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2017 BMW X5 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 BMW X5 was new.


Performance: 9.0

Whether you choose the standard six-cylinder or one of the optional V8 engines, the 2017 BMW X5 should prove to have enough grunt for daily driving. You could even buy the plug-in hybrid model to save money at the gas pump. The X5 is one of the sharpest-handling SUVs in the class, and though its ride is on the firm side because of its handling, it is still also reasonably comfortable.

  • "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 (2016)
  • "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 (2016)
  • "On the road, the X5 strikes a sublime balance between comfort and control." -- Autotrader (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2017 X5 sDrive35i and xDrive35i come standard with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that puts out 300 horsepower. The xDrive50i gets a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that makes 445 horsepower. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The sDrive35i gets up to 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. That's pretty typical for a luxury midsize SUV. Opting for the all-wheel drive xDrive35i model only drops highway fuel economy by 1 mpg. If you want to save at the pump, consider a diesel-powered rival like the Mercedes-Benz GLE or Land Rover Range Rover Sport.

Most drivers will have no complaints with the base six-cylinder engine. It has ample muscle for everyday driving, whether you're fighting city traffic or cruising down the highway. For those who crave more power, the optional V8 won't disappoint. It delivers brisk acceleration, even when going up hills, but at the price of decreased fuel economy.

For performance junkies, there is one other option. The high-performance X5 M has a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 that makes 567 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. The X5 M accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4 seconds, and it has a top speed of 156 mph, according to BMW.

  • "For the vast majority of drivers, the base 35i six-cylinder engine provides more than enough power. Upgrading to the xDrive50i's V8 will probably feel like overkill for all but the most power-hungry drivers." -- 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)

Alternative Fuels/Charging

For drivers who want to be friendly to the environment but still want the passenger and cargo capacity of an SUV, the X5 is available as a plug-in hybrid. The X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid can travel up to 14 miles on electricity, and it gets 56 mpg-e. (What does mpg-e mean? Click here to learn more.) The xDrive40e's main competitor, the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, only gets 46 mpg-e. The X5 plug-in hybrid has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor that combined make 308 horsepower. You can charge the xDrive40e in under three hours with a 240-volt outlet or around seven hours using a 120-volt outlet.

Handling and Braking

The X5, which comes standard with rear-wheel drive, is one of the most athletic SUVs in the class. It stays level and composed around turns, with very little body roll. You can get all-wheel drive (xDrive) for more grip on slippery surfaces or just to give you additional agility through corners. BMW's Dynamic Damper Control system is also optional. It makes continuous suspension adjustments for each wheel to make sure you have the most comfortable or nimble ride you want. With its emphasis on sportiness, the X5 generally has a slightly firmer ride than some rivals, but it should be acceptable to most drivers. If you value comfort over athleticism, you may be better off with the Lexus RX 350's cloudlike ride.

  • "The 2017 BMW X5 distinguishes itself from competing SUVs by delivering excellent handling that inspires confidence no matter what kind of driving you do. As a result, the ride quality is a bit stiffer than that of rivals and can feel a little busy on broken pavement, but at no time does it feel objectionably firm." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2016)
  • "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)

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