2018 BMW X5

2018 BMW X5 Review

Thanks to its well-rounded nature, the BMW X5 is a smart choice for a luxury crossover SUV.
4.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

The 2018 BMW X5 serves as a benchmark for the modern luxury performance crossover SUV. It impressively combines the attributes you normally associate with a BMW sedan and then adds true utility. A wide range of engine choices and trim packages ensures buyers can find the right configuration for their needs.

The X5 engine options include a turbocharged six-cylinder (300 horsepower, 300 pound-feet of torque), a diesel six-cylinder (255 hp, 413 lb-ft), a powerful V8 (445 hp, 480 lb-ft) and a plug-in hybrid (308 hp, 332 lb-ft). No matter what's under the hood, the X5 simultaneously provides a comfortable ride and sporty handling, and the X5's all-wheel-drive system provides extra traction in wet weather or the occasional trip off pavement.

There are a few downsides to the X5, with the main one being interior space. It's just not as roomy as some rival crossovers with third-row seats. Some of those rivals have fresher and newer designs, too. But overall we think the X5 is a solid pick if you want a luxury vehicle that offers a great combination of performance and utility.

Notably, we picked the 2018 BMW X5 as one of Edmunds' Best Midsize SUVs for this year.



what's new

The 2018 BMW X5 is essentially unchanged.

we recommend

The diesel-powered X5 xDrive35d model delivers the best combination of performance and efficiency. Choose the right options and it's easily the best value in the lineup. For safety-conscious shoppers, we suggest adding the optional Driver Assistance packages for another layer of passenger protection.

trim levels & features

The 2018 BMW X5 is a midsize luxury SUV that is available in 35i, 35d, 40e and 50i trim levels. All have all-wheel drive (xDrive) except for the 35i, which comes standard with rear-wheel drive (sDrive). A high-performance X5 M variant is reviewed separately. There is seating for five passengers, and an optional third-row seat increases capacity to seven.

Standard features for the 35i and 35d models include 19-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, LED foglights, power-folding and heated mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, a power liftgate, and front and rear parking sensors.

On the inside, you get dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, premium vinyl upholstery, power-adjustable and heated front seats, driver-seat memory functions, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats, BMW Assist emergency communications, a 10.2-inch central display screen, BMW's iDrive infotainment interface, a navigation system, voice controls and a nine-speaker sound system.

The 40e plug-in hybrid includes all of the above, along with adjustable suspension dampers and rear air suspension (optional on all other X5s), along with hybrid-specific instrumentation and additional iDrive menu items.

The X5 50i includes all of the features found in the 35i along with keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, upgraded front seats, four-zone climate control and 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.

Options include the Luxury, xLine and M Sport equipment lines that have different wheel designs (up to 20 inches), color schemes, and trim and upholstery types. The M Sport also includes sport front seats and shift paddles for the transmission.

Other bundled options include the Premium package for all but the 50i (keyless ignition and entry, four-zone climate control and satellite radio) and the Luxury Seating package (multicontour front seats with ventilation).

The Driver Assistance package adds a variety of driver safety aids, and you can get even more with the Driver Assistance Plus package. The Dynamic Handling package for xDrive models adds adaptive dampers, a rear air suspension and a body-roll mitigation feature for improved road holding. The Lighting package bundles upgraded adaptive LED headlights and automatic high-beam headlight control.

Other options for the BMW X5 include Apple CarPlay, a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system, upgraded or extended leather upholstery, upgraded interior trim and manual sunshades for the rear windows. All X5s except the hybrid can be equipped with second-row comfort seats (with fore/aft and recline adjustment) and a third-row seat (includes the rear air suspension). You can also order a rear-seat entertainment system and a night-vision camera system.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2014 BMW X5 (turbo 3.0L inline-6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current X5 has received minor revisions, including changes to the infotainment unit and a shuffling of options and trims structure. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's X5.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.5 / 5.0

Driving

5.0 / 5.0

Acceleration5.0 / 5.0
Braking4.5 / 5.0
Steering4.0 / 5.0
Handling4.5 / 5.0
Drivability5.0 / 5.0

Comfort

4.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort5.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort4.5 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5.0

Interior

4.0 / 5.0

Ease of use5.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out2.0 / 5.0
Roominess4.5 / 5.0
Visibility4.0 / 5.0
Quality5.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
Surprising agility and strong, willing engine choices competently move this heavy SUV around. We tested the base turbocharged six-cylinder version in this rating and found it more than adequate.

acceleration

edmunds rating
The 300-hp turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine is smooth and refined and has plenty of torque. There is some slight throttle hesitation from a stop. Shifts from the automatic transmission are similarly smooth.

braking

edmunds rating
Adequately firm pedal is easy to modulate in driving around town. Its stopping ability in a panic situation is limited less by its brakes and more by its all-season tires.

steering

edmunds rating
The precise steering doesn't necessarily tell you about every divot in the road, but it doesn't feel synthetic either. Effort is substantial but not off-putting at parking lot speeds.

handling

edmunds rating
A heavy vehicle at 4,836 pounds, the X5 manages to get around corners feeling sharp-footed, never ponderous. Capable and confidence-inspiring. Our test car was equipped with the optional Dynamic Damper system.

drivability

edmunds rating
It's hard to fault the X5 for its driving dynamics, given its class of vehicle. This is an accomplished machine that sweats the details of the primary driving controls.

comfort

edmunds rating
The cabin appointments are first-rate, and the X5 comports itself well on the road. Few faults to be found apart from some extraneous noise, which is likely a consequence of the run-flat tires.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
Superb comfort and support from the seats, which are well-suited to long-distance driving.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
The X5's suspension is tuned on the firm side, yet it's still capable of absorbing most road imperfections. From time to time, the ride gets choppy on rough pavement, but this is the exception and not the rule.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
Road noise is present to a degree that is not quite up to the standards of the class. There's also prominent wind noise from the driver's side windshield pillar at elevated freeway speeds.

climate control

The system is easy enough to understand and use, but the vents don't put out sufficient cooling air in terms of volume and temperature. The vehicle takes too long to begin feeling comfortable after sitting in a parking lot.

interior

edmunds rating
Richly appointed and easy on the eyes, the cabin is a well-engineered space. Cargo room is a tick bigger than before, but it's still not exceptional. The running boards aren't well-designed.

ease of use

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

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
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

Plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment. There's a very wide range of movement in the telescoping wheel, too. When you're all set, the gauges are very clearly visible through the steering wheel, too.

roominess

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

visibility

edmunds rating
Great view ahead and to the sides. The substantial rear pillars block the view over your shoulder. Good thing there's a backup camera, but it's an optional extra.

quality

edmunds rating
Panels are well fit with consistent gaps, and no squeaks or rattles were to be found. The interior oozes quality. This is a well-made crossover.

utility

edmunds rating
The X5's cargo area isn't cavernous, given the exterior dimensions, but it's appropriate for the segment. The rear hatch is split into two halves — a hatch and a short tailgate. There's a reasonable amount of interior storage space for your personal items.

technology

This X5 benefits from years of constant refinement of BMW's iDrive system, and the 2018 version features Apple CarPlay compatibility. The audio and navigation systems both work quite well.

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.