Utility vehicles, both crossovers and traditional SUVs, have taken over the American Road and it’s beginning to long for the style, passion and performance that old-fashioned sports cars and sedans brought to the garage or parking lot.
But some utility vehicles do offer style and performance that blend nicely with the utilitarian practicality of the enormously popular shape. While the BMW X5 looks like a midsized utility vehicle and doesn’t have a reverse grille, it still manages to maintain the German automaker’s long- and well-established tradition of giving each of its vehicle at least a piece of the soul of a sports car.
The X5, which is all new for 2019, is nimble with quick, accurate steering. It is also nicely balanced and gives a driver a sense of enormous confidence under a variety of driving conditions. The vehicle’s nicely calibrated driving dynamics are supported with a suspension that seems tuned with some extra agility not often found in a midsized family-oriented vehicle.
As you might expect, the ride and handling of X5 were most impressive on all types of road surfaces, including gravel and the rough pavement that is all too common around my home in southeastern Michigan. At the same time, the vehicle had more than enough power to pull away from traffic from a dead stop, and it accelerated nicely on freeways.
I found it was also a smooth and efficient cruising vehicle. Even at 80 miles per hour you always just knew you had a lot more speed at your disposal.
The chassis of the 2019 uses double-wishbone front axle and a five-link rear axle for better traction and is equipped with dynamic responses from the electronically controlled dampers are designed to aid the X5’s handling.
The driver can select from two performance settings – comfort-oriented or sport – using the Driving Experience Control switch. The model I drove also came with an “M-Brake” package that was borrowed from BMW’s fabled “M” line vehicles so stopping power was never an issue.
The power at the heart of X5 comes from a turbo-charged, six-cylinder inline engine that is matched to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission, while BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive that to ensures power is used to the vehicles best advantage while it is in motion.
The version of BMW X5, which was equipped with xDrive40i that I drove produce 335 horsepower and 330-foot pounds of torque. While I didn’t have a chance to put instruments on the vehicle to check the actual numbers, BMW said it could go 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.
My experience was that seemed about right.
New electronics on the X5 help to increase the powertrain’s overall efficiency. It gets 22 miles per gallon in the EPA’s combined rated and the eight-speed transmission moves through the different gears without any fuss or missing a beat
BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system has been recalibrated and refined to split drive torque between the front and rear wheels with even greater precision and speed as the road demands
The 2019 X5 is larger than the previous generation. The wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than its predecessor, 1.1 inches longer, an extra 2.6 inches wider and 1 inch higher. All of this extra space gives the all-new 2019 BMW X5 both a generous level of interior space for passengers and their luggage.
On the exterior, the designers have emphasized the traditional BMW front fascia with an iteration of the company’s distinctive grille. At the same time, the designers also have emphasized clean lines and surfaces that seem to simplify the vehicles the vehicles overall appearance.
Even the design of the light fixtures at the front and rear corners of the vehicle have been refined a simplified in keeping with the overall thrust of the exterior with its short front overhang, hexagonal wheel arches that help signal the vehicles comes from the BMW design studio.
In addition to quietly emphasizing BMW’s tradition of sportiness, the X5 but is also equipped with the latest driver assistance technology designed to assist drivers make and make their journey safer and more enjoyable. The features included park assist, surround view camera displayed on the center-stack screen as well as wireless charging and a head up display to take prompts from the navigation system and remind the driver of changes in the speed limit.
LED lighting is standard on the X5 and the lighting scheme throughout the cabin while driving at in the dark illuminates critical switches without becoming a distraction in a long night-time journey.
The X5 also features luxury touches throughout the interior space to make the driver and passengers feel a bit pampered on their journey. The materials, as you have every right to expect in a vehicle costing nearly $73,000, seem lush. The leather used in the interior is most supple and the sound system first rate.
For some motorists, the transition from sedans to utility vehicles has come with a measure of regret but BMW X5 xDrive40i seems to make them fade away with its commitment to style and performance as well as functionality.