BMW was among the first upscale car manufacturers to get into the crossover/SUV segment when it introduced the X5 in 1999. Now, as the German company is preparing to launch a fourth-generation X5 as a 2019, it's sending the third-gen version out with a few changes.
Key among them is an updated transmission for gas and diesel-powered versions, paddle shifting for the plug-in hybrid model and a backup camera added as standard across the range to comply with new Canadian safety regulations requiring one in every new car sold here from May 2018.
BMW says the new gearbox for xDrive35i, 35d and 50i promises quicker shifting. While the xDrive40e hybrid sticks with the same hardware as last year's model, it adds a degree of driver involvement with steering-wheel mounted shift paddles.
Once again, the X5 range comprises four models, each built around a different engine. The xDrive35i uses a 3.0L turbocharged six-cylinder that makes 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. In the xDrive35d, a 3.0L turbodiesel does the work with 255 hp and 413 lb-ft while the range's other alt-fuel model, the xDrive40e, derives 308 hp and 332 lb-ft from the combination of a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder and electricity. Atop the range is the xDrive50i with its turbo 4.4L V8, good for 445 hp and 479 lb-ft. As the xDrive label indicates, all four come standard with all-wheel drive.
There's also a high-performance X5M, covered in its own buyer's guide article.
The 40e is notable for its promise of 28 km of driving range on a fully-charged battery, though running as a hybrid -- on gas and electricity -- its fuel consumption estimates of 10.2/9.5 L/100 km (city/highway) are less thrifty than the diesel's 10.3/8.0 L/100 km. For gas-powered models, estimates are 13.0/9.8 for the six-cylinder and 15.6/11.3 L/100 km.
The X5 xDrive40e gives BMW something like a competitor for the Volvo XC90 T8, though that Swedish model boasts significantly more power. Between that and this car's limited electric driving range, call this model a practice run for its future full electric models.
Standard kit in 35i trim includes 19-inch wheels, steerable LED headlights, adaptive brake lights, fog lights, heated, auto-dimming and power-folding side mirrors, heated windshield washer jets, front and rear park assist, backup camera, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated steering wheel and front seats, power-adjustable tilt-and-telescopic steering, power tailgate, 10-way adjustable front seats with driver memory, Dakota leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, nine-speaker stereo with USB and auxiliary inputs and CD player, and Bluetooth.
40e models add 20-inch wheels.
50i trim reverts to 19-inch wheels, but gets soft-close doors, garage door opener and navigation with voice control.