Added 2nd February, 2019
By Jonathan Crouch
This 'F15'-series model was a more mature X5, this third generation design evolving into a larger, more comfortable and more efficient proposition. The more time you spend with it, the more you wonder whether any other competitor from this era really is better suited to the relentless kind of life that cars of this kind actually lead. It's very special inside, you can have it with seven seats if necessary, it's as good as it needs to be on the mud and it's still a rewarding tarmac tool if specified properly. So yes, it can keep its rivals in sight in all these areas. They, in contrast, struggle much more to match this BMW's class-leading economy, cleanliness and sprightly performance. Some competitors are much pricier too. Not without reason do one in every three X5 owners stay loyal to the range when the time comes to change their cars.
True, this might not be as handsome a design as it used to be, but it's still imposing and classy. Safer too and more relevant, not only in terms of its lower running costs but also its hi-tech infotainment ConnectedDrive cleverness. And all of this on top of a range of virtues that offer as much motoring flexibility as you could ever need. We are, after all, looking here at a car with economy pretty close to that of an ordinary family estate, yet one that potentially can keep up with a hot hatch, scale the lower slopes of Ben Nevis and take seven folk to the theatre when all is done. It is, by any measure, a very complete vehicle. A benchmark then. Just as X5s have always been.