BMW’s redesigned 2019 X5 SUV is part of a crowded class of luxury and near-luxury SUVs offering quality comfort and technology to shoppers, but as BMW focuses on improvements in those areas the X5 becomes less of a BMW at heart. What price cushiness?
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According to Cars.com reviewer Aaron Bragman, the cost comes in the form of a very non-BMW driving experience.
“The surprise of the new X5 comes behind the wheel,” writes Bragman. “Despite the promise of being the Ultimate Driving Machine — a tagline BMW has used for decades now (and which most enthusiasts decry is no longer applicable to most of the company’s products) — the X5’s driving experience is numb and isolated. The powertrain isn’t the problem; the X5’s base engine is a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder pumping out a very healthy 335 horsepower and 330 pounds-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic and featuring standard all-wheel drive. Its acceleration is impressive: BMW reports a zero-to-60-mph sprint of 5.3 seconds, which we believe given the responsiveness of the throttle and the G-forces it generates when pressed. Braking is also strong; I thought it had excellent firmness, plenty of pedal feedback and a confidence-inspiring feel, though a couple of our editors who drove a different xDrive40i cited mushy pedal feel and nonlinearity, possibly associated with the by-wire nature of the braking system.
“The problem comes with the steering. It’s almost completely numb, with very little in the way of feel or feedback. Its steering ratio is decently quick, which helps the big X5 change direction smartly, but there’s no joy in the driving experience. Making a bad situation worse, the automatic-steering safety systems, such as lane keep assist, constantly adjust the wheel in your hands. So not only does the steering not provide any feedback, it’s also not doing what you want it to do. It’s frenetic and doesn’t inspire any confidence in the driving experience. I tried shutting off all the safety minders and still found the wheel inexplicably dancing in my hands, making me wonder if the cold weather during my drive wasn’t playing havoc with BMW’s steering systems. Regardless, the experience of driving an X5 is not that of an athletic or sporty SUV like you’d find in an Alfa Romeo Stelvio or even the latest Mercedes-Benz GLE, both of which have exceptional handling properties and outstanding steering feedback.”
Bragman’s 2019 BMW X5 review is our most popular review of the past week and can be found below.
Our most popular videos of the week feature some perennial favorites, with a few familiar faces rejoining the bunch. Providing valuable information about a popular and highly competitive class of vehicles, the results of our 2019 Compact SUV Challenge once again top the charts. Our helpful instructional video for driving a manual transmission car moves up a spot to second place, and our First Impressions of the 2020 Ford Explorer ST jumps up two places to third. New for this week are our video of the wild 2018 Hennessey VelociRaptor 6×6 in fourth, while our head-to-head comparison of the new 2019 Ford Ranger with the 2018 Toyota Tacoma rounds out the list.
Check out the top five reviews and videos of the week below.
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