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QUALITY | 9 out of 10
The second-row seat has a useful 40/20/40 split, a third-row is optional, and the tailgate is power operated.
The shape of the cargo opening allows for easy loading and unloading, and BMW is continuing to use its two-piece tailgate with a small door that swings down and a larger power door that swings up.
the gentle curves of the decorative wood, aluminum and double-stitched leather that heighten the luxury ambiance. They make up for some of the more pedestrian switchgear in the center stack that looks a little cheap.
The revamp of the X5 has brought interior trim up to a new standard. Like the slightly smaller X3, the X5 now has a stylish cockpit with swooping curves and two different interior palettes of coordinated interior colors and trim to go with the usual choices of aluminum or wood and leather. The basic seat upholstery is synthetic, and some minor switchgear looks less lovingly attended to than it should, but those blips get overlooked in favor of the rich, colorful dash-mounted screen, and the soft glow of ambient interior lighting.
Behind that second-row seat is about 23 cubic feet of space--which you can choose to fill with a fold-away third-row seat. It's as small and unwelcoming to adults as the third-row seats in a Dodge Journey, and tough for anyone not into Garanimals to step into with any grace. The saving grace is the seat folds away in portions, and flattens out of the way along with the second-row seat for up to 66 cubic feet of cargo space. The X5's tailgate is power-operated, and it's kept its unique tailgate/liftgate setup: the lower section drops like a pickup, the top section powers open and closed like a pricey minivan.
The X5 hasn't gained appreciably in terms of interior space, but there's better accommodation for up to seven passengers--especially those in the first two rows.
In the front, the standard power heated seats can be upgraded to multi-contour or sport seats on the six-cylinder gas and diesel models. There's enough adjustment and space in any direction, but like many other ventilated seats we've sampled, the X5's front buckets are flatter and less comfortable across the bottom cushion than without that feature. Between the driver and front passengers is a wide console split down the middle, good for smartphone storage, and on the console itself, there are two bins for possible keyfob storage--the fob wars have left the X5 with one of the heftier, fatter remotes in the industry, so prestigious it's hard to fit in skinny jeans (whatever they might be).
Move to the second row, and the basic setup is a bench with reclining seat portions split 40:20:40, an ideal setup for anyone trying to wedge five adults in the most basic X5. Four will be happier: with the standard panoramic sunroof, there's not much headroom left for six-footers until the seat's reclined, so folding down the middle 20-percent seat as an armrest becomes a de facto standard setup. Better yet is BMW's rear comfort seats, with finer stitching, a 10-degree recline, and a sliding feature that moves the seat along a 3.1-inch track.
The seats aren't as comfortable as we would want, but the X5 is polished and well-fitted.