Competes with: Audi Q7, Volvo XC90, Land Rover Discovery, Mercedes-Benz GLE
Looks like: A slightly sharper-edged evolution of the previous generation (but still echoing the look of pretty much every other new BMW)
Drivetrain: 335-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder; 456-hp, twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8; both mated to an eight-speed automatic
Hits dealerships: November 2018
BMW has redone its X5 mid-size SUV to add a little more of almost everything — size, horsepower and most of all, fancier technology — to keep pace in the intense competition to feed the growing demand for luxury SUVs of all shapes and sizes. (Already this week, Audi unveiled another new SUV model, the Q8 coupe-SUV.)
The fourth generation of the popular BMW SUV will launch in November with the X5 xDrive 40i and the X5 xDrive 50i all-wheel-drive models featuring an inline six-cylinder engine and V-8, respectively. The current 2018 X5 line also includes a rear-drive, six-cylinder base model, as well as all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid and diesel versions. The announcement does not detail other versions likely to be available for 2019, nor does it specify pricing (the 2018 starts in the $60,000 neighborhood and climbs from there).
The 2019 X5 is on a wheelbase that's 1.6 inches longer and is slightly bigger overall at 1.1 inches longer, 2.6 inches wider and 1 inch taller. It looks most different than the 2018 — and more rugged — in the front, with a larger version of the kidney grille (now more like two pieces of toast), slimmer adaptive LED headlights, and a more sculpted hood and bumper.
The rear retains more of the 2018's look, and it also retains the familiar two-piece tailgate, now available with power hands-free operation for both sections.
An available M Sport appearance package adds more aggressive wheel openings and bumper trim, gloss-black accents and larger 20-inch wheels (up from standard 19s).
The updated interior also still looks familiar, with some sharper angles. New features include four-zone air conditioning and a bigger panoramic moonroof. Ambient lighting is standard.
The 2019s available at launch will have five seats; an optional third row with power controls will be available later. And a feature we can't wait to see and try is an optional cargo-area package coming later that includes a cargo-area cover that can be electronically lowered to store in the cargo floor.
The new X5's dashboard features a pair of 12.3-inch screens, BMW's largest to date. One is a touchscreen for the new-generation iDrive multimedia system and controls and the other for a configurable instrument display. The multimedia system also has the familiar iDrive controller on the console and voice control. Personal settings are stored in the cloud, and the system also has a 20-gigabyte hard drive.
Buyers get four years of BMW's connected services that include remote services as well as parking and traffic information. The BMW app allows the usual remote commands, plus importing of appointments and destinations into the navigation system.
The available premium audio is a 20-speaker, 1,500-watt Bowers & Wilkins system, and the X5 also will be available with a rear-seat entertainment Professional system with a pair of 10.2-inch HD touchscreens, Blu-ray DVD player and a full range of ports. The system also can display the navigation map.
Under the Hood
The X5 gasoline engines are tweaked for a bit more horsepower. The 40i's turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six now puts out 335 horsepower, up from 300. BMW says it will propel the roughly two-and-a-half-ton X5 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. The 50i's twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 is rated at 456 hp and BMW estimates 4.6 seconds to 60 mph. Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and an improved version of BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system is standard for the launch models.
Also standard is an adaptive suspension. A sportier suspension upgrade with an electronic rear differential is offered, as is an off-road package option that includes self-leveling air suspension with ride height variation and an electronic locking rear differential. An M suspension option includes roll stabilization and active rear steering.
Maximum towing capacity with a BMW factory hitch is 7,209 pounds.
Standard safety and driver-aid tech for 2019 include a blind spot monitor, lane departure alert, a rear collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and a front collision system with automatic braking and pedestrian and bicycle detection.
An optional upgrade adds stop-and-go adaptive cruise control as well as Traffic Jam Assist with extended hands-off-the-wheel time. It also adds front cross-traffic alert, and a lane-keeping assist with automatic lane change (press the turn signal and the car changes lanes when there is an opening). The system also initiates evasive steering if a vehicle or pedestrian appears in the vehicle's path. For the first time on the X5, the optional system includes an emergency assist where a driver in medical distress can pull the parking brake switch and the car will come to a stop — off the road if possible — turn on the flashers and call for emergency assistance.
An available parking system will parallel park the X5 and a parking backup assist will back the car out of a tight space in the same path (stored in the car's memory) that was last used to drive forward into the space.
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