Now in its third generation, BMW’s X5 SUV…oops, Sports Activity Vehicle by their terms, is a beautiful and luxurious option for those who want the upper echelon of the crossover market.
The Bavarian’s have done a stellar job of crafting a strong competitor against the likes of Audi, Lexus, Range Rover, Volvo, etc. and with the boom of crossover vehicles showing no signs of slowing down, the 2017 X5 hits all the right notes.
Appearance wise, there’s little to complain about as the X5 has all the right curves in all the right places and the signature BMW grille is aggressive and menacing but in a good way. The subtle design lines only improve the X5’s stance and beautiful wheel options frame the vehicle quite nicely. While it’s not easy to break the mold for the SUV world, BWM’s design team scores well for blending styling and class in a bigger vehicle.
Beneath the hood, this particular X5, the 35i, is equipped with a 3.0 L inline 6 cylinder bellowing out an even 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft. of torque distributed through a ZF 8-speed transmission . My tester was equipped with the $5,900 M Performance Package II (increases throttle response and you get some cool carbon fibre cosmetic upgrades) which bumps up horsepower by 20 ponies and adds 32 lb-ft of torque, all while shaving 0.5 seconds off the 0-100 km/h time, resulting in an even 6.0 seconds.
The handling on the X5 is absolutely wonderful...curves, turns and anything else outside of a straight line are taken with joy. Despite its height, the X5’s cornering capabilities rival that of cars much lower to the ground and result in an excellent driving experience. Steering feel is well balanced and for a larger vehicle, the X5 is surprisingly easy to drive.
Filling up with 85 litres of premium fuel will ensure your gas-points rewards are achieved much sooner, however the fuel efficiency ratings of 13/9.7/11.5 (city/highway/combined) for L/100 km will easily take you to Quebec City with plenty left over.
Yes, there are X5 variants with larger engines and more power but for me, I’d be quite happy toting around Canada in this version as I get the functionality of an SUV but the fun and excitement of a car-like drive.
The interior is unmistakable BMW, with is ultra-comfortable seats that nearly guarantee any body shape/size can be tailored to in high comfort (seriously, if I could have one of those as my office chair, I’d never leave my office) robust steering wheel and easy to operate iDrive system, along with a simple yet clear dashboard. The big hit for me is the new wireless Apple CarPlay (part of a $750 connectivity package that includes wireless charging) because it’s 2017 and nobody wants dangling cables in the cabin.
The $6,900 Premium Package Enhanced option gives you the park assistant technology, blind spot detection, heads-up display, heated rear seats, soft close doors and a ton of other goodies and it’s worth it if it suits your lifestyle.
If you’re looking for some additional upgrades, the M Sport Line option for $4,000 includes beautiful 20” M-style wheels, adaptive M-suspension, comfort seats up front, brushed aluminum trim, ceramic controls, a leather steering wheel and few other items.
This is one of the rare cases where you in fact seat five adults comfortably without the middle-rear passenger complaining.
Functionality is a key factor (at least it should be) in your SUV buying decision and the X5’s very cool two-part trunk is pretty damn impressive. As BMW says, “The upper section swings up high and allows smaller, lighter objects to be conveniently stowed and removed. The lower section creates a platform flush with the load compartment floor when open, allowing luggage to be set down before being loaded.” Adding to that is the 40-20-40 split rear seats and a total of 1,870 litres of cargo space with the rear seats folded.
All in all, the well-built, attractive and very comfortable 2017 X5 is one of my favourites in this segment. It simply does everything not just well but really well. If BMW wanted me to drive across Canada in one of them, I’d quickly say yes.
If there’s anything to be cautious of here, it’s how quickly the cost can escalate when reviewing the option sheet.
The MSRP for this X5 comes in at $68,500. My tester was stacked with $26,710 of options, which brought the price quite close to the six-figure mark.
Then again, this is most likely the second most expensive purchase you’ll make so make sure you spec it the way you want it with things you’ll actually use and benefit from.
However you spec it, if you’re in the market for a luxury SUV/Crossover/Sport Activity Vehicle, the 2017 X5 35i is definitely worth a strong look.
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