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2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i Real-World Test: Decode the Mode

2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i Real-World Test: Decode the Mode

Edmunds Team Tests the BMW X5 xDrive40i's Driving Options

To see what it's like to live with a 2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i, we've put one in our long-term fleet, which means we're running it for a full year and 20,000 miles. As the year progresses, our staffers fill up the logbook with comments on everything from road trips to reliability. Here's the latest news on our long-term X5 xDrive40i.

2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i

2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i

The BMW X5 xDrive40i Lacks Agility

There is a stretch of Highway 1 between Monterey, California, and Los Angeles, that has a bespoke warning sign advertising 60 miles of hills and curves, which means it's a great place to get a feel for a vehicle's cornering capabilities. Josh Sadlier, our director of content strategy, put the X5’s capabilities to the test on this roadway on a recent trip to Monterey.

"In short, our nearly 5,000-pound X5 is a bit of a handful," he says. "After much fiddling with the settings, I figured out that if I selected Sport Individual mode, put the steering in Comfort mode, the damping in Sport mode, the engine in Sport Plus and the transmission in Sport mode, the BMW X5 was serviceable through the twisty bits. But, only just."

Even with the lightened-up steering, he notes you still feel all that mass sloshing about.

Leave the steering in Sport and the extra resistance merely magnifies the X5's reluctance to change direction.

"I loved the X5's heft on the freeway, but as a shopper, if I regularly drive on winding roads like Highway 1, I'd take a closer look at the smaller and presumably more agile X3," Josh adds.

Additionally, our senior consumer advice editor, Ron Montoya, played around with some of the driving modes on his trip to Yosemite, California.

"A number of folks had commented that Sport mode was best on long drives," he says. "I figured it was such a common thing that it would be left in Sport mode all the time."

Ron didn’t realize he actually drove the five- to six-hour trip in Comfort mode, not Sport. "And, you know what? My passenger and I didn't really notice anything horribly uncomfortable about it," says Ron.

While Sport mode did tighten things up, he was fine leaving it in Comfort mode for the drive. Still, it's worth test-driving this SUV for yourself to see if this is a deal-breaker for you or not.

2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i

2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i

2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i: Real-World Fuel Economy

After about eight months and over 10,000 miles driven, our overall fuel economy hovers around 19.9 mpg, which falls short of the EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined.

Average lifetime mpg: 19.9
EPA mpg rating: 22 combined (20 city/26 highway)
Best fill mpg: 23.2
Best range (miles): 435.2
Current odometer: 10,505

Read more real-world fuel economy updates about our 2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i.

Edmunds says

We're on the road all the time in our 2020 BMW X5, which means the logbook is brimming with our latest unvarnished opinions. Come along for the ride at our 2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i long-term test page.