Don’t call it an SUV people, it’s a Sports Activity Vehicle, at least if you believe BMW. The new for 2019 BMW X5 is here, and it is, in addition to being an SUV (sorry) also a BMW, so that means it’s also much quicker than you’d expect.
Tipping the scales at over 5,000 lbs. the 2019 BMW X5 will never be presented as a featherweight canyon carver. It is, however, a very competent way to get you, some of your friends, and a bunch of gear down the road (or even a little off-road) pretty quickly.
Depending on which engine you choose, the new X5 can get from full stop to 60 mph in either 5.3 or 5.6 seconds, which is great, given the weight and shape of this beast.
That performance is all thanks to the engines the X5 can be equipped with: A twin-turbo straight six in the X5 xDrive40i or a blown V8 in the X5 xDrive50i. The 3-liter straight six (not a four-liter, despite the 40i badging) is said to rev like the blazes by BMW. I’ll wait and see on that, but, thanks to the twin-scroll turbocharger and direct injection tech, the six-banger has a maximum output of 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft. of torque.
Like I said, zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.
The big 8 features turbochargers positioned in the “V” between the cylinder banks. Again, the naming is strange because the V8 displaces 4.4-liters, even if it’s mounted in the xDrive50i. BMW says that newly designed heat plates are there to ensure effective thermal shielding for the crankcase and cylinder head, but I’ll believe that when I see one of these things with a quarter-million miles on it.
Mounting turbos and such within the V always makes me nervous, thermally speaking.
Anyway, the V8 mill puts out 456 horsepower with peak torque at 479 lb-ft. All of which is impressive and all of which adds up to a zero to 60 mph time of 4.6 seconds.
Transmission & Driveline Tech
Each engine is mated to a new version of the Bavarian’s eight-speed Steptronic transmission, with a wider ratio spread and new control electronics for overall efficiency. Downstream is BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system with a locking rear differential.
The latest generation of the BMW xDrive system is able to split drive torque between the front and rear wheels with even greater precision and speed, and, for added efficiency, full power can be directed to the rear wheels only.
Right. It’s for “efficiency.”
The standard wheel and tire set up is 19-inch light-alloy wheels, while the M Sport brings 20-inch, twin-spoke wheels to the party. 21 and 22-inch wheels are available.
All of this new stuff rides in an X5 that is 1.6 inches longer than its predecessor, 2.6 inches wider, and one inch taller. Despite styling issues (the ghost of Chris Bangle still haunts these design corridors), the 2019 BMW X5 has more space for passengers and their stuff. The new X5 comes standard with Adaptive LED headlights and now adds something called, I’m not kidding here, “BMW Laserlights.”
BMW Laserlights feature blue x-shaped elements that split up the hexagonal light sources inside the regular twin headlights.
The instrument panel is wide with sweeping horizontal lines and electroplated trim emphasizing the width of the interior. The same finish can be found on the large trim finisher and surrounds and the center console. The fully-digital instrument cluster and the center display are new; the center console hosts the iDrive Controller, the newly designed transmission selector, and all other driving-related controls.
There’s new Vernasca leather upholstery available in five colors and the heated sport seats come with standard electrical adjustments. Optional multi-function seats with massage and ventilation are also available.
The stereo is a fat Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System with 20 speakers and a 1,500-watt output. Rear-seat entertainment comprises a pair of 10.2-inch full-HD touchscreen displays, a Blu-ray- compatible DVD player, two USB ports, an HDMI socket, and two headphone jacks.
So shut up back there!
xLine and M Sport variants are also part of the mix for 2019. The standard xLine model uses lots of matte aluminum, in the underbody, roof rails, and side window surrounds. The pearl-effect chrome “accentuates the off-road character of the all-new 2019 BMW X5.” Sure, whatever.
The M Sport spec gets you wheel arch trim, bumper trim, rear underbody protection, and side skirts painted in body color, complimented by matte aluminum kidney grille bars. Oh and roof rails and side window surrounds in high-gloss black.
Yeah, that’s the M Sport. Not exactly the fire-breathing M you and I were hopping for.
Pricing & Availability
The 2019 X5 is produced at BMW’s Plant Spartanburg and will arrive in showrooms this November. The X5 xDrive40i will start at $60,700 with the X5 50i xDrive beginning at $75,750. Tack on another $995 for destination and handling.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.