Though it doesn’t look dramatically different at first glance, everything about the 2019 BMW X5 is new. The fourth generation of the well-known nameplate packs even more technology than ever before, all inside an SUV body that has grown slightly in every dimension.
On paper, that growth is an extra 1.1 inches of length, 2.6 inches of width and 1 inch of height, all on a wheelbase that has grown by 1.6 inches. Though its basic proportions are retained, the new X5 wears a “pared-back” styling language compared to its predecessor, with fewer creases and lines. The most prominent of those runs along the body sides, juking up notably on the rear door.
LED lighting is standard front and rear, and wheel sizes range from 19 to 22 inches in diameter depending on options. The exact exterior trim varies depending on how you spec your X5, too: the base xLine wears matte-aluminum trim and roof rails, whereas the M Sport model has more body-color elements with gloss-black trim features.
Everything about the interior design of the 2019 BMW X5 is far fresher, too. The shifter is new, as are the climate-control knobs, the steering wheel and all of the infotainment displays. Optional trim includes a new Vernasca leather variant, as well as BMW’s familiar Merino leather. Heated seats are standard, with massaging and cooling options available as an option. The Panoramic sunroof has 30 percent more glass area, there’s now a four-zone climate control system, the cupholders can be heated or cooled and “Dynamic Interior Light” flashes lights to alert the driver to everything from a phone call to opening a door when the engine is still running.
The highlight of the interior is the new, seventh-generation iDrive infotainment system. Using a 12.3-inch touchscreen on the dashboard, it also has a rotary controller that now adds haptic feedback, as well as voice controls and gesture recognition. The home screen layout can be customized with different pages and layouts.
It’s paired to a 12.3-inch color instrument cluster, which is standard in the new X5. The speedometer and tachometer are shown as arcs at either side of the display so that the center can show navigation maps or other information from the main infotainment system. To keep all that software fresh, a new-to-BMW Remote Software Upgrade functionality allows over-the-air updates, either by connecting to your home Wi-Fi network or through the X5’s built-in internet connection.
The standard complement of active-safety tech is bundled under the Active Driving Assistant brand, with pre-collision warning and braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warnings, and speed limit information. Upgrading to the Driving Assistant Professional package adds on lane-keeping assist and Traffic Jam Assistant. Drivers can even change lanes automatically on the highway simply by holding the turn signal and letting the driving systems steer into the adjacent lane when traffic opens up.
A new and unusual safety feature is called Emergency Stop Assistant. Designed to be used if the driver becomes “incapacitated because of a medical emergency,” it allows for stopping the X5 safely by pulling the electric parking brake switch. When activated, the SUV pulls over to the side of the road, stops, turns on its hazard warning lights and can call the BMW Assist service center for help.
As to parking ease, Back-Up Assistant remembers the route you drove forward into a narrow space and can automatically reverse back out of it the next day. By using the various parking sensors and 360-degree camera systems, the driver can keep tabs on the car’s maneuvers and only has to brake or accelerate.
As before, the new X5 can be equipped with two or three rows of seats. The latter option comes with electric functionality to fold and slide the third-row seats, as well as to tilt the second row forward to make ingress to the back row simpler. The liftgate is now a two-piece affair, and an optional cargo cover electrically slides into the cargo area floor to keep out of the way.
Two engines will be offered at launch in the US, both coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. In the X5 xDrive40i is a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six rated for 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, enabling a 5.3-second run to 60 miles per hour. Moving up to the X5 xDrive50i gets buyers a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 with 456 hp, 479 lb-ft, and a 4.6-second run to 60. The all-wheel-drive system can operate in rear-drive mode for better fuel efficiency or improved handling.
New for this year, adaptive dampers come standard on the X5. Air suspension is offered as an option. At speeds above 86 mph or in Sport mode, it lowers the SUV by 0.8-inch, while for off-roading it can raise the X5 by 1.6 inches. Handling options include rear-wheel steering and Adaptive M Suspension Professional, which uses active antiroll bars at each corner to reduce roll in the corners while also improving ride comfort.
Another X5 fist is the Off-Road package, which features skid plates, air suspension, and an electronically controlled rear differential lock. There are also special graphics on the twin interior screens to show details about the driving mode, plus special engine, transmission and stability-control tuning for off-road drive. The X5’s maximum tow rating stands at a healthy 7,209 pounds.
The 2019 BMW X5 goes on sale this November, with pricing details to be announced closer to that time. Like all BMW SUVs (aside from the X1 and X2), it will continue to be built at BMW Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina.