The BMW X5 was originally introduced in 1999, when the German manufacturer decided to take on the luxury SUV market – a space dominated by Range Rover, Land Rover, and Mercedes. Developing the original X5 shortly after BMW’s acquisition of Land Rover, the car naturally shared components and technology from the cars it was built to rival.
Marketed as a ‘Sports Activity Vehicle’ – not an SUV – the X5 was intended to be as good on the road as it was off the road. Equipped with either an 3.0L inline-6 or 4.4L V8 engine, the X5 took advantage of the new xDrive all-wheel-drive system to ensure the car drove and handled like the other sportier cars in the BMW line up.
A couple more generations of X5 followed, with both the 2006 and 2014 model of X5 building on the performance, styling, and technology that the previous generations might have lacked. These two generations also received the M Performance treatment, with the new X5 M models. The 2009 X5 M was powered by a 547hp twin-turbo V8, the most powerful X5 engine at the time. The 2018 X5 M expanded on its M performance predecessor by offering slightly more power, as well as various suspension, steering, and styling upgrades. The 2014 X5 generation was also the first to offer a plug-in hybrid version of the X5, the xDrive40e, bringing the X5 into a new era of SUV.
The fourth, and newest, generation of the X5 was released in 2019, and featured two engine options – the 3.0L 335hp turbo six-cylinder and a 4.4L twin-turbo 455hp V8 – both offered with all-wheel drive as standard. The new generation is well equipped, coming with plenty of technology as standard, as well as numerous driving assistance features such as blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. Alongside the AWD models, BMW also offer a rear-wheel drive car, a plug-in hybrid, and a range of diesel cars, expanding the X5 offering and making it a more versatile model than ever before.
The X5 M and X5 M Competition models complete the new generation’s line up, bringing a 591hp and 617hp engine respectively, and giving the cars a 0-62mph time of 3.7s/3.8s – which for a heavy SUV is incredibly quick. Both coming with a bunch of M performance styling upgrades, they represent the best of the best in the BMW X5 range.
Overall, the BMW X5 is a well-rounded SUV, with strong capabilities in any situation it faces. With options for the sportier drivers, more economical drivers, or those who just want to have as much fun as possible, the X5 will have a model that suits your needs exactly.