BMW X5 xDrive25d (2016) Review

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BMW South Africa recently expanded its X5 line-up with the addition of an entry-level xDrive25d derivative. We put it to the test…
 

We like: Engine performance, ride quality, practicality, fuel economy

We don’t like: Conservative interior design, pricey when specced up

Alternatives

  • For similar power: The Volvo XC90 D5 AWD Momentum (R894 548) offers 165 kW and 470 Nm of torque from its 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. Alternatively, you may want to consider the Mercedes-Benz GLE 250d (R927 504), which offers 150 kW and 500 Nm of torque.
  • For more power: The Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD Limited (R963 990) is well endowed with 179 kW and 569 Nm of torque generated from its six-cylinder 3.0-litre turbodiesel motor.
  • For more style: The Audi Q7 3.0TDI quattro (R967 500) is not only more powerful but it's arguably more stylish with its praised interior refinement. Fitted with a six-cylinder 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine, this derivative offers a heady 183 kW and 600 Nm of torque.

Compare the BMW X5 xDrive25d with the Mercedes-Benz GLE 250d and Volvo XC90 D4 Momentum

The X5 remains a popular choice for buyers in the luxury SUV segment and in an effort to make the appeal more accessible to a wider audience, BMW recently bolstered its offering to include the X5 xDrive25d. This derivative now represents an entry point to the X5 range. This X5 xDrive25d has its work cut out for it as it goes up against competitive rivals from marques such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volvo. Does the baby X5 offer enough value to keep buyers interested and, more importantly, can it perform?

More BMW X5 content:

BMW X5 xDrive40e (2016) First Drive

BMW X5 M (2015) Review

BMW X5 40d (2014) Review

BMW X5 M50d vs Range Rover Sport (Video)

What are we testing?

This X5 xDrive25d arrived donning an Alpine White exterior colour, complemented with optional 19-ich multi-spoke style wheels (R15 800). Note that 18-inch alloys are fitted as standard and don't quite fill the wheel arches with much boldness. BMW offers a wide range of optional features for the X5 and this test unit was moderately equipped with additional equipment.

Some notable extra features included an electrically operated tow bar (R11 400), panorama glass sunroof (R22 100), Navigation Professional (R13 900), extended light package (R4 800), anthracite roof lining (R6 700), rear-view camera (R5 500), sport automatic transmission (R3 850) and roller sun blinds for rear passengers (R2 800).

From the outside and apart from the badging, it’s near impossible to differentiate between this entry-level model and it’s more powerful stablemates. That’s a good thing because the buying appeal of the X5 xDrive25d remains intact, albeit a bit scantily dressed.

How does it fare in terms of…

Performance


The X5 xDrive25d delivers solid performance while also offering decent fuel economy.

The X5 xDrive25d is powered by a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that generates 170 kW and 500 Nm of torque. An 8-speed Steptronic transmission permanently drives all four wheels. Many buyers might be sceptical as to whether a small capacity four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbodiesel is adequate to pull such a large and heavy (2 115 kg) vehicle around with much fervour. Well, you can rest assured that the xDrive25d performs admirably out on the road. Not once did the X5 feel lacking in power or strained. It’s certainly not brutish but rather well measured instead. 

The xDrive25d delivers its power smoothly and evenly and the Steptronic transmission is well matched to this engine. This derivative performs best when driven conservatively in either ECO Pro mode (optimises efficiency) or Comfort mode (optimises comfort) but you can coax it out of its shell when driven in Sport mode (optimises performance). In Sport mode and using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, the X5 xDrive25d feels livelier and more willing to push on but for your everyday commute in the city, the other modes are more than adequate. This model can scoot along from standstill to 100 kph in 7.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 220 kph, which is fast enough for your average SUV-driving soccer mom or dad.

Possibly the biggest reward for choosing this derivative is the benefit of lower fuel consumption. BMW claims 5.6 L/100km and during our test period we averaged 8.4 L/100km with little effort, which isn’t bad at all for a large SUV.  A sizable 85 litre fuel tank means that you won’t have to fill up too often either and you should get about 1 000 km from a full tank of fuel.

Ride & Handling


Comfort and a pleasing ride quality is what you can expect from the X5 xDrive25d.

The X5 xDrive25d continues to shine in terms of ride and handling. It’s comfortable and smooth to drive and the suspension copes well on most surfaces with bumps and notches sufficiently ironed out. Its relaxed demeanour will be appreciated on longer journeys too. The engine can be a bit noisy at start up but once it warms up, it runs quite slickly.

The interior of the X5 xDrive25d is well put together and free of rattles while driving. The cabin is well insulated too and shuts out road and wind noise effectively. Given the height of the vehicle, you’d think that it would be susceptible to body roll during cornering, but’s it’s the opposite actually. Very little body roll is noticeable while cornering and the X5 xDrive25d holds its line with surety and precision. More so, a higher seating position also affords the driver a commanding view of the road.

With BMW’s permanent xDrive all-wheel drive system, this X5 is surefooted and confident in most conditions and it will easily cope with the odd foray into the dirt if it has to, but it's best suited to taming the urban jungle and it does it so well.

Practicality


The X5 xDrive25d is a practical vehicle with lots of space for goods and passengers. 

Marketed as a Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV), the X5 promises loads of practicality. With a ground clearance of 209 mm, the X5 xDrive25d is capable of kerb hopping or tackling a rough dirt road. The main rear tailgate is electrically operated while the lower tailgate is opened using a lever. Furthermore, the opening angle of the tailgate can be adjusted to your liking via the large display screen using the iDrive system, which is useful if you are parked in a confined space.

The tailgate opens up to a large boot (650 litres) with a space saver spare wheel stored beneath the boot floor. A retractable boot cover is also included to keep items in the boot out of sight. The rear seats are split in a 40:20:40 configuration, which provides added flexibility depending on your requirements. Longer items are easily transported by folding the middle section down, keeping two rear seats unaffected. For bulkier items, you can fold all the seats flat, expanding the load area to 1 870 litres.

The front and rear door mouldings have bottle holders and sufficient storage space, while two cup holders are found ahead of the transmission for the driver and front passenger. A USB and Auxilliary port are to be found in the reasonably-sized centre console.  

Rear passengers will be well-pleased with the amount of space available with more than enough leg, shoulder and headroom on offer. This will be particularly welcome on longer journeys.

The front seats are comfortable to sit in and are electrically adjustable for height, as are the seat backs, but strangely, the fore and aft positions are manually adjustable. This particular test unit featured Dakota leather upholstery.

Standard features


The interior of the X5 xDrive25d is simple yet comfortable.

The interior of this X5 xDrive25d isn’t particularly striking in design, but at least it’s neat and functional. The steering wheel is adjustable for rake and reach and features mounted controls for the audio system, Bluetooth, voice activation and cruise control. Climate control air conditioning is standard as are all-round electric windows and side mirrors.

The vehicle's iDrive controller in the centre console provides easy access to features on the display screen such as the radio, telephony, navigation, BMW ConnectedDrive, vehicle information and settings. The layout of the menus are straightforward and the iDrive controller makes browsing simple.  The instrument cluster, however, does look dated though…

In terms of safety features, the X5 xDrive25d is fitted with six airbags, ABS with ABD, electronic brake assist, traction control, electronic stability control and hill descent control. Front and rear park distance control is standard but paired with the rear parking camera, getting in and out of parking spaces is that much easier.

When compared with its nearest rivals, the BMW X5 xDrive25d makes a strong case for itself and is adequately equipped with standard features. 

Price and Warranty

The BMW X5 xDrive25d is priced from R889 964 and is sold with a 2-year/unlimited km warranty and a 5-year/100 000 km maintenance plan. As previously mentioned, there’s a wide range of optional features on offer for the X5, but be advised to choose them carefully as the overall price escalates quickly.

Find a new / used BMW X5 on Cars.co.za

Verdict

The BMW X5 xDrive25d is a well-balanced vehicle that offers decent performance while still returning admirable fuel consumption figures. More than this, it’s comfortable to drive every day and entry-level X5 buyers will benefit from the high levels of practicality offered by this model, making it a difficult vehicle to ignore in this segment.

Even though the X5 xDrive25d is adequately equipped with standard features, its price point allows you to spec it up quite generously. If you consider that the nominally more powerful X5 xDrive30d is priced from R968 104 before options, then the X5 xDrive25d makes perfect buying sense for those looking to get behind the wheel of an X5 at a reduced price without compromising too much on power, performance etc. 

The X5 xDrive25d is an excellent offering from BMW and it is well worth consideration if you are looking for a capable and efficient premium SUV.

BMW X5 xDrive25d – Quick Specs

Rival Comparison

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