$23,690 - $44,137

2015 BMW X5 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 BMW X5 was new.


Performance: 8.9

The 2015 BMW X5 impresses reviewers with its three available engines that deliver superb power, quick acceleration and good fuel economy estimates. The X5 also earns praise for its strong brakes, comfortable ride and surprisingly athletic handling.

  • "Now in its third generation, the BMW X5 continues to be one of the top midsize luxury crossovers for those who place a premium on driving enjoyment." -- Left Lane News
  • “… the X5's acceleration, sporty handling, and availability of a frugal diesel engine are highlights." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The 2014 BMW X5 is one of the best-handling midsize luxury crossovers around. Whether driving on back roads or on an endless expanse of interstate, the X5 is a champ, feeling secure and stable yet also relatively nimble and fun to drive." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "Whichever X5 you choose, you'll be treated to a larger utility vehicle that feels more like a sports sedan." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2015 BMW X5 sDrive35i comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 300 horsepower. A 255-horsepower, turbodiesel 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine and a 445-horsepower, turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine are available in xDrive35d and xDrive50i models, respectively. All models come with an eight-speed automatic transmission. According to the EPA, the base X5 gets 19/27 mpg city/highway, which is good for a luxury midsize SUV. At 24/31 mpg city/highway, the diesel-powered X5 earns some of the best fuel economy estimates in the class.

Test drivers say all X5 models have excellent power delivery, with quick acceleration and plenty of power for the highway. While reviewers are impressed with each engine, they’re particularly pleased with the fuel economy and power that the turbodiesel engine provides. A few also say the 2015 X5’s eight-speed transmission shifts smoothly and always finds the correct gear.

  • "Rapid acceleration is on tap as well, regardless of whether one chooses the ‘base’ turbocharged inline-6, the turbocharged V8 or the diesel-fueled turbocharged six-cylinder. The latter also delivers impressive fuel economy, rating an EPA-estimated 27 mpg in combined driving." -- Edmunds
  • "Our pick, however, is BMW's turbodiesel 6-cylinder. It offers a fine balance of power and fuel economy, and only costs $1,500 more than a comparable gasoline-powered version." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)
  • "If the diesel does everything you'd ever want, then the V-8 does everything you'd ever dream of. Matting the throttle in the V-8 not only gives a musclecar-like growl, but the same thrust. Passing on uphill two-lanes was more an exercise in self-control with respect to local laws instead of the stress of whether or not you'll make it around that logging truck." -- Motor Trend (2014)
  • "The nought-to-60 mph sprint comes in just under seven seconds thanks to the imperceptibly smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox. Even up and down mountain grades in the Canadian Rockies, we noticed little to no gear hunting." -- Left Lane News (2014 xDrive35d)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers agree that the BMW X5 has sharp handling and feels stable around corners. They like that the X5 rides comfortably, and a few appreciate the X5’s strong brakes. The 2015 X5 comes standard with rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive is optional. An available Dynamic Damper Control system adds selectable suspension settings (Comfort, Comfort+ and Sport) and adapts the suspension to driving conditions in real time.

  • "An agile handler by class standards even in entry-level form, the X5 can be upgraded with a Dynamic Damper Control option that adds adaptive dampers - they adjust to driving conditions in real-time to prioritize handling or ride comfort as necessary - and a self-leveling rear air suspension." -- Left Lane News
  • "That sporty soul comes by way of a well-sorted suspension that manages to provide confident handling abilities along with a quiet, supple ride over pockmarked city streets and freeways." -- Edmunds
  • "Even those of us who scoff at the idea of an Ultimate Driving Machine standing tall and weighing about 5,000 pounds have to concede that the X5 steers keenly and handles transitions with a poise made possible by its rear air spring, adaptive shocks and skillful chassis tuning." -- AutoWeek (2014)
  • "Braking performance was quite good, easily hauling the 4,800-pound machine down from speed. ..." -- Autoblog (2014)

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