BMW X5 is a medium-size luxury crossover. When you parallel park the X7, you’ll know it’s bigger: 203 versus 194 inches long. The 122-inch wheelbase, 5 inches more than the X5, smooths out the highway ride. Interior head, leg and shoulder room are no more than an inch better for the X7. Rear legroom, often the measurement that most determines rear-seat comfort, rounds to 38 inches for both, fair-to-good for a full-size SUV, but almost 7 inches less than the decade-only Ford Flex. Put all but the front seats down and the X7 trumps the X5 on cargo space, 90 to 72 cubic feet. But with all the seats up, there are a puny 13 feet behind the X7’s third-row versus 33.9 for the X5.
The 2019 BMW X5 loses more points in the technology front. The available digital gauge cluster has limited customizability, and with the iDrive-based infotainment system, many functions are buried under enough submenus that even shortcut buttons and a large, responsive touchscreen don’t make it any easier to use. Want Apple CarPlay? You have one year until you’re forced to pay an annual fee, and Android Auto isn’t available. Sure, BMW has wireless CarPlay, but the tech kept cutting out during our time with the car. At least the Harman Kardon surround sound system provides a clear, balanced listening experience, perfect for drowning out exterior noise seeping into the cabin.
The 2019 X5 is a technophile’s dream. BMW’s new iDrive 7 infotainment system, which will be called Operating System 7.0 in other markets, pairs an easy-to-use controller with a new touchscreen, gesture controls, and excellent voice commands. The gesture controls allow the driver and passenger to control functions such as radio volume and Bluetooth by waving their hand in certain patterns. I found it to be a bit gimmicky, and as a person who talks a lot with their hands, I could see it being a bother in everyday use.
The 2019 BMW X5 comes nicely equipped with standard features such as a power-adjustable leather steering wheel, a 10-speaker premium sound system, simulated leather upholstery, two USB ports, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display, ambient lighting, and a configurable digital instrument display. safety aids include adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, and lane departure alert. The 2018 X5 includes dual-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker sound system, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a GPS navigation system, premium vinyl upholstery, a 10.2-inch infotainment display, power-adjustable heated front seats, and front and rear parking sensors.
Both the X5 and the Range Rover Sport have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, all-wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime 9005 led bulb, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available around-view monitors.
When the BMW X5 came out for the 2000 model year, it more resembled a lifted station wagon than anything that passed for an SUV in those days. Sure, it offered a commanding driving position, more ground clearance and useful cargo capacity, but BMW also made it fun and engaging to drive. Now, almost two decades later, the redesigned 2019 BMW X5 sticks to the same formula. It’s larger and more tech-laden than ever before, but it can still make quick work of a twisty road.