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You might not like to admit it, but the BMW X5 is a damn good car.

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  • Better in pretty much every area and thus even more complete than before
  • Top Gear wildcard

    Don’t like the image that goes with large luxury SUVs? Buy the even more impressive BMW 5-Series Touring, then

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What is it?

Oi, stand back, world: there’s an all-new BMW X5 and it’s coming through, now. Bigger, bolder and brasher than before, it’s fortunately also better: for all the issues you may have with image by association, this is a very good car.

There are bound to be sportier versions coming (sorry, M die-hards): the fact BMW’s rolling out the tri-turbo M50d right from the start is telling. The best-sellers will remain the regular diesels though, now offered in rear-drive four-cylinder sDrive25d and 4WD xDrive30d guise. There’s a petrol too but, seriously, no matter how much greener it is, no more than a handful will even entertain it over here in the UK.


Damn, the new X5 is good to drive. Perhaps not quite as overtly sporty as the last one.. But as an overall package, it really does take some beating, with a measured ride, crisp handling and near-total confidence in all weathers and all remotely road-based surfaces. To really venture a long way off-road you’ll still need a Range Rover, but for most people the BMW will probably suffice.

That 381bhp tri-turbo M50d is very amusing and very immediate, with barely believable surge given its economy figures. But the xDrive30d, now with 258bhp, still does 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds, so is perfectly quick enough in its own right. More refinement only adds to the appeal.

On the inside

BMW really pored over every aspect of the old X5 in order to make sure this one was better in every way. It’s now calmer inside, appreciably more hushed and smooth, while a subtle repackaging means there’s more space and flexibility. There’s still a seven-seat version and this is that bit easier to use: even more of a viable family-focused people carrier.

But it’s the generally higher quality of everything you see, touch and hear that’s the most overriding impression. Every screen, lever and button now works faster, smoother and better than before. The leather, textiles and other materials look and feel tighter, softer. It’s all just nicer and more welcoming.


All BMW X5s are, naturally, pretty sprightly things on the road: the 3.0-litre diesel now breaks the seven-second mark to 62mph. But it can also return over 45mpg too, in that typically barely creditable BMW way. The 2.0-litre sDrive25d version is even better; trade a bit of speed and refinement (oh yes, and two cylinders) for 50mpg and 149g/km. Buy now and BMW will tempt you with more options than before, enhancing all areas from outside, to within, to suspension, to steering. Necessary? No. The standard one is a fine thing.

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Latest road tests

5/10 BMW X5 sDrive 25d M Sport driven
October 2014
6/10 BMW X5 M50d driven
April 2014
8/10 BMW X5 xDrive 30d Driven
October 2013
7/10 BMW X5 4.0d SE
June 2010

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