$35,489 - $66,757

2016 BMW X5 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 BMW X5 was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 9.0

Test drivers enjoyed the 2016 BMW X5’s sporty driving dynamics, but they note that the ride is both smooth and secure too.  The X5 has a variety of engine options that provide lively acceleration and the automatic transmission shifts seamlessly. 

  • "The 2016 BMW X5 is one of the best-handling midsize luxury crossovers around. Whether you're driving on back roads or on an endless expanse of interstate, the X5 is a champ, feeling secure and stable, yet also relatively fun to drive." -- Edmunds
  • "On the road, the X5 strikes a sublime balance between comfort and control." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "For a big SUV, BMW's 2015 X5 truly offers the ultimate driving experience." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "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 (2015)

Acceleration and Power

Powering the base 2016 BMW X5 sDrive35i is a 300-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. The xDrive50i comes with a 445-horsepower, turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard in all models. The base sDrive35i gets an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg city/highway, which is average for the class.

The performance-oriented X5 M comes with a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that makes 567 horsepower, and it has all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. According to BMW, the X5 M has a top speed of 156 mph and can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in four seconds.

Reviewers report the base six-cylinder engine has ample power. The V8 engine delivers incredible acceleration, even when driving up hills, according to test drivers. Some say the eight-speed automatic transmission always finds the right gear and shifts precisely.

  • "Engine performance is strong throughout the 2016 BMW X5 lineup, even with the base six-cylinder, which is refined and surprisingly vigorous in this heavy midsize crossover. The turbocharged V8 in the X5 xDrive50i, meanwhile, is a beast, delivering rapid acceleration when you want it while remaining civilized in commuter traffic." -- Edmunds
  • "The xDrive50i's twin-turbo V8 is a real hoot with its 445 eager horses, but if you're put off by this model's price and/or fuel economy, the other two engines are worthy substitutes." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "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)

Alternative Fuels/Charging

The 2016 X5 xDrive35d comes with a 255-horsepower, turbodiesel 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. BMW estimates the xDrive35d will get up to 24/31 mpg city/highway, which is better than what most diesel-powered rivals get. The X5 xDrive40e is an all-new plug-in hybrid, and it comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that together generate 308 horsepower. The xDrive40e can travel up to 14 miles in electric-only mode, according to the EPA, and it earns 56 mpg-equivalent, which is higher than that of its main competitor, the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid.

Most critics prefer the xDrive35d's turbodiesel engine over the gasoline engines, saying it offers plenty of power, brisk acceleration and excellent fuel economy.

  • "Still, our favorite engine is the xDrive35d's diesel six-cylinder. Its prodigious torque output gives you quick acceleration around town, yet it's still strong enough for easy passing on the highway. Its high fuel economy is just a fantastic bonus." -- Edmunds
  • "For our taste, the perfect compromise is the xDrive35d turbodiesel. Offering no sacrifice in performance but the best fuel economy of the lot, the diesel model costs only about $1,500 more than the gasoline-powered xDrive35i, yet delivers so much more in the way of passing and pulling power." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Our favorite, though, is the slightly pricier xDrive35d's turbodiesel engine, which effortlessly launches the 2.5-ton X5 with its 413 lb-ft of torque, and returns a mind-boggling 31 mpg hwy." -- AutoTrader (2015)

Handling and Braking

According to test drivers, the 2016 BMW X5 takes corners with ease, and it feels stable at speed while maintaining a comfortable ride for long journeys. The optional Dynamic Damper Control improves handling and constantly adjusts the suspension to balance handling composure and ride comfort, reviewers report, and they add the brakes are strong. The X5 has standard rear-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is available.

  • "Carefully tuned suspension and steering systems contribute much to the BMW X5's winning personality. In spite of its considerable size and weight, this midsize crossover steers with precision and feels athletic going around turns, yet it's also comfy enough for long-distance highway travel." -- Edmunds
  • "In corners, the X5's sedan-derived underpinnings deliver excellent handling precision, particularly if the optional active roll-stabilization system is specified. High-speed stability is exemplary, of course, with little road or wind noise to speak of. From the driver's standpoint, crossovers don't get much better than this." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "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 (2015)
  • "Braking performance was quite good, easily hauling the 4,800-pound machine down from speed. …" -- Autoblog (2014)

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