Launched back in 1999, the X5 served as BMW’s first foray into what was to become a much crowed luxury SUV segment. The midsize Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) as it has been described by its creator is skipping the usual mid-cycle refresh (a.k.a. Life Cycle Impulse) of the third generation that came out in 2013 to make the transition to a shiny new fourth-gen model unveiled yesterday.
A lot of things have changed, from the styling to the platform and the interior cabin. Overall, the new X5 looks significantly more sophisticated inside and out and is ready to do battle with the revamped Mercedes GLE expected to arrive before the end of the year. Bigger than the model it replaces, the 2019 X5 is 36 millimeters (1.4 inches) longer, 66 mm (2.6 inches) wider, and 19 mm (0.7 inches) taller, with a wheelbase stretched by 42 mm (1.65 inches) to a generous 2,975 mm (117.1 inches).
As a result of the increased footprint and new underpinnings, BMW’s Q7 rival will provide substantially more room inside its tech-heavy cabin. Should you need to carry more than five people, you’ll be happy to hear third-row seating will be available as an option to turn the X5 into a more family-friendly seven-seat SUV. If there’s money left to spare, the Bavarians will be more than happy to sell you a new version of their panoramic sunroof which is 23 percent larger than before.
Speaking of tech, it has all the toys you could ever want in a large posh SUV as BMW has crammed laser adaptive LED headlights, two-axle air suspension, dynamic damper control, all-wheel steering, active roll stabilization, dual 12.3-inch screens, and a new bigger head-up display. There’s also a fancy Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System packing no less than 20 speakers with a 1,500-watt output along with a pair of 10.2-inch touchscreens as part of the rear-seat entertainment system.
The new X5 marks the debut of an optional off-road package for an X model, bringing extra protection at the front and rear, the two-axle air suspension we’ve mentioned, and an electronically controlled rear differential lock. This off-road-ready X5 also boasts a special instrument cluster with different graphics, and an additional button mounted on the center console to allow the driver pick between the four selectable driving modes.
BMW will kick off worldwide sales of the fourth-gen X5 from November, but you’ll have to wait until December to get the three-row version.