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2018 BMW X5

Starting at $58,195

2018 bmw x5
Chris Amos|Car and Driver

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  • Highs Choice of capable drivetrains, roomy cabin, handsome interior finishes.
  • Lows Disappointing ride and handling, limited cargo capacity, third row barely suitable for small children.
  • Verdict The 2018 BMW X5 is a capable family hauler with a roomy and comfortable cabin, but its handling fails to satisfy, and its third row is barely adequate.


As the mid-size offering in BMW’s popular crossover X Series, the X5 should be expected to function as an upscale family hauler while also delivering the brand’s signature driving satisfaction. Unfortunately, its skills are more closely aligned with the first mission than the second, something we’re hoping BMW rectifies with the all-new model that is set to debut for 2019. In the meantime, buyers of the current X5 will appreciate its well-tailored cabin, velvety smooth gasoline engines, intuitive iDrive infotainment system, and above-average fuel economy.

What's New for 2018?

BMW tweaked the X5’s eight-speed automatic transmission for 2018 and made paddle shifters standard on the plug-in hybrid xDrive40e model. Both gasoline-powered 35i models and the diesel-burning 35d receive new trapezoidal tailpipe finishers, and non-hybrid X5s with the M Sport package can be upgraded to 21-inch wheels with performance run-flat tires.


Original MSRP:

  • sDrive35i: S58,195
  • xDrive35i: $60,495
  • xDrive35d: $61,995
  • xDrive40e: $64,745
  • xDrive50i: $75,045

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

A turbine-smooth gasoline-powered inline-six, a brawny V-8, an environmentally friendly four-cylinder plug-in hybrid, and an efficient diesel inline-six make up the BMW X5’s quartet of turbocharged powertrains. All X5s come with a slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive, except the gasoline-powered inline-six, which gets rear-wheel drive standard and all-wheel drive as an option. Over the past two years we’ve sampled all-wheel-drive examples of the gasoline-fueled 35i, 35d (diesel), and 40e plug-in hybrid models, and all of them delivered very similar performance at our test track. The fleet-footed xDrive35i sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds, tying the similarly powerful Volvo XC90 and Acura MDX. In the real world, all of the X5’s powertrains provide more than enough power to quickly merge into traffic, and they’re smooth and refined while doing so. Although BMW is a sporting brand, we don’t get any tingly feelings from the X5. It’s reluctant to play, and while it isn’t terrible to drive on twisty roads, it also doesn’t inspire the way some of its rivals do—or the way the original X5 did. The 2018 X5’s steering is lightly weighted and not particularly communicative. Body roll isn’t well controlled, and the X5’s ride is often harsh over road imperfections. Our xDrive35i test vehicle came equipped with the optional adaptive suspension, but it doesn’t provide either an agreeable amount of ride comfort or much corner-carving prowess.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest and most accurate fuel economy numbers on current and older vehicles, we use the U.S. Department of Energy's website. Under the heading "Find & Compare Cars" click on the "Compare Side-by-Side" tool to find the EPA ratings for the make, model, and year you're interested in.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

From its fine materials to its no-nonsense control layout, the X5’s interior is classic BMW. Our xDrive35i test vehicle’s glossy wood-grain trim added a classy element to the businesslike interior, but if that’s not your style, BMW offers brushed aluminum and textured open-pore wood trims. Seat comfort in the first and second rows is good, with plentiful cushioning and multi-way power adjustable front seats that offer great support. Long-distance drives in the X5 should be relaxing for driver and passengers alike, as long as they’re not relegated to the optional third row. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard for the first row, but an upgrade to a four-zone setup is optional. A power adjustable steering column helps you get properly situated, and heated front seats are standard; heated rear seats and ventilated front seats are optional. Admittedly, the X5’s cabin isn’t the poshest or most stylish in the segment, but it’s a comfortable and (mostly) accommodating space that’s lined with well-chosen materials and features. For those who need a third row of seats, there are far better options available. We’d suggest you move on to something more spacious, because the X5's third-row space will be cramped even for little kids. Cargo capacity with the second- and third-row seats folded is on the small end of the mid-size-crossover spectrum, but the X5 has a trick up its sleeve: much of its cargo room is available with the second-row seats raised.

Infotainment and Connectivity

BMW’s iDrive infotainment system lives inside a high-resolution 10.2-inch touchscreen standing tall atop the X5’s sculpted dashboard. Buyers seeking modern smartphone interfaces may find that their chosen operating system is excluded from iDrive. Apple CarPlay is a $300 option on any model, and Android Auto is, sadly, not offered at any price. All X5s offer standard navigation with real-time traffic updates, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, USB ports, and access to BMW’s Connected Drive smartphone app. The app remotely links to certain vehicle functions and also integrates with Amazon’s Echo personal assistant. A 4G LTE onboard Wi-Fi hotspot is optional and comes bundled with a wireless smartphone-charging pad, but it requires the Premium Tier package

Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings

Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)

View Crash Test Results

For more information about the BMW X5’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.


Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.


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