Review update: Tonight, let’s just 2019 BMW X5 and grille

June 18, 2019

BMW didn’t invent the SUV—they don’t even like to use the term. But they have made some crossovers and SUVs worth loving.

The early X1s were E90s that wore platform shoes, the early X5s had leftover Land Rover DNA tucked below its beltline. The newest X3 is arguably the most consumer-focused luxury car on the road, and the X6M is laughably lovable.

But this 2019 BMW X5 is probably the one I’d take home to the parents.

The best and brightest from the Germans now wear badges like GLE, X5, and Q8, and I’d put a ring on all three if that were legal, or I still lived in Utah.

The 2019 X5 is a little more than a fling for me and here’s why:

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

Hit: Infotainment, improved

BMW charges more for everything inside the cabin but the oxygen, and their Apple CarPlay subscription isn’t worth paying more for.

That’s not because the presentation isn’t slick. BMW was first to the market to offer wireless CarPlay (a logical no-brainer with wireless charging pads) but using CarPlay effectively halved the size of their infotainment screen. BMW CarPlay preferred a native presentation that was 4x2, four icons in two rows, until this year. Now, Apple CarPlay works across the 12.3-inch screen, wirelessly, and well.

I’d still skip the $80/year subscription. That’s because BMW’s native system is more powerful, more responsive, and better integrated into the BMW Connected app. This year, BMW offers the option to pair an iPhone without CarPlay and it’s better.

2019 BMW X5

2019 BMW X5

Hit: Ace of base

We still haven’t reviewed the V-8-powered X5 xDrive50i, but my tester was an xDrive40i that didn’t need two more cylinders.

The sweetly powered X5 xDrive40i makes 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque to propel the all-wheel-drive X5 xDrive40i up to 60 mph in just over five seconds. It’s the sweet spot that more X5 buyers will pick, and its plenty. Although our route didn’t include foul weather or loose gravel, the inline-6 delivered by BMW has plenty of grunt and it should satisfy most buyers who only ask that the X5 ascend another parking garage ramp—not mountainside.

2019 BMW X5

2019 BMW X5

Miss: Chill with the grille, BMW

The most notable distinction between the newest X5 and its predecessor is also its most polarizing: BMW’s newest signature snout.

Admittedly, the X5’s grille doesn’t have the sheer gob-smacking surface area of its bigger brother, the X7, but even after a week, the X5’s buckteeth didn’t win me over.

It also distracts from the X5’s better gift: a side profile that cleaner, sharper, and more in line with the rest of the BMW gang. Along the body sides, BMW added a crease that kicks up in the rear doors that raises the belt line of the X5 above the outgoing model’s dowdy rear end. It works, far better than the grille too.

2019 BMW X5

2019 BMW X5

Miss: Bring My Wallet

Starting at more than $61,000, including destination, a run through the options list without restraint can tune up an X5 to nearly $75,000 like our tester.

Options like a head-up display and gesture controls get lumped into tiers that add thousands to the bottom line and are probably worth skipping. What isn’t? BMW’s assisted driving features that can help keep the X5 in its lane or help navigate stop-and-go traffic for $1,700. Add heated seats, leather, and upgraded wheels if you must and an X5 xDrive40i hovers around a more palatable $65,000 price.

2019 BMW X5

2019 BMW X5

Hit: Bring your friends

Buying an X5 means you’re probably the first pick to carpool everyone, everywhere, all the time. The X5’s creamy ride everywhere, particularly with its optional air suspension, is complemented by generous interior space and cargo capacity. Three-row detail is now the purview of the X7, and the X5’s spacious two rows comfortably fit five adults with more than 33 cubic feet of cargo space behind them. It’s usable and wide, and a power liftgate is standard on all models.

The rear outboard seats can be optionally heated along with the front row seats for a $350 upcharge that new buyers should pass the hat around to their friends to help cover. No doubt they’ll be the first ones to ask for a ride.

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2019 BMW X5

Base price (Including mandatory destination): $61,695

Price as tested: $76,925

EPA fuel economy: 20 city, 26 highway, 22 combined

Observed fuel economy: 21 mpg combined (mostly city driving over 190 miles)

Hits: Spacious interior, strong base engine, feature-rich native infotainment

Misses: Pricey packaging, divisive grille

2019
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2019
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