First Look: 2019 BMW X5

A largely evolutionary update to BMW's flagship utility vehicle.

by on Jun.05, 2018

The new BMW X5 continues the impressive mix of capability and luxury of its predecessors.

Few products have meant more to BMW, especially over the last couple decades, than the X5. The original Sport Activity Vehicle was a groundbreaking entry into what was then the just-emerging luxury market for utility vehicles.

Today, high-line utes have come to dominate traditional luxury sedans, coupes and sports car, bringing a flood of new entries – such as the all-new Audi Q8. BMW itself now has a range of SAVs, from the little X1 up, but it’s the original model that defines the brand as much as the classic 7-Series. So, BMW designers and engineers faced some serious pressure when they set to work on the fourth-generation X5.

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“The BMW X5 embodies the origins of the BMW X family and, in its fourth generation, sends out its most powerful message yet in terms of presence and modernity,” said BMW Group Design Director Adrian van Hooydonk, in a statement accompanying these images of the new X5. “It defines a new X design language – robust, clear and precise.”

The 2019 BMW X5 won’t shock loyal fans. The look is clearly evolutionary, though it’s more than just a mid-cycle refresh. Picking up on recent industry trends, the double-kidney grille grows larger – while avoiding the almost cartoonish excess of some competing products – and now feature a single-piece surround. The double X-shaped headlights are more slit-like, meanwhile, adopting Adaptive LED lamps, with laser lamps available in some markets. (For now, we understand, that won’t include the U.S.)

There’s a kinked crease running through the rear fenders, flowing into the rear lamps. The overall look is meant to give the 2019 X5 a more muscular and planted appearance, with the utility vehicles seeming to rise on its rear haunches.

The new X5 comes with a variety of gas powerplants and two diesels, likely for Europe only though.

(BMW opens new R&D facility in Beijing. Click Here for the story.) 

We’ll see a number of more subtle differences between the standard xLine and M Sport variants. Notes BMW: “The standard xLine model uses exterior cues including kidney grill bars finished in matte aluminum, underbody protection, roof rails and side window surrounds in satin aluminum, other accents in Pearl-effect Chrome, to accentuate the off-road character.” Key details on the M model, including the wheel arch trim and side skirts, are painted in body color, with matte aluminum kidney bar grilles and some other details in high-gloss black.

The xLine gets standard 19-inch light alloy wheels, the M a 20-inch alternative with twin spokes. There are 21- and 22-inch wheels available as options.

The wheelbase of the gen-4 model has been stretched 1.6 inches, moving the wheels closer to the corner while expanding the interior, as the overall length grows by just 1.5 inches. The 2019 model is also 2.6 inches wider and an inch taller. Expect a “more generous space for passengers and their luggage,” suggests the Bavarian automaker, though we’ll have to wait to see what it’s like once we can crawl inside.

The wheelbase of the gen-4 model has been stretched 1.6 inches, moving the wheels closer to the corner while expanding the interior.

Inside, as we noted, the release images suggest a more spacious cabin of relatively evolutionary design. The infotainment screen now measures a full 12.3 inches. But what might catch the eye of those familiar with the earlier X5 models is the fact that there are buttons. Lots of them. While some competitors continue to push towards a largely button-less future, either using touchscreen, knob or touchpad controls, BMW appears to have listened to buyers who say they want a mix, depending on the specific application. So, they’ll get more conventional access to climate control and some audio functions.

(Click Here for more about BMW’s new iX3 electric vehicle.)

As with other models, a touchpad has been worked into the familiar iDrive controller. In back, there are two 10.2-inch touchscreens, however. And the new X5 can be ordered with an assortment of AV gear, including the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System punching 1,500 watts through 20 speakers.

The new model will include onboard WiFi, a system that adds the benefit of BMW being able to push through over-the-air software upgrades for some vehicle functions. The automaker has not yet made clear if that will include deep functions, such as engine and safety system controls, however.

The new X5 gets an xDrive40i with a 340 hp 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six, as well as an xDrive50i with a 462 hp 4.4-liter turbo-eight.

Under the skin, the 2019 BMW X5 retains the past generations CLAR, or Cluster Architecture, platform, with a double-wishbone front suspension and a five-link rear.

For now, BMW is confirming an xDrive40i with a 340 horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six gas engine, as well as an xDrive50i with a 462 hp 4.4-liter turbo-eight. There will also be two diesel models, though it is unclear whether either will make it to the States. Expect to see the automaker follow with a fuel-miserly four-cylinder model which might also be limited to overseas markets. But you can certainly expect that M Sport which will get the latest M5 sedan’s 592 hp twin-turbo version of the 4.4-liter V-8.

(To see more about BMW unleashing its most powerful M5 ever, Click Here.)

We expect to see the new 2019 BMW X5 arrive in U.S. showrooms late this autumn.

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