Good first attempt but held back from greatness
July 31, 2017
This review is for the non-M-package X5 40e.
Good first attempt at a Hybrid SUV for BMW but needs refinement to reach greatness.
If your commute is around 12 miles a trip with a charger at each stop you can theoretically never fill up with gas which is a fantastic proposition. I've managed 41mpg (870 miles with one tank), but I've also managed 26mpg when I had to mix in a lot of highway driving (I drive very conservatively).
The 4-cylinder turbo is a far cry from anything VW group makes - a coarse almost dieselesque feeling unrefined 4-cylinder that could benefit from more horsepower and smoother operation for this 70k 5000lbs+ beast. Keep this thing charged to benefit from the additional punch from the electric motor to keep it moving at an acceptable pace.
On the topic of charging, it definitely is on the slower end of the spectrum.
The suspension needs to be honed in, the additional weight of this car due to the battery coupled with the soft suspension creates a tidal wave effect when going over uneven surfaces and the body roll in the twisties is more than BMW should have ever allowed.
The seats are best suited for small trips, after an hour of driving they get uncomfortable and I find myself shifting around a lot to find comfort.
Both exterior and especially interior are showing their age, although a very handsome exterior it's definitely time for the update that's around the corner.
The i-drive system is the best it's ever been, unfortunately BMW's slightly convoluted HVAC system isn't the best one on the market, VW/Audi are the masters of cold and hot air on demand from my experience. The amount of noise in relation to the amount of cooling and heating you get in the X5 is off...by a lot.
Rear seat room is great, cargo space is good, even though you give up some trunk volume due to the battery it hasn't affected me negatively one bit. The tailgate I absolutely love having, as a photographer it's been awesome to be able to work out of my trunk when needed.
The car is a good lease option for anyone in the market that needs an X5 and wants to capitalize on the hybrid benefits.
Here's hoping the next gen addresses the issues and I'm sure they'll have a winner on their hands.