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2020 BMW X5 Review

The 2020 BMW X5 is a stunning way of transporting up to seven occupants. And the X5 has transcended its basic reason for existence as a premium midsize crossover/SUV to become a pillar of the class, a benchmark and an object of desire — at least for well-off families.

As one of BMW’s standout models, it seats five in standard form, while offering a third row to take a total of seven. Its dimensions are greater than the generation before, resulting in more space for passengers and cargo. This aspect was a weak spot in the previous generation, which was replaced last year.

For the family, there’s ample security and safety equipment, road-trip ride quality, plus extra seating for little ones. For the enthusiast, the X5 drives like a 5,000-lb crossover shouldn’t — with precision, poise and punch. For the off-roader, an optional package enhances the X5’s abilities way beyond the occasional dirt trail. Technology fans will also find plenty to enjoy, including over-the-air software updates.

The high-performance 2020 X5 M version is reviewed separately.

What’s New for 2020?

An M50i joins the lineup. The 50i models gain Wi-Fi and wireless charging as standard. This is also the first full model year of the entry level sDrive40i rear-wheel drive (RWD) variant. See the 2020 BMW X5 models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Sumptuous interior
  • Responsive handling
  • Great technology
  • Lots of standard equipment
  • Third-row seat availability

What We Don’t

  • One of the pricier premium midsize crossovers

How Much?

$59,895 to $83,145

Fuel Economy

All X5 variants have an 8-speed automatic transmission with a launch control mode as standard. They also have active grille shutters and engine stop-start features to maximize fuel efficiency. Total towing capacity is 7,200 pounds.

The RWD sDrive40i and all-wheel-drive (AWD) xDrive40i employ a turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-6 engine rated at 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fuel economy is estimated at 21 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg in combined driving for the sDrive version, 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined for the xDrive model.

A twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 in the xDrive50i develops a muscular 456 hp and 479 lb-ft. Fuel consumption is 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.

The new-for-2020 M50i has essentially that same engine boosted to produce 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. The EPA reckons it will achieve the same fuel consumption as the xDrive50i: 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2020 BMW X5 is available in sDrive40i, xDrive40i, xDrive50i and M50i forms.

The sDrive40i ($59,895) comes with 19-in alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, programmable LED daytime running lights, LED fog lights/taillights, a panoramic moonroof with powered sunshade, aluminum roof rails, keyless entry/ignition with customizable presets, rain-sensing wipers, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescopic steering column, dual-zone automatic climate control, selectable driving modes, hill-descent control, dynamic dampers, a roof spoiler, heated/power-folding side mirrors, a self-dimming rearview mirror/driver’s-side exterior mirror, heated/16-way power-adjustable front seats with driver’s-side memory, simulated leather upholstery, ambient cabin lighting, a powered lift gate, 40/20/40 split/folding rear seats, universal garage door opener, dual 12.3-in displays (one for driver information, the other for the infotainment system), a 10-speaker/205-watt audio setup, HD radio, navigation with real-time traffic information and on-street parking space availability, Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, USB ports (including Type-C versions in each front seat backrest), Bluetooth, natural speech commands, 32GB of multimedia storage and emergency response/stolen vehicle location services.

Driving assistance features, also standard, include forward-collision mitigation with daytime pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, dynamic cruise control, speed limit information, front/rear parking sensors and active blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

The xDrive40i ($62,195) adds AWD.

The xDrive50i ($77,145) upgrades to the twin-turbo V8 and 20-way multicontour front seats with memory settings for both sides, real leather upholstery, quad-zone automatic climate control, wireless charging, Wi-fi, satellite radio and a 16-speaker/464-watt Harman Kardon surround-sound system.

The M50i ($83,145) has 20-in alloy wheels, larger air intakes, M Sport brakes/rear differential/aerodynamic additions/steering wheel and an adaptive M suspension.

The 40i models are eligible for a Convenience package that brings quad-zone climate control, satellite radio, Wi-Fi, wireless charging and enhanced USB and Bluetooth. A Premium package includes those Convenience items while adding a head-up display, gesture control and a remote start function.

A Driving Assistance Professional package includes Traffic Jam Assist, allowing the driver to release the steering wheel and let the X5 handle the stop/go drudgery, including a few highways. Plus an Emergency Stop feature and help with evasive actions.

The Luxury Seating package brings multicontour ventilated/massaging front seats. A Parking Assistance package does the hard work when maneuvering into perpendicular or parallel parking spaces.

The Off-Road package adds an air suspension for both axles with adjustable height settings, an M Sport rear differential, underbody protection and multiterrain modes. The air suspension is also available as an individual option.

Other extras include the third seating row, 20/21/22-in alloy wheels, rear-wheel steering, LED headlights with laser light, trailer hitch, acoustic glass, soft-closing doors, glass controls, rear window sun shades, front/rear heated seats, a heated steering wheel/front seat armrests, heated/cooled cup holders, infrared night vision with pedestrian detection, a rear seat entertainment system, plus a choice of a 12-speaker/360-watt Harmon Kardon surround-sound system (xDrive40i) or a 20-speaker/1,500-watt Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound system.

Cargo space measures 33.9 cu ft. behind the second-row seats and 72.3 cu ft. with the rear seats folded down.


The X5 comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and eight airbags. The standard BMW Assist telematics system provides automatic crash notification, emergency assistance and more.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave this generation of X5 four out of five stars overall, with four stars each for driver and front passenger protection, plus five stars for side impact performance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the X5 top scores in most categories, making it a Top Safety Pick Plus when the top-of-the-line headlights are fitted. The standard headlights were considered poor.

Behind the Wheel

From the driver’s seat, it’s hard to believe the X5 is a crossover/SUV at all. Thanks to the different drive modes, the adaptive suspension spans a range of comfort and control, while retaining control in the most comfortable setting and some comfort in the sportiest setting. Through the corners, the X5 delivers involving, athletic handling. High-speed stability is exemplary, with little road or wind noise. Crossovers don’t get much better than this.

The 3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6 delivers smooth, strong acceleration, while the 8-speed automatic performs rapid yet seamless shifts. This should please most people.

For those who like their crossovers to pack more thrills, the xDrive50i’s twin-turbo V8 is magnificent. Or the M50i can sprint from standstill to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, which is remarkable for a vehicle of this size and weight.

The standard front seats are supportive and great. However, we’re big fans of the optional 20-way multicontour seats, which are among the best in any vehicle. Regarding the third row, it’s a nice option, but it’s most suited to the smaller and younger members of the family.

Superb fit and finish in the cabin is complemented by high-quality materials and well-thought-out design. The infotainment interface is also extremely user-friendly.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 Acura MDX — Wonderfully refined. The third-row seat is pretty tight, but the equipment-to-price ratio is appealing.

2020 Audi Q7 — Lots of space, tech, safety and sophistication.

2020 BMW X6 — Just in case you didn’t need quite so much rear passenger and cargo space, and would prefer something with more “out there” styling. An all-new generation debuts for this year.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class — A luxury crossover/SUV with a range of models similar to the X5 and X6. All-new for 2020 and a seriously excellent vehicle.

2020 Porsche Cayenne — Doesn’t have the X5’s 3-row versatility, but delivers awesome performance and undeniable Porsche cachet.

2020 Volvo XC90 — Not particularly a driver’s machine, but comes with its own cool factor and lots of tech. Integrated child booster seats are available.

Used Land Rover Range Rover — There’s nothing like a Range Rover, and a pristine low-mileage example can be acquired for the price of a new X5. Check out Land Rover’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program.

Autotrader’s Advice

Think seriously about acquiring the most driver assistance features before going for a bigger engine. The entry level inline 6 is perfectly adequate. Anyone looking to lower their emissions might like to wait for the plug-in hybrid version that’s expected for 2021. Find a BMW X5 for sale

Our editors are here to make car buying easier. We’ve driven, reviewed and compared thousands of cars. We’ve bought and sold more than our fair share, too. And as part of the sprawling Cox Automotive group of companies, we have exclusive access to a range of valuable data and insights. Whether you’re looking for the best car, the best deal or the best buying advice, you can trust... Read More about Autotrader

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