an engaging driving experience.
All of this excellence does come at a cost, however, and the X5 starts at well over $56,000. The value proposition is challenged by its relatively cramped and optional third row of seats. Even with these drawbacks taken into account, the X5's strengths are substantial enough to maintain a solid Edmunds A rating.
The 2017 BMW X5 isn't the newest luxury SUV in its class, though; some rivals have introduced recent updates making the class more competitive than ever. The Audi Q7 is one of the more notable competitors and has also garnered a top rating, as has the Porsche Cayenne. SUVs such as the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class and Volvo XC90 are also worth your attention, depending on your needs and sensibilities.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2017
For 2017, there are only minor changes to the BMW X5. It gains a Wi-Fi hot spot and a wireless charging pad but loses the Active Steering (four-wheel) option.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2017 BMW X5 is a midsize luxury SUV that is available in 35i, 35d, 40e and 50i trim levels. All have all-wheel drive (xDrive) except for the 35i, which comes standard with rear-wheel drive (sDrive). A high-performance X5 M variant is reviewed separately. There is seating for five passengers, and an optional third-row seat increases capacity to seven.
Standard features for the 35i and 35d models include 19-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, LED foglights, power-folding and heated mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, a power liftgate, and front and rear parking sensors.
On the inside, you get dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, premium vinyl upholstery, 14-way power-adjustable and heated front seats and driver memory functions, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, BMW Assist emergency telematics, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, a 10.2-inch central display screen, BMW's iDrive technology interface, a navigation system with real-time traffic information, voice controls, and a nine-speaker sound system with a CD player, USB and auxiliary audio inputs, and HD radio.
The xDrive40e plug-in hybrid includes all of the above, along with adjustable suspension dampers and rear air suspension (optional on all other X5s), along with hybrid-specific instrumentation and additional iDrive menu items.
The X5 xDrive50i includes all of the features found in the 35i along with keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, 16-way power front seats, four-zone climate control, a rearview camera, 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system and satellite radio.
Options include the Luxury, xLine and M Sport equipment lines that have different wheel designs (up to 20 inches), color schemes, and trim and upholstery types. The M Sport also includes sport front seats and shift paddles for the transmission.
Other bundled options include the Premium package for all but the 50i (keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, four-zone climate control, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot and a wireless charging pad), the Luxury Seating package (the multicontour front seats, ventilated seats) and the Cold Weather package (a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats).
The Driver Assistance package adds a rearview camera and a head-up display to 35i and 35d models and is a prerequisite for the Driver Assistance Plus package (adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera and a suite of advanced safety features). The Dynamic Handling package for xDrive models adds an enhanced all-wheel-drive system and a body-roll mitigation feature for improved road holding. The Lighting package bundles upgraded adaptive LED headlights and automatic high-beam headlight control.
Other options for the 2017 BMW X5 include a sportier adaptive M suspension (not available on the 40e), automated parking assistance, soft-close automatic doors, upgraded and/or extended leather upholstery, upgraded interior trim, smartphone app integration, and manual sunshades for the rear windows. All X5s except the hybrid can be equipped with second-row comfort seats (with fore/aft and recline adjustment) and a third-row seat (includes the rear air suspension). You can also order a deluxe Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system, a rear-seat entertainment system and a night-vision camera system.
INTERIOR & SAFETY
If you've been in any current BMW vehicle, the look, feel and function of the 2017 X5 will be very familiar, and that's a good thing. High-quality materials abound, and everything gives the impression of top-notch build quality. The standard seats are well shaped and appropriately cushioned for long-distance comfort. The available 16-way multicontour seats are some of the most comfortable in any car. Second-row seats are also comfortable, although there's slightly less legroom compared with some direct competitors. The same goes for the optional third row; it is cramped even for children.
Primary driver controls and gauges are thoughtfully placed and easy to read and operate. BMW's iDrive control interface takes some getting used to, but in short time the menus become second nature, aided by the touchpad on the controller dial that accepts handwritten inputs.
Cargo capacity is slightly above average for the class, with 35.8 cubic feet of space behind the second row and 76.7 cubic feet with those seats folded. The xDrive40e's battery pack reduces that volume slightly to 34.2 and 72.5 cubic feet, respectively. The X5 also gets points for its two-section power liftgate with its fold-down lower section that provides a handy place to sit for tailgating as well as assisting in loading bulky cargo.
Standard safety features for all 2017 BMW X5 models include stability and traction control, antilock brakes, automatic brake drying, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, active head restraints, and the BMW Assist and Remote Services emergency telematics. All xDrive versions also include hill descent control.
The optional Driver Assistance package adds a rearview camera and a head-up display, while the Driver Assistance Plus package adds to those items blind-spot monitoring, a top-down camera system, lane departure warning, speed limit info, and a forward collision warning and mitigation system with pedestrian detection that can apply the vehicle's brakes automatically to prevent or minimize an impact at low speeds.
In Edmunds brake testing, the X5 xDrive35i required 122 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph, which is an average distance for the class. In government crash tests, the X5 received five out of five stars for overall, front- and side-crash protection, and four stars for rollover protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the X5 its top score of Good for the moderate-overlap front-impact and side-impact crash tests. A top Superior rating was also given for the optional forward collision mitigation system.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
Powering 2017 BMW X5 35i models is a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels for the sDrive 35i and to all four wheels on all the xDrive models.
The EPA estimates the sDrive35i's fuel economy at 21 mpg combined (18 city/25 highway) and the xDrive35i at 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway). These estimates are about average among competing SUVs and were confirmed on our standardized evaluation drive route. In Edmunds performance testing, an X5 xDrive35i accelerated from zero to 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds, which is quick for the class.
The xDrive35d uses with a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine that produces 255 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. BMW estimates it will reach 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. Fuel economy estimates aren't available, but the 2016 35d model was rated at 25 mpg combined (23 city/29 highway).
The BMW X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid model combines a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor paired with a modified eight-speed automatic transmission and a 9-kWh battery pack under the cargo bay floor. Combined power output is 308 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. BMW claims the hybrid will reach 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and deliver 14 miles of electric-only propulsion. It should take just under three hours to charge fully at 240 volts. The EPA rates this model at 56 mpg equivalent in gas/electric mode and 24 mpg combined on gas only.
The xDrive50i utilizes a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that produces 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. BMW estimates it will reach 60 mph in only 4.9 seconds, and the EPA estimates fuel economy at 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway).
Properly equipped, non-hybrid versions of the X5 can tow up to 6,000 pounds.
The 2017 BMW X5 distinguishes itself from competing SUVs by delivering excellent handling that inspires confidence no matter what kind of driving you do. As a result, the ride quality is a bit stiffer than that of rivals and can feel a little busy on broken pavement, but at no time does it feel objectionably firm. For the smoothest ride, go with the standard wheel and tire combinations instead of the larger options. Road and wind noise is more prevalent than you'd expect for the class but not intrusive.
For the vast majority of drivers, the base 35i six-cylinder engine provides more than enough power. Upgrading to the xDrive50i's V8 will probably feel like overkill for all but the most power-hungry drivers, and at that point, the high-performance X5 M is a more intriguing alternative. We're more partial to the xDrive35d's diesel powerplant that delivers a healthy wallop of torque for authoritative acceleration while still returning admirable fuel efficiency.
The 2017 BMW X5 remains one of the top picks in the very competitive midsize luxury SUV class. Strong performance, a luxurious cabin and an efficient diesel engine option help distinguish it from its accomplished rivals.