Product Reviews
Take Action

Fight for Fair Finance

Tell the administration and Congress to stand up for the consumer watchdog that protects you from financial fraud and abuse.
Take Action
Why Do We Have Campaigns?
We're fighting to ensure you and your family can get a fair deal in the marketplace, especially on the choices that matter most: health care, privacy, automobiles, food, finances and more. Join our campaigns and together, we'll hold corporations and lawmakers accountable.

BMW X5 delivers sporting edge, but with compromises

Consumer Reports News: April 26, 2012 08:08 AM

Find Ratings

See Dealer Pricing

BMW has a reputation for offering dynamic handling, great engines, nice interiors, and complicated controls. These traits are all present in the X5, an updated SUV that faced off against the Mercedes-Benz ML350 in the June issue of Consumer Reports.

The X5 steps up the game by replacing its naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine with a 300-hp, 3.0-liter turbocharged six mated to an eight-speed transmission. This new engine delivers smooth, powerful acceleration, but it drinks premium fuel at a modest rate of 18 mpg. You can also opt for a diesel that delivers 4 more mpg.

Sporty to drive, the X5 has quick and communicative, though heavy, steering. Excellent body control and low body lean instill confidence and make it fun to drive, belying the X5's weight and size. But an overly firm ride that feels choppy may limit its appeal to some drivers.

The interior is nicely finished, though the controls remain complicated. Even the shifter demands more attention than those in most vehicles. The front seats are very supportive. The second-row seat is roomy enough for three adults, but the optional third-row seat is tiny and best suited to small children. Equipping the X5 with the third-row seat means sacrificing a spare tire, and cargo space is extremely limited when it's in use. BMW doesn't recommend child seats be used in the third row, and we found that LATCH connectors can be difficult to access for the second row.

At $62,675, our X5 was pricey. While it delivers in many regards, there are better luxury SUVs available and for less money.

See our SUV buying advice and Ratings.

Jeff Bartlett

Find Ratings

SUVs Ratings

View and compare all SUVs ratings.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Cars News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more