2019 BMW X5 xDrive40i First Drive: Just Because You Can…

The 2019 BMW X5 is the fourth generation of the German luxury brand's wildly popular crossover, but good luck spotting that. Much as it did with the 5-Series, BMW has made only modest changes to the X5's sheet metal for 2019, while cramming as much technology under the skin as possible.

BMW SAVs The Day:

The result of this work is a crossover that's hard to get excited about, but easy to live with (with the right equipment).

Before you start poo-pooing the conservative reskin, BMW has a pretty good reason for its design restraint. In October, the long-awaited X7 three-row crossover will debut, armed with styling inspired by the X7 iPerformance Concept from last year's Frankfurt Motor Show. If you're debuting a new flagship vehicle, you're not going to let a known quantity steal its thunder, right? Right.

2019 BMW X5 xDrive40i
2019 BMW X5 xDrive40i
2019 BMW X5 xDrive40i
2019 BMW X5 xDrive40i

That said, some of the new touches don't really work. For a start, the trend toward oversized kidney grilles – typified most egregiously by the iNext Concept – needs to end. Immediately. I also wish BMW slimmed the taillights down the same way it trimmed the X5's headlights. At best, it's difficult to tell this is a BMW from behind, and, at worst, it looks like a Kia Sorento. (A bad thing only because the X5's starting price is more than double that of the Korean crossover.)

Changes in the cabin are more progressive. The overall layout isn't d...