[Review] X5 50i My Take
Note: This is also posted on Bimmerpost where I'm more active.
I spent the last year driving around in a 2018 X3 M40i, which was a fantastic SAV. While it drove closer to a full //M car than most would expect, this was not without some compromises. I loved how well it handled, not to mention the power and willingness of that B58 to hit redline. One thing I could not stand after a while was the ride quality. I first tried downsizing from OEM 21" wheels to OEM 20"s with non-RFT tires. This improved the ride a little, but not enough to prevent soreness after driving longer than 45 minutes. For this reason, I decided to go with something a little different: the G05 X5 50i which will be reviewed below.
BMW gets a lot of heat for their lack of big exterior changes year after year. Personally, I like the current styling including the massive kidney grill because it works really well. In person, the kidneys are still huge in an intimidating way to scare off lesser vehicles; no dialysis needed, here. BMW is known for their aggressive styling and the X5 certainly delivers.
Around the back, I'm not 100% convinced their new taillight design is pretty. The F15 had a nicer style. Perhaps this will grow on me over time like the X3 ones did. Hopefully BMW will change them to be more like the X7 which has a cleaner look.
I optioned my X5 with the M Sport styling, which includes a more aggressive look. This is coupled with beautiful blue accents in the form of headlight inserts (part of the exec package... more on this later) and brake calipers.
The stock exhaust surrounds and grill BMW are an ugly chrome which stuck out on an otherwise black exterior. Both of these parts were swapped for their natural black counterparts to give the car a proper look. BMW natively uses quad exhausts on their full //M cars, but some might be surprised to see those 4 cannons on the 50i. Their sound is deep, meaning it will wake your neighbors. I don't see how they could be mad because it sounds so proper on a midsized german SAV. If they are mad, it's not my fault my car is awesome.
If you optioned for the executive package (here in the US), your X5 will be adorned with stylish blue accented laser lights. While these may seem like a marketing gimmick, they do work very well even in their neutered US compliant state. At speeds over 37 mph with no oncoming traffic, you will be pleased to see everything due to their excellent range. I live in an area with virtually no street lights, meaning nighttime is pure darkness. The headlights never failed to illuminate my path sufficiently, whether going through a curve or on a straightaway.
It's hard to see the laser lights come on, as another person mentioned there's a gradual fade vs an instant on/off. This subtle shift is how you can tell they're working. I can only hope someone figures out the coding so we can all enable the euro-spec goodness on our headlights.
Ambient lighting is good as usual, but lacks a real array of color options. I wish BMW would go the route of Mercedes and offer anything on the RGBW spectrum instead of a few limited ones. Despite this the colors illuminate everything in a very upscale feeling way. When you add in the Bowers and Wilkins speaker lights the cabin feels more like the Las Vegas strip.
Coming from the sport, rather hard seats of my X3 M40i, these Merino wrapped Lazy Boys are something of a fantasy. There's no end to how comfortable, adjustable, and luxurious these seats are! My X5 has the comfort seats which have plush pillow-like headrests, supple Merino Individual leather, ventilation, heating and massaging features.
Even on long drives the seats are very comfortable. If you start to get stiff, just turn the massage on and you'll feel better. The back seats, while 'wrinkled', are very comfortable. I really like how BMW integrated a USB-C port into each seat back, alongside ambient lighting and an accessory mount. I have a table on one seat currently, which is rock solid.
From the optional Nappa leather dash + door tops to the crystal gear shift, there's no shortage of luxury offered in the X5. These are optional upgrade worth the cost, especially considering how marginal they are. I chose the Matte Anthracite wood trim, which is absolutely beautiful. There's something elegant about the open grained wood versus the glossy stuff you normally see.
For the seats, Merino leather gives you a nice diamond stitched pattern similar to the one featured in BMW's 7 Series. There's no hard plastic inside my X5. Even the bottom part of my doors has a soft-feeling material which is pleasant. All of the buttons give a satisfying click. The leather-wrapped M Sport steering wheel is thick and feels appropriate in an SAV this size.
Between the gigantic (12.3in) central screen, HUD, 12.3in fully digital instrument cluster, and the climate control screen, there's no shortage of sharp-looking screens to admire.
The resolutions are as follows:
Instrument cluster: 1920*720
iDrive 7 has been a mess since launching, which should come as no surprise. There are many well-documented issues, bugs and failures, some of which have been fixed. Aside from bugs, iDrive 7 provides a more user customizable UI that is great. I enjoy having my Sport Display Widget on the homepage, which was not possible in iDrive 6. There are more customizations than most people will ever use, but it's always nice to have options.
Another point of contention for many users has been the new instrument cluster. Seeing RPM climb in a very intuitive way takes time, but doesn't bother me. I think BMW has the right approach, especially with the customizable right side where you can add a variety of screens. The options are: Sport Displays, G Meter, media, MPG, trip and nothing. This is a huge improvement from the dynamic digital cluster in my X3 M40i, which basically did nothing other than look pretty.
If you opted for the DAP Professional, there are other great safety features built in such as an infrared camera. While the main benefit of the DAP Pro is only seen in heavy traffic on a highway, it's still a worthwhile addition if you deal with a lot of traffic on your daily commute. All drivers assist options work as intended and are a big step up even from my 2018 X3. The car doesn't 'ping pong' to maintain a central position in your lane. ACC does its job well, as should be expected.
Comfort access works as intended and can be a little sensitive at times. If I leave my key too close to my garage, the car will unlock/lock which is good to know. Remote start is another nice addition no offered on the F15 X5. While only Apple users can start via the BMW Connected App so far, everyone can use the key fob to do the same when in range.
Coming from a smaller SAV, storage in my X5 is massive. I have the spare tire option and can easily fit a few items under the trunk. Such items include a First Aid kit (there's a special place for one), privacy cover, and some detailing spray/window cleaner. One thing I'm disappointed by is the lack of cargo rails/netting. You basically get one giant trunk with no way of securing your cargo.
The center console seems a little smaller than the outgoing F15 generation, but has ample room for most items. There's also the small compartment left of the steering wheel, which can be used for a number of things. I normally keep my wife's small Kimber in there for easy access if needed. Sadly, as has been the case for a few years, BMW does not have a native place for sunglasses. I guess Germany doesn't get a lot of sun. Moving on to the glove box, you'll find a decent amount of room for whatever you choose to store inside. I always remove the user manual because it occupies too much space, and it's not needed when iDrive has one built in.
Performance and Driving
I've seen a lot of people question whether or not the N63M twin turbo V8 powered 50i is worth it. Putting things bluntly this will smoke 99% of cars you see daily while putting a big smile on your face. At 1500 rpm cruising down the highway, I can pop into sport mode and have all 479 lb-ft of torque instantly. This is unlike my X3 M40i, which always needed to drop a gear before I'd see max torque. Power comes on so smoothly you don't even notice before hitting triple digit speeds; change to sport and those plush seats will absorb your body as you take off! The power at any speed is crazy for a 5194lb SAV. This thing is a monster, especially since the 50i isn't an M Performance, let alone full //M model by any means. Of course the M50i is rumored to launch later this year, but the normal 50i is already fantastic.
Coming out of a corner in sport and hitting the gas feels like my M40i-- very fast, stable and thrilling for a vehicle of this size. Comparing things to my M40i, I think the X5 handles better but has a different feel to it. You get a more removed feeling despite pulling through corners the same way, even at higher speeds. Since the X5 is more luxurious than my X3, this isn't at all surprising. I'd say they're very much on the same level of fun for different reasons. The X5 is more refined at carving up roads, while the X3 has a raw feeling for a better connection to the car.
(I'll add updates as I gain more wheel time)
I've driven the X5 a bit more in Sport + with Traction control off to get a feel for things. The AWD system doesn't have the same heavy rear bias of my X3 M40i, I can't throw the back end out with TSC on, or really much with it off either. The M Sport diff seems to help lock things down and send power where it needs to go effectively. Accelerating through corners or launching isn't as dramatic mainly because you are so isolated inside the X5. Materials, insulation and the seats really help you not notice the speed you're going. On launch, it's very fast (I'll record some draggy 0-60 runs later) but doesn't feel quick. I suspect the car is running 4.4s or less based on launching my M40i dozens of times.
First run (4.59s) was using launch control, 2nd run (4.48s) was with DSC off. It'll run better times but I wasn't really trying to really test things. These are my first two preliminary runs so take it with a grain of salt. Other members have shown a 4.33s 0-60 time which I think is more accurate with better conditions not just me quickly testing somewhere not so discrete :confused0068:
The shift from 1st to 2nd seemed rather lethargic coming from an M40i, I think this added a good .1s to my times. If I see that happen again during a test I'll try using the paddles.
Think of the X5 as a refined SUV with plenty of power but less of a sensation from behind the wheel. The X5 can play both the commuter and sporty side of things, it simply does one better than the other.
After enjoying the nimbleness of my little X3, moving to the heavier X5 and expecting sportiness might seem pointless. Having the Dynamic Handling Package (DHP) on my 50i brings out the beauty inside this beast. Cornering is flatter, power instant, and the ride is superb. The X5 really pulls its weight by not only being a comfortable ride, but also handling like its smaller sibling. I haven't pushed things too hard yet, but the M Sport Differential, electronic body stabilization and M Suspension really shine. Bumps that I used to dread driving over in my X3 no longer make my spine go through the roof, even in sport mode. Another member on here said the X3 M40i is stiffer in comfort (static) then the X5 in sport; this is very accurate. This doesn't mean the handling is bad. To the contrary, the X5 simply handles things better without breaking your back.
I don't feel like the X5 has quite the same RWD bias my X3 did, but is still quite fun. I'll need to try driving with traction control off before giving a definitive opinion on BMW's implementation this time around.
Overall the G05 X5 50i is at the top of its class in luxury, dynamics, and everything in between. The Queen song "I'm in Love With My Car" never made much sense to me until now. If you want a fast vehicle but need to shuttle around kids (or if simply you don't want a sedan), the X5 is by far a clear choice!
IND OEM black painted grill
IND OEM body colored front and rear reflectors
BMW OEM Shadowline exhaust surrounds
BMW self centering wheel inserts
BMW aluminum roundel valve stem covers
BMW OEM door projectors
BMW all weather floor liners front+rear
BMW trunk liner
BMW rear seat table
Suntek PPF full front + rockers, partial roof, mirror caps, headlights, door cups etc
Feynlabs Heal+ coating on the door handles
Feynlabs Ceramic full exterior coating
Feynlabs Wheel + caliper ceramic coating
Suntek CIR ceramic tint 25% front, 5% everywhere else + eyebrow
"comparing things to my M40i, I think the X5 handles better but has a different feel to it."
That made me laugh thanks. The different feel would be akin to a battleship equipped with a speedboat engine. Exact reason I sold mine.
God, what on earth were BMW thinking when they designed those new instrument displays. They are the most ugly displays ever to grace a car.
Last edited by MrTitan; 04-03-2019 at 07:21 AM.
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