The X5 has been a success from the very first model, launched all the way back in 1999. It’s a luxury SUV that’s biased towards handling and grip on the road rather than off-road adventures, though with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive technology it can cope with the rough stuff too. The fourth-generation model, announced in June 2018 and expected in showrooms towards the end of the year, is slicker, more appealing and accomplished than ever.
The 2019 X5 is based on BMW’s all-new Cluster Architecture platform and represents a distinct step forward from the previous model. It’s longer, wider and taller than the outgoing X5 and features huge BMW kidney grilles at the front with active flaps for aero efficiency. The new model is noticeably more upright, with short overhangs and an elegant roofline. Prominent wheel arches and a horizontal crease line down the side make an assertive statement. At the rear, a split tailgate opens to reveal a 640-litre boot that extends to 1860 litres with the seats down.
The UK will be offered a choice of two diesel and one petrol engine, with the six-cylinder xDrive 3.0d delivering 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds and 47.1mph with 158 g/km CO2. The petrol xDrive40i betters that with 0-62mph in 5.5s at the expense of 33.2mpg, but the performance flagship is the diesel xDrive M50d, which hits 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds. xDrive all-wheel drive and an eight-speed auto transmission come as standard, while the optional xOffroad driving package offers a choice of four off-road driving modes. Four-wheel steering improves agility at low speeds and stability at higher speeds
The 2019 X5 features the new BMW Operating System 7.0, able to integrate control of vehicle functions through gestures, speech, a new larger touch screen and iDrive controls. The X5’s new-look slim profile headlamps are available with optional laser technology to turn night into day with a full 500 metre beam. A Bowers and Wilkins audio system comes as standard though there’s also the option to upgrade to a harman/kardon system with its own unique speakers. An Ambient Air package offers four natural fragrances, while to keep passengers entertained on longer journeys there’s an optional rear-seat entertainment system with individual screens.
As well as the usual lavish complement of airbags and driver assistance systems, the 2019 X5 offers Traffic Jam Assist, which will keep the car in a lane with semi-autonomous steering input and will merge into a clear lane when the indicator stalk is held in the desired direction. Emergency Stop Assistant takes over if the driver becomes suddenly incapacitated, bringing the X5 safely to a standstill. It will even perform lane changes to pull the BMW to a stop on a hard shoulder.
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Verdict: The X5 faces stiff competition from all the major premium brands, but BMW’s well-honed formula of driver-pleasing performance, classy looks and state-of-the-art technology will make it hard to beat when it’s launched later this year.