2020 BMW X5

By April 1, 2020

The 2020 BMW X5 mid-size luxury SUV sets the standard for its class.

In its current form, the X5 is bigger than its predecessor, providing more interior space. Quieter and more serene inside, the 2020 BMW X5 benefits from a stiff body.

A new M50i model has joined the lineup for the 2020 model year, producing 67 more horsepower than the 50i. Otherwise, little has changed apart from smartphone compatibility. Wireless charging is now standard on 50i and M50i, as is a wi-fi hotspot. A particularly powerful X5 M also has joined the 2020 group, to be followed by a new 6-cylinder 45e plug-in hybrid.

Four trim levels are offered for 2020: base 40i, 50i, more potent M50i, and hotter-yet X5 M. In the 40i, a marvelous turbo-6 develops 340 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. A twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 propels the 50i, whipping up 456 hp and 479 pound-feet.

Despite its heft, the base model is capable of 0-60 mph acceleration in 5.3 seconds, while the 50i takes just 4.6 seconds. Each engine mates with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The 40i is the only version available with either rear-drive or all-wheel drive (dubbed xDrive by BMW).

Under an M50i hood, the V-8 gets a boost to 523 horsepower. Topping the performance group is the new X5 M, packing an upgrade of the V-8 that generates a whopping 600 or 617 horsepower.

Every X5 includes automatic emergency braking, forward-collision and lane-departure warnings, and blind-spot monitors. Crash-test results have been mixed. The IIHS named the X5 a Top Safety Pick+, when equipped with adaptive headlights. The X5 earned top “Good” scores in all IIHS crash tests, and was rated “Superior” at preventing forward collisions.

The X5 earned only a four-star rating overall and for frontal impact from the NHTSA, but five stars for side impact.

Outward vision is a challenge, which is typical of large SUVs. Parking sensors and a surround-view camera system can help considerably.

Model Lineup

Prices include $995 destination charge.

The X5 40i ($59,895 with sDrive rear-drive, $62,195 with xDrive all-wheel drive) gets 19-inch wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Upgrading to V-8 power, the X5 xDrive50i ($77,145) has standard all-wheel drive and a 456-hp V-8, plus real leather upholstery.

The X5 M50i ($83,145) comes with rear-drive, upgraded brakes, M sport steering wheel, adaptive suspension, aero body kit, multi-contour seats, wireless smartphone charging, and 20-inch wheels. At the apex of the performance spectrum, the new tech-loaded X5 M ($105,100) gets a rowdy version of the V-8, rated at 600 horsepower (617 in Competition form).

Exterior

For the most part, BMW focuses on the X5’s interior more than its body. Massive air intakes dominate the front, overpowering a familiar grille shape and LED headlights.

Thankfully, BMW has retained its two-piece tailgate, which has been an X5 hallmark. Specific body details identify each trim line. Each xLine edition, for instance, features satin aluminum trim and skirts with black wheel arches. Those arches are body-colored on M Sport variants, which get a modified front bumper.

Interior

Beautiful as well as spacious, the BMW X5’s cabin can be fitted with as many as three digital screens. BMW earns kudos for good seats in both rows, as well as ample cargo capacity and exquisite fit/finish. Whether upholstered with synthetic or genuine leather, the interior is enhanced by metallic finishes, open-pore wood, or high-gloss surfaces.

As many as seven passengers can fit into an X5 with the turbo-6 engine, but five is more realistic. Third-row seating is cramped, and unavailable for V-8 models.

Standard front seats are comfortable and eight-way adjustable, with standard heating. Multi-contour seats with up to 20-way adjustment and good leg support are available (standard in V-8 models).

Rear-seat leg space tops 37 inches, while an upright seating position can correct posture. Head clearance also is good. Three folks can sit in back without much difficulty, though the seats don’t recline.

Infotainment works well, using a good 10.3-inch touchscreen with high-definition display. The digital instrument cluster is less appealing.

Behind the second row, an X5 holds 33.9 cubic feet of cargo. Fold the rear seatbacks and volume grows to 72.3 cubic feet. Storage cubbies abound.

Driving Impressions

Any 2020 BMW X5 is ready to provide a comfortable ride with plenty of available power, delivered in a predictably smooth manner. BMW has given its X5 two of its best engines, including an excellent base turbo-6. The 8-speed automatic transmission excels.

Regardless of suspension type, the X5 is smooth and comfortable during long hauls. M Sport versions substitute a suspension that’s tuned for sportier drives. An available air suspension promises a softer ride. Even a base model slices handily through traffic around town, before buckling down for either leisurely or active duty on the highway.

For off-road tasks, the X5 suspension can be raised to provide 8.7 inches of ground clearance. Lower the suspension and it’s ready for the most efficient cruising. As expected in most BMWs, unwanted sounds should be adequately suppressed.

Although the 2020 BMW X5 is more fuel-efficient than past models, gas mileage is nothing to shout about. The base xDrive40i model is EPA-rated at 20 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined. Rear-wheel drive boosts the estimates slightly, to 21/26/23 mpg. With a V-8 underhood, the X5 xDrive 50i slashes fuel economy down to just 16 mpg city, 22 highway, 18 combined. The new X5 M promises guzzler status, at only 13/18/15 mpg.

Final Word

Prepared to do nearly everything with gusto, the 2020 BMW X5 is exceedingly comfortable, abundantly-equipped, and swift in response to the gas pedal. Additional safety features as active lane control are worth the extra cost, as are BMW’s driver-assistance programs, but if you need a three-row BMW crossover look at the excellent new X7 instead.

—Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.

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