Quick Spin

2019 BMW X5 xDrive40i Drivers' Notes Review | A controversial steer

Literally. The steering is controversial. As a luxury SUV, though, it's hard to fault.

  • Image Credit: BMW
 Editors' Pick
Autoblog Rating

The new X5 wins with style, tech and an excellent powertrain. The interior design doesn't match some competitors, but it's comfortable and well built. Editors were divided on steering, but we think most owners won't mind.

  • Engine
    3.0L Turbo I6
  • Power
    335 HP / 330 LB-FT
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • 0-60 Time
    5.3 Seconds
  • Top Speed
    150 MPH
  • Drivetrain
    All-Wheel Drive
  • Engine Placement
  • Curb Weight
    4,813 LBS
  • Towing
    6,603 LBS
  • Seating
  • Cargo
    33.9 CU FT (72.3 Max)
  • MPG
    20 City / 26 Highway
  • Warranty
    4 Year / 50,000 Mile
  • Base Price
  • As Tested Price
The 2019 BMW X5 is the fourth-iteration of BMW's original SUV. For years it was the largest model in the company's SUV lineup, though it's now superseded by the new BMW X7. It's one of the newest models in a class of many, going head-to-head with vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, Porsche Cayenne and Audi's Q7 and Q8 (they fall somewhere on either side of the X5 in terms of size and price). Over the years, we've seen plug-in hybrids, diesels and the high-performance X5 M, though the 2019 model launched with two traditional gasoline powertrains. A diesel is unlikely to show its face again in the United States.

Our tester is an entry-level X5 xDrive40i, meaning it's powered by a 335-horsepower turbocharged inline-six. The X5 starts at just over $60,000, though ours is loaded with more than $10,000 worth of options. The Premium and Executive packages are $2,050 each, adding features like a head-up display, remote start, a WiFi hotspot and adaptive LED lighting. Other options include $1,000 for two-axle air suspension and $875 for a Harmon Kardon sound system.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: The X5 drives well. It's comfortable. It's big. It's generally handsome in a way that's more complex than BMWs have historically been, yet inline with the brand's current styling. I like it. The 3.0-liter turbo straight-six, with 335 hp and 330 pound-feet of torque, is a solid performer. It's a sneaky 335 ponies. There's plenty of juice when you need it, but it's subtle, refined. And with a curb weight north of 4,800 pounds, it's necessary. The interior is classy with wood and leather. BMW cabins have gotten increasingly angled and contoured, like the exterior design. They look sharp, if a bit busy. I had a hard time finding a great seating position, but that's my only complaint in the cabin. Dynamically, the steering is the only point of contention. It's fine, and non-enthusiasts will be fine with it. But, those with more discerning tastes (like many BMW owners) will notice the overly light feel followed by an oddly weighted dynamic during turn-in. It seems artificial at times. Putting it in sport mode helped sharpen things up, but it still wasn't great. But overall, this is a smart crossover with looks and class

Associate Editor Reese Counts: I dig the new X5 quite a bit. It's handsome, quiet and packs one of BMW's venerable turbocharged inline-sixes. Does the steering feel a bit numb? Sure, but the people in the market for an X5 don't care. Those that do can either hold out for the inevitable V8-powered X5 M50i or X5 M. Those, like past versions, will be bonkers machines that are more akin to what some "expect" from a BMW. Others might disagree, but I think they're missing the point, and honestly, it's not that bad.

Most people want a stylish, well-appointed family hauler — steering and driving dynamics be damned. The X5 delivers, and it's still pretty good to drive. It might be my favorite thing in this class at the moment, at least until I get behind the wheel of the new Mercedes GLE.

2019 BMW X5

Assistant Editor Zac Palmer: Do you like technology? Do you like feeling entirely isolated from the road? Well, step right up, because the 2019 BMW X5 has both of those qualities in spades. Exhibit A is its Integral Active Steering, introduced for the first time in an X model after previously being offered in other BMWs. To quote BMW, "The system has the additional effect of increasing straight-line driving comfort by actively countering the vibrations triggered by bumps on one side of the road."

What this actually does is make the steering feel artificial, sort of like a video game. There's a weird inaccuracy feeling to it the whole time you're coasting down the highway, too. It's not exactly Infiniti's steer-by-wire, but this X5 is darn close to it. I intentionally drove on an absurdly pothole-strewn interchange ramp that typically causes the steering wheel to bounce all over the place in any car I'm in, because the bumps are only on one side of the road. In the X5, the steering wheel didn't even budge. I wasn't trying to hold it steady, either. Some might consider this technology a good thing, but is complete road isolation really what BMW buyers want?

Another noteworthy bit of tech is BMW's Backup Assistant, which I tested on my curving driveway. The system remembers the previous 55 yards you drove forward before parking, then will automatically reverse that same distance out. I found the system's limit halfway down, because all of a sudden the X5 began to turn into my front lawn. Up until that point, I was swiftly navigated down my driveway with perfection. So, you must know the limits of this driving assistant to use it responsibly, because our X5 would've been beached in a foot of snow had I not quickly taken back control.

Related Video:

BMW X5 Information

Autoblog accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own — we do not accept sponsored editorial.

Share This Photo X