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BMW X5 2015 review


In the beginning there were prestige SUVs. They were big, lumbering behemoths with a token concession to luxury and the on-road manners of a bus in need of a wheel alignment.

Then BMW built the X5 in 1999 and rebooted the soft-road segment with sedan-like interiors and respectable road manners.

Performance SUVs suddenly weren't an oxymoron and everyone from the likes of Range Rover to Porsche looked to cash in on the newly created niche.

But the X5 remains the people's favourite. Entry starts with the rear-wheel drive s25i at $83,900 and rises to $148,400 for the M50d. CarsGuide's all-wheel drive x30d is the sweet spot in price and performance at $100,400.


Big horizontal lights and a stretched kidney grille are used to offset the height of the X5 but there's no disguising the slab-sided profile endemic to the SUV species. The positives of that mean plenty of head and leg room for back-seat occupants. The tailgate is a two-piece unit with the powered glass section and a manual-release lower section that doubles as a convenient picnic shelf.

The interior is traditional BMW, dominated by a 10.2-inch multimedia screen linked to a 20GB hard drive. The ergonomics are excellent; the cabin is loaded with stowage spots.

About town 

A reversing camera and decent side mirrors means parking the X5 isn't the chore its size might suggest. The light steering is a boon at low speeds, but it can't overcome the X5's poor turning circle.

Cargo space is a more than respectable 650 litres. That's not class-leading but it will happily deal with four suitcases or a weekend's worth of camping gear.

A head-up speed display proves its worth on camera-infested roads and the satnav gives advice well before the turns.

On/off the road

Loping along freeways or looming up behind other drivers on country roads is the X5's forte. It is a big, comfy cruiser with very little body roll to unsettle the passengers and enough ground clearance to head off the beaten track.

Hill descent control is standard on all-wheel drive models and reins in the two-tonne mass on steep declines without the driver having to ride the brake.

Five power outlets ensure everyone can plug in a device of their choosing.


This is where the x30d stomps on its prestige rivals. A 100km/h sprint time of 6.9 seconds can't be matched by rivals and that edge holds during roll-on acceleration.

Feral can also be frugal, with the Beemer's claimed fuel use of 6.2L/100km is also better than the opposition. CarsGuide managed a respectable 9.2L/100km in predominantly city driving.

The damping can be switched from Comfort to Sport and neither quite hit the spot. It is too soft in the former and too jittery for its target audience in the latter.

The heavy diesel over the nose makes it want to steer straight on when pointed into a corner at speed, although the BMW retains the most car-like handling of the trio of Germanic marques.


It ain't perfect but the X5 30d is clearly best example of a performance diesel SUV on the market for the price. The original is still the best in this category.

What's it got

Dual-zone aircon, ambient lighting, lane departure warning and forward collision alert with auto braking.

What it hasn't 

Third-row seats are a $4600 option with separate aircon controls. Other items that cost extra include metallic paint at $2000 and paddle-shifters at $400.


The X5 holds its value well with a 63 per cent resale after three years, according to Glass's Guide. Combine that with an upfront capped-price servicing program that starts at $1290 and covers the first five years or 80,000km of driving and it holds its own in the prestige car ranks.

Pricing guides

Based on 277 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

X6 M 4.4L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $58,700 – 74,250 2015 BMW X Models 2015 X6 M Pricing and Specs
X6 M50D 2.9L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $55,900 – 70,620 2015 BMW X Models 2015 X6 M50D Pricing and Specs
X1 Sdrive 18D 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $22,900 – 31,130 2015 BMW X Models 2015 X1 Sdrive 18D Pricing and Specs
X1 Sdrive 18D Sportline 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $17,400 – 24,200 2015 BMW X Models 2015 X1 Sdrive 18D Sportline Pricing and Specs
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.