2019 BMW X5 front three-quarter view.

BMW’s all-new 2019 X5 looks a lot like the model it replaces. But the new SUV is wider, taller, and longer, and it comes standard with important advanced safety and driver-assist systems.

The automaker released details about the new SUV this week, but the actual debut could be at the Paris auto show this fall, according to reports.

The new X5 comes at an important time for BMW. It is the brand’s second-best-selling model (behind the 3 Series) in North America, and it faces stiff competition from the Audi Q7 (a Consumer Reports Top Pick), Lexus RX, and Volvo XC90.

2019 BMW X5
What it competes with: Acura MDX, Audi Q7, Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Volvo XC90
What it looks like: The new X5 looks very similar to the previous-generation model, with a taller “twin-kidney” grille and aggressive front-end styling.
Powertrains: Two engine will be available, a 335-hp, 3.0-liter turbo six-cylinder and a 456-hp, turbo 4.4-liter V8. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are standard.
On-sale date: November 2018

2019 BMW X5 rear three-quarter view.

Outside

At a glance, the 2019 X5 hardly looks like a redesign because the changes are so subtle. The traditional BMW grille is significantly taller and wider, and the headlights are more in line with those on the X2 and X3 SUVs. There are some sculpted creases at the top and bottom of the doors, and the wheel arches are more pronounced than in the outgoing version. The standard adaptive LED headlights move in the direction the steering wheel is turned; the taillights are also LEDs.

2019 BMW X5 interior.

Inside

BMW has made significant changes to the X5’s interior; the most significant are to the infotainment screen and the arrangement of many controls. The center console has taken on a look similar to other recently redesigned BMWs, with angular air vents and minimalist controls for the climate system.

The infotainment system features a 12.3-inch touch screen that sits above the air vents, like in the previous X5, but it appears to be better integrated into the dashboard. Users can interact with the screen through the iDrive control knob on the center console, through the touch screen, by using a “table-like touch surface,” or by using gestures, similar to the BMW 5 and 7 Series sedans.

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The system allows drivers to customize their preferred settings, which are then stored online in BMW’s cloud. This information can then be used by the same driver in other BMW vehicles. Different categories—such as entertainment or navigation—can be arranged into one of four layouts, and different pages can be accessed by swiping with a finger.

A 12.3-inch screen is used for the fully-digital gauge cluster in the instrument panel, similar to Audi's Virtual Cockpit. The gauges are now located further to the sides of the instrument cluster, and the center portion between them is wider, to better display navigation routes and maps. The display can change based on the selected driving mode, such as Sport or Eco.

All X5s get a four-zone climate control system and a panoramic glass roof, which is claimed to be 30 percent larger than the one in the outgoing model. The standard seating package accommodates five occupants, but a two-person third-row seat will be available later. Both the second- and third-row seats are powered. This allows the second row to move forward and back, and tilt to allow third-row access, and enables both rows to fold flat.

What Drives It

Both the six- and eight-cylinder engines in the new X5 are turbocharged. The X5 xDrive40i uses a 335-hp, 3.0-liter six-cylinder that has a claimed 0-to-60-mph time of 5.3 seconds. The xDrive50i is powered by a new 456-hp, 4.4-liter V8, and can haul the X5 from rest to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, BMW says.

Both engines use an eight-speed automatic transmission, which has been updated to improve fuel efficiency, the automaker says. All-wheel drive is standard on all X5s.

The standard air suspension will be able to level the vehicle at each wheel, such as when driving on uneven surfaces. Owners can lower the rear of the X5 to make it easier to put items in the cargo area. The X5 has a lower ride height when the Sport mode is activated, and the X5 is the first BMW SUV with an available off-road package for driving on gravel, sand, rocks, or snow.

Safety & Driver-Assist Systems

BMW’s standard Active Driving Assistant includes forward-collision warning (with a pedestrian and cyclist warning), low-speed automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic warning, and rear automatic emergency braking.

BMW says the optional Active Driving Assistant Professional includes Traffic Jam Assist with extended hands-off time; lane-keeping assist; and automatic lane change, which assists the driver when making a lane change, provided that the system has determined that it’s safe to do so. Other systems are available to help drivers when they're reversing, pulling into parking spaces, and stopping during a medical emergency.

CR's Take

The outgoing BMW X5 is still competitive. It scored well in our road tests and had above-average reliability, but in recent years it has been surpassed by the Audi Q7 and Lexus RX in our Overall Score. This X5 redesign includes key safety features as standard equipment, which we like. But redesigned models, in general, tend to drop off in our reliability surveys in their first year of release, and this new model features a lot of new technology. We’ll know more when we buy our own X5 to test later this year.