2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i: What's It Like to Live With?
Something for Everyone? Testing the 2020 BMW X5 for Everyday Life at 3,200 miles (and counting)
|Miles Driven||Average MPG|
Why Should You Care (updated 9/28/20)
- In-cabin technology is class-leading.
- Family-friendly with a focus on comfort and space.
- Performance is not an afterthought with a turbocharged V6 and two V8 engine options.
- Additional options and safety features can be added to lower trims, but pile onto an already big price tag.
- A big and heavy luxury SUV with a bumpier-than-expected ride.
2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i: Real-World Fuel Economy
After about two months and over 3200 miles driven, our overall hovers around 19 mpg, which falls far short of the EPA-estimated 22 mpg.
Normally, I wouldn't balk at these results given the size of the X5 and the usual traffic we are up against in Los Angeles. But the pandemic and countywide shutdown in August 2020 have made traffic a thing of the past, even for a brief moment. A standard hourlong drive is currently a breezy 20 minutes, and I am actually able to hit or go slightly above the speed limit on SoCal freeways. So I expected more during this initial test period.
Average lifetime mpg: 19.0
EPA mpg rating: 22 combined (20 city / 26 highway)
Best fill mpg: 22.5
Best range (miles):: 400.2
Current odometer: 3,208
Recalls performed on this vehicle
• Extra bolt incorrectly attached to starter motor
2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i: How does it drive
I was skeptical at first. To me, the X5 is big; I am not. I immediately thought I did not need this much SUV. So I was expecting to have a somewhat difficult time maneuvering the X5. However, it doesn't drive like what I thought would feel "big." Its six-cylinder turbo engine is responsive enough for casual driving or a daily commute. And it can be sporty when it needs to be, easily zipping through traffic on the freeway.
How does it handle?
The heart of the BMW X5 is its tried-and-true handling. It seems to tackle some sharp turns reliably and feels balanced on the road. Yet, at times, it can feel heavy. I found myself fighting the weight (the X5 is around 5,000 pounds) when I stepped on the gas and just wanted to "go." However, once on the open road, the X5 moves, so much so that I found myself easily picking up speed without noticing.
Director of Written Content Brent Romans shares a somewhat similar sentiment. He, too, noticed that the X5 feels like a big and heavy luxury SUV.
"It's more of a kick-back, go-in-a-straight-line kind of SUV," he says. "Yeah, there's a solid grip from the tires if you really want to push it, and it's fairly stable if you engage the Sport driving mode. But that's about it. ... There's no enjoyment to be had from our X5's steering and handling."
The steering also has received mixed results with some of my colleagues stating it can feel overly soft and floaty when driving around turns unless you engage Sport mode, one of several driving modes.
The 12.3-inch touchscreen display is the star and highlights BMW's iDrive in-car communications and entertainment system. There is a lot you can see and control via iDrive, including real-time traffic, daily news, driving modes, fuel management and navigation. Navigation coupled with the BMW's voice command is some of the best and easiest to use out there.
And for the car geek in all of us, you can monitor the X5's performance through various display options on the touchscreen. Some of these features are not immediately intuitive but there are "help" options and menus to guide you.
You can also use the hand gesture controls to change stations and adjust the volume, among other tasks. However, the gesture control option seems more gimmicky than useful. Hand placement has to be just right for the gestures to consistently work. I suggest staying old-school; stick with the touchscreen controls or the ones on the center console or steering wheel mount.
Additional standard highlights include Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, but Android Auto isn't available. There are also four accessible USB charge points and small display screen mounting options behind the two front seats — ideal to keep the kids occupied during longer drives.