The BMW X5 is a great all-round family car. There are 3 models to choose from with the xLine being the entry level. The petrol and diesel models start at £61,995 and we test drove the Plug-in hybrid x-drive 45e which starts at £67,810.
This is a good looking, solid car. Entry level is in white and from £795 you can have the choice from a larger metallic palette to really show off this car.
Rivals include the Volvo XC90 and Mercedes GLE. However, with the Plug-in X5 you cannot have the optional 3rd row to make the vehicle a 7-seater. Unlike the Petrol / Diesel models the large battery takes up the space of this optional extra.
The drive is effortless and there is a sense of power when you put your foot down. The car is great for either town or rural drives and has an excellent electric range of around 50 miles. This is more than adequate for most covering everyday trips such as to school, clubs and work. On a negative note, the charge time is quite slow and you will not be stopping for a ‘quick charge’. Generally, with Plug-in vehicles versus fully electric cars the ability to charge does take longer. A 3-pin plug at home will take up to 11 hours and from a fitted wall box about 7 hours. The wall box is an extra at £899.
The BMW X5 is kitted out beautifully. A parking camera and rear / front sensors are standard and there is the option to upgrade to the very clever 3D and 360 degree camera which also has a driver record function. With all the whistles and bells this car can park anywhere and the BMW’s parking assistance will even be able to suggest parking spaces. How clever!
When we climbed into the car there was a sense of luxury and comfort. Lots of soft to touch finishes. The car has memory function so not only the seat went into the perfect position, but the leather steering wheel also automatically moved into the right spot. Even when we drove off the seatbelts gave a little tug to make sure they too were in the perfect position!
The drivers digital display and infotainment screen are both the same size at 12.3 inches each. Brilliant graphics and very clear on both screens. In the driver’s seat, where everything is at your fingertips, BMW have ticked every functionality box…. a touchscreen, steering wheel buttons, rotary dial, intuitive voice commands and, if you want to be super lazy and upgrade, gesture control. Thumb one way and the music goes up and thumb the other way and the music goes down…. although we both thought that smaller passengers would have too much fun playing around with this! To go full out on the tech you can plump for the entertainment package at £2995 and the rear passengers are treated to their own 10.2-inch touchscreens which can also be interchanged with your own devices such as an MP3 player. On top of this you will also receive a TV receiver with digital reception. Claire and I are thinking about relocating to the car when family life gets a bit too hectic or shouty! Plus, the car has ambient lighting with a wealth of different colours to suit your mood. Although we both thought that this was a bit of a novelty that would probably wear off pretty quickly.
Seats & Passenger Space
All models come with vernasca leather in ivory, coffee or black. Great quality and perfect for dealing with the wear and tear of family life. If you want to really splurge then from £995 you can go for the softer merino leather. The seating throughout was super comfortable. The driver’s seat could be moved into the perfect spot with the press of a button. With the comfort package all the seating is heated along with a ventilation function for those warm days or long drives. This upgrade will also give you a back massage too although we were in debate as to whether this is a must.
The rear doors open beautifully wide which makes life easier when fighting to get smaller children in / out of their seats. There are two isofix points on the outer bench and we were able to fit in a smaller booster seat in the middle of two standard car / booster seats. For the larger people there was plenty of leg and head room. The Plug-in X5 has a flat floor running through the cabin. There are vents in the middle and outer door columns to provide a good circulation of warm or cold air. The one downside was that for a premium car it is an extra for rear window blinds or tinted sun protection glass. This is something that should come at entry level for a car in this bracket.
Cups & Cubby
The BMW X5 is great for storage and extras. The door bins in both the front and rear have heaps of space. There is a handy little drawer to the right of the steering wheel. A safe spot for house keys, spare change etc. The arm rest houses more space and, albeit there is a wireless charging pad, there is also a USB port positioned here. Our favourite little spot of luxury is the cupholders. Perfectly positioned in front of the gear change and each holder can be switched on to be warm or cold. We would have loved this when the children were small to keep a bottle of formula warm! The glovebox is adequate for a few bits and bobs.
On the back of the front seats there is a clever strip of ambient down lighting and below here are pockets to store an iPad or similar.
If you haven’t opted for the entertainment package you can also, for less expense, have the travel and comfort system fitted. With this there is a hook to potentially hang a jacket / bag and a USB port on the back of the front seat. You can get an adaptor and pop your own iPads/ screens here to cover off those long drives.
If the middle seat is not in use then the pulldown rear armrest has two pop out cup holders to stop the children’s bottles from falling into the footwell.
The Plug-in hybrid sacrifices some boot space (650 litres to 500). That said the shape and space was still very practical. Although for larger dogs they may lose a bit of head room! Plenty of room for a buggy or even a larger pram. The exciting and clever bit was the electronic split tailgate. Brilliant for a large family SUV. Once the tailgate was fully open there is a handy spot for propping up smaller children. Great for tackling wellies or removing muddy rugby or football boots. Storage can be found underneath the floor to store a charging cable.
The BMW X5 is a fantastic all rounder and really did tick all the boxes. We would like one!
** Boosters used in this review: Cozynsafe Tambu (width 45cm), Halfords Essential (width 39.5cm), Graco Basic (width 53.7cm) – dimensions from widest part of booster
Starting Price (Plug In Hybrid) : £ 67,810
Starting Price (Petrol) : £ 61,995