2018 BMW X5 M

2018 BMW X5 M Review

Big enough for family, fast enough for jail, the BMW X5 M has a brilliant split personality.
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2018 BMW X5 M handles everyday SUV duty with comfort, style and refinement. It's also ridiculously fast and cuts winding roads like a knife. How fast? It dashes from zero to 60 mph in 4 seconds flat, a shade faster than BMW's iconic M4 sport coupe. Now wondering whether you need an SUV that makes more than 500 horsepower or reaches a top speed of 160 mph misses the point. It's best to just marvel at a machine that can take you for both a sedate run to Costco, or to county jail for excessive speed, with such ease.

But the X5 M isn't just about making an SUV out of a high-performance sport sedan. Its roomy cabin is richly appointed with quality leather and user-friendly technology; the tall ride height gives a commanding view of the road; and the cargo area, while not cavernous, ranks with those of other SUVs in its class. Let this assuage any feelings of frivolous indulgence if you're considering the X5 M as a family car.

That's not to say it's the best choice, however. Given its performance bias, the X5 M's suspension is tuned firm for superb handling. It's not rock hard, but some passengers will notice. The interior leaks more wind and road noise than SUVs at this price should. There's no third-row seat, and the X5 M costs significantly more than the top "regular" X5 model, the X5 xDrive50i. But if you like cars that breathe fire and come nearly loaded (this being a BMW, there are still plenty of costly options available), the X5 M is one of the best picks in its class.



What's new for 2018

The BMW X5 M heads into 2018 with no significant changes. Last year's Driver Assistance Plus package has been eliminated, with most of its features absorbed into the Executive package.

We recommend

The BMW X5 M is available in only one feature-loaded trim, so there's not much to recommend. This is a BMW, however, so there are several other option boxes you can check, and the most appealing might be the Executive package. Highlights include ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, wireless smartphone charging, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a host of driver safety aids. It's a pricey package, but it's packed with details that will make the X5 M that much more enjoyable. Heck, while you're at it, add the Bang & Olufsen upgraded sound system, which can only be ordered with the Executive package.




Trim levels & features

The 2018 BMW X5 M is a high-performance midsize luxury SUV with seating for five. It's offered in a single trim level. As with any BMW, a bundle of options offer further personalization. Several are grouped into the useful Executive package, while most are stand-alone items.

The X5 M is powered by a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine (567 hp, 553 pound-feet of torque) paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Standard features include 21-inch wheels, high-performance tires, adaptive suspension dampers, a rear air suspension, a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, front and rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, adaptive headlights, keyless entry and adaptive cruise control.

Interior highlights include heated front seats, 40/20/40-split folding rear seatbacks, four-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped dash, ambient cabin lighting, aluminum trim accents and a rearview camera.

Finally, standard tech features include a navigation system with a 10.2-inch touchscreen display with a touchpad-equipped controller, Bluetooth phone and audio, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, satellite and HD radio, and BMW's umbrella of smartphone-integrated connected services called Connected Drive.

Considering all that standard equipment, the X5 M has a short options list. The Executive package includes adaptive LED headlights, power-closing doors, a heated steering wheel, rear side window shades, a head-up information display, wireless smartphone charging and a Wi-Fi hotspot. A suite of driver safety features also comes with the package and includes forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, surround-view cameras and a self-parking system.

Stand-alone options include 20-inch wheels, aluminum-look exterior trim, a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, Apple CarPlay compatibility, night vision with pedestrian detection, and a rear-seat entertainment system with dual screens.



Driving

The X5 M thinks it's a sports car. In fact, its handling prowess is such that you'll need to take it to a racetrack to fully understand just how hard the sticky performance tires, huge brakes, adaptive suspension and rear-biased AWD system will allow you to push this SUV.

Acceleration

Acceleration is impressive. The V8 produces immense torque from about 2,500 rpm and just takes off. The run from 0 to 60 mph takes just 4 seconds. The X5 M just goes and keeps going until you run out of road.

Braking

The brake pedal has a pleasant and relatively normal feel to it. Jump on it, though, and the X5 M will slow from 60 mph in just 104 feet. That's impressively short for an SUV.

Handling

The X5 M has incredibly quick turn-in, and there's a ton of grip from the tires. It's sports car performance in an SUV body.

Comfort

The cabin appointments are first-rate, and the X5 M comports itself well on the road. The ride quality is quite stiff, but otherwise there are few faults to be found.

Interior

Richly appointed and easy on the eyes, the cabin is a well-engineered space.

Ease of use

The controls are logically laid out and easy to access. The X5 M's knob-based multimedia system (iDrive) is preferable to many touchscreen-based systems.

Getting in/getting out

Ingress is, ironically, severely hampered by the running board extensions, which are too narrow to be useful. It's also a rather large step up into the cabin.

Driving position

Finding a suitable driving position will be easy for most drivers. The memory settings allow multiple drivers to save their preferences. The X5 M offers a tall, commanding view of the road.

Roominess

Lots of headroom and plenty of space to sprawl out, both up front and in back.

Visibility

The driver enjoys a great view ahead and to the sides, but the substantial rear pillars block the view over the shoulder. Good thing there's a backup camera.

Quality

The panels fit with consistent gaps; no squeaks or rattles were to be found; and the interior oozes quality. This is a well-made SUV.

Utility

The X5 M's prodigious power is often the focus of discussion, but it's still a proper SUV from all the right angles. It offers up to 76 cubic feet of cargo space and can tow up 5,952 pounds.

Technology

BMW's iDrive dial controller remains a benchmark for intuitive operation of in-car tech. It makes breezy work of navigating through menus and preferences. Standard and optional audio systems are excellent. Note: The most common driver safety aids are bundled in the pricey Executive package.

Audio & navigation

Navigation comes standard and is made more useful with the iDrive controller and a 10.2-inch touchscreen display. You can't go wrong with either the stock Harman Kardon 16-speaker sound system or the optional Bang & Olufsen upgrade.

Smartphone integration

BMW ConnectedDrive is a comprehensive package of services and features, ranging from remote locking and unlocking to emergency collision notification. Many features can be controlled from a smartphone app. Apple CarPlay is available as an option.

Driver aids

Most expected safety and convenience aids are here — blind-spot and lane departure warnings, forward collision alert, parking sensors, for example — but most are bundled in the pricey Executive package. Many competitors and even lower-priced SUVs and crossovers offer the same features standard.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.