It only feels like the BMW X5 has been on the road forever. The luxury SUV, or “sport activity vehicle” as the automaker refers to it, debuted in 1999 and has become a staple of the suburbs. The current-generation X5 debuted in 2014 and is at the end of its life cycle. That said, the aging SUV still carries plenty of appeal and is available in a style to suit almost every need.
If you’re in the market for a luxury SUV and are considering the 2018 BMW X5, here’s everything you need to know.
What’s Under the Hood: A Dizzying Array of Engine Options
The 2018 BMW X5 features five engine options and only one transmission option, an eight-speed automatic. The entry-level X5 sDrive35i is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six that makes 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available. The xDrive50i packs a V8 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 engine that pumps out 445 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, with power sent to all four wheels.
The xDrive35d packs a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six that produces only 255 horsepower and a whopping 413 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard. In addition to the gas-sipping diesel, there’s also a hybrid variant on offer. The xDrive40e iPerformance pairs a turbocharged inline-four making 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque with a 111-horsepower electric motor. The hybrid X5 has a max power output of 308 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque and is only available with all-wheel drive.
The fifth engine option is a tuned version of the xDrive50i’s turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. This engine sits in the performance-oriented X5 M trim and produces a beastly 567 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque.
The most fuel-efficient X5 is the hybrid model, which averages 23 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. The xDrive40e iPerformance can also go 14 miles purely on electric power. Car and Driver wasn’t blown away by the hybrid’s fuel economy, though, and noted that the diesel X5 actually did better at the pump. The X5 35d is rated at 23/29/25 mpg (city, highway, combined) by the EPA.
The entry-level turbocharged six-cylinder X5 is rated at 18/21/25 mpg, with those figures dropping slightly to 18/24/20 mpg when all-wheel drive is equipped. As for the V8 engines, well, they’re pretty thirsty. The X5 50i’s mpg is 15/21/17 mpg and the X5 M gets a dismal 14/19/16 mpg.
The X5’s dizzying number of engine options ensures there’s something for almost everyone. For most, the entry-level inline-six will be fine. It provides a solid mix of power and fuel economy. If improved fuel economy is what you’re after, then opt for the diesel. It’s $2,650 cheaper than the hybrid and offers better fuel economy. And you won’t need to worry about plugging it in. As for those who want performance, the X5 M is the obvious choice.
In terms of drivability, the 2018 X5 handles a bit bigger than you’d expect from a car-based SUV. In its first drive review, MotorTrend said that compared to the competition, the X5 “drives the most like a truck” and that ride quality suffers as a result. The X5 can certainly be fun in a straight line — the X5 M does 0 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds — but don’t let the BMW badge fool you into thinking this SUV is designed to cut up back country roads.
What’s Inside: A Luxury Interior and Seating For 7*
The 2018 BMW X5 is consistently praised for its cabin quality and strong standard features, which include heated and 14-way power adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, panoramic moonroof, and 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system complete with navigation. This system, iDrive, is one of the auto industry’s best thanks to its sleek design, capabilities, and user-friendliness.
The 2018 BMW X5 offers a laundry list of optional features, including Nappa leather seats, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a wireless charging pad, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay compatibility (yes, you have to pay for this), and a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Standard safety and driver’s assistance tech on the X5 includes front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers and… that’s it. BMW is known for nickel and diming drivers when it comes to options, so it shouldn’t come as a huge shock that more advanced safety features like radar cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and city collision mitigation (featuring autonomous emergency braking) cost extra.
In its base configuration, the 2018 BMW X5 offer offers standard seating for five. A third row of seats is available, but the consensus is that they’re wildly uncomfortable for all but the smallest of humans. The BMW X5 offers 35.8 cubic feet of storage space when equipped with only two rows of seating. In that configuration, storage space balloons to 76.7 cubic feet with the second-row seats folded down. Cargo space in the hybrid X5 is slightly diminished thanks to the SUV’s battery pack. The hybrid offers 34.22 cubic feet of storage space with all seats up and 72.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
Pricing and Trim Levels: Be Ready to Spend
The entry-level BMW X5 starts at $57,200. That price jumps to $59,500 when you add all-wheel drive. If you want a V8-powered X5, which comes standard with AWD, you’ll be asked to drop $74,500. The most fuel-efficient models, the diesel and hybrid, start at $61,000 and $63,750, respectively. At the top of lineup sits the X5 M with a base price of $101,700.
Each X5 is available in three different trim levels: xLine Design, Luxury Design, and M Sport Design. Of the two, only M Sport Design adds more money to the final bill at a cost of $4,350 thanks to the performance-oriented upgrades both under the hood and in the cabin. Each trim level can also be further customized with the Executive Package. This package costs $2,800 and includes surround view cameras, soft-close automatic doors, adaptive full LED lights, parking assistant, and automatic high beams.
The BMW X5 can get expensive really quickly. Those who want to load up on the luxury would be smart to start with one of the six-cylinder models and add on the options from there. If performance is what you’re after, the X5 50i equipped with the M Sport package starts at $78,500, a whole $23,200 less than the X5 M.
Competition and Final Thoughts
The 2018 BMW X5 calls a crowded segment home. Its direct competitors include the Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Volvo XC90, Lexus RX, and Acura MDX, just to name a few. The X5 is easily one of the priciest options in its class. That said, you really do get what you pay for and there’s something on offer for almost every kind of driver.
However, our advice is to hold off on purchasing the 2018 BMW X5. Why’s that? Because, the completely redesigned 2019 X5 is on the way. The new X5 will be lighter, more fuel efficient, roomier, pack better tech, and (should) feature more standard features. Another reason to put your purchase off is the upcoming X7, a full-size luxury SUV with third-row seats that won’t be nearly as claustrophobic as the X5’s. If you really can’t wait, we recommend taking the 2018 BMW X5 for a test drive. However, just know that the aging SUV will start to show its age sooner than later.