The 2019 BMW X5 that debuted Tuesday doesn't look all that different than the model currently in showrooms—at least until its gaping twin-kidney grille comes into view.
The latest version of BMW's signature grille design stands proud, giving the popular luxury crossover SUV a distinctive look for the new model year. At the rear, its wide taillights have more in common with the company's smaller X1 and X3 crossovers than the old X5 and its low rear bumper further blurs the line with minivans. BMW says that LED headlights will be standard equipment when the X5 goes on sale in November and that buyers will have a choice of wheels ranging from 19- to 22-inches in diameter. BMW didn't say how much the X5 would cost.
The new X5 further diverges from its predecessor by riding on a version of the automaker's modular platform also used in the BMW 7-Series sedan. The 2019 X5 stretches 194.3 inches from bumper-to-bumper, a 1.1-inch increase over last year and it's a hefty 78.9 inches wide, a 2.6-inch increase. That larger footprint should provide the X5 with more usable passenger space inside—especially in the second and optional third rows.
Like previous X5s, the 2019 features a split, two-piece tailgate that powers up at the press of a button and opens downward to create a small bench.
Behind its bold grille inlets, the X5 will offer a choice of a 335-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 and 456-hp 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8 power paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. Other powertrain options such as a plug-in hybrid and a sportier X5M are likely to follow.
Two option packages—the Dynamic Handling Package and the Off-Road Package—available for an extra cost on the X5 include an electronically controlled rear differential lock to improve handling and slippery road performance. A sport-tuned adaptive suspension will be available, as will a height-adjustable air suspension that offers about 3.2 inches of travel.
Inside, the latest X5 will come with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that works in concert with a similarly sized infotainment screen on the vehicle's dashboard.
The new X5 also marks a big leap forward in terms of standard safety gear such as automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, lane-departure warnings, and rear cross-traffic alerts. The extra-cost Active Driving Assistant Professional promises Level 2-grade autonomy that uses the vehicle's computers and sensors to steer, accelerate, and brake with no driver intervention for short periods.
A new system for worst-case situations debuts in the X5, too. Should the driver become incapacitated, passengers can tug the emergency brake and Emergency Stop Assistant will automatically bring the crossover to a halt where it detects it is safe to do so, such as within a lane or in the road's shoulder.