The 2017 BMW X5 M offers sporting performance in a practical SUV body style.
Although SUVs have their strengths, pulse-quickening performance and razor-sharp handling are generally not among them. One major exception to that rule is the 2017 BMW X5 M, an SUV that puts the "sport" back in sport-utility.
In fact it's best to think of this midsize five-passenger luxury crossover as a sport sedan in SUV clothing. Sure, the standard X5's top-of-the-line xDrive50i model is no slouch, thanks to a 445-horsepower V8 that helps deliver claimed 0-60 mph acceleration in just 4.7 seconds. Yet the BMW X5 M ups the ante with a mind-boggling 567 hp that helps this sizable sport-ute make the same run in an astonishing 4 seconds flat. To put this number in perspective, it makes the X5 M just a hair faster than the vaunted BMW M4 sport coupe.
That neat trick aside, we should point out that the xDrive50i and the X5 M don't actually feel that different in everyday driving. Make of this what you will, but it's something to keep in mind before you decide to pay the $16,000 price premium the X5 M commands.
For that extra dough you do get a host of other upgrades that might help balance the equation, including distinctive bodywork, 21-inch alloy wheels, huge brakes and an adaptive sport suspension with active body-roll control. Inside the cabin, X5 M also adds 18-way-adjustable sport seats in front and an M-branded knob for the shift lever.
Even so, there are some other downsides to the X5 M's high-performance calibration besides the price, including a touchy gas pedal that actually makes it hard to pull away from a stop without feeling as if you're launching at the drag strip. The firmer sport-tuned adaptive suspension also produces a slightly less comfortable ride quality. And don't expect to carry more than five passengers; a third-row seat isn’t even offered on the X5 M.
Not surprisingly, there are only a few competitors to choose from in this niche of the SUV segment, which emphasizes a street-oriented high-performance calibration. The list starts with the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, which offers outstanding handling albeit at an even higher price, especially once you start adding options. The Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE63 features a gutsy exhaust note and an impressively turned-out interior. And then there's the Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR, which offers solid street performance yet still retains off-road capability.
Even among this elite crowd, however, the 2017 BMW X5 M still stands out as one of the few SUVs that's a real alternative to pricey, full-size high-performance sedans.
The 2017 BMW X5 delivers everything you expect from a top-tier midsize luxury SUV and manages to stand out from the crowd with impressive performance and solid craftsmanship.
The BMW X5 wasn't the first luxury SUV, but it has been around long enough to solidify its position as one of the best in its class. The 2017 BMW X5 lineup continues the evolution by satisfying all of the comfort and convenience requirements demanded by families and pleasing drivers with strong performance and an engaging driving experience.
All of this excellence does come at a cost, however, and the X5 starts at well over $56,000. The value proposition is challenged by its relatively cramped and optional third row of seats. Even with these drawbacks taken into account, the X5's strengths are substantial enough to maintain a solid Edmunds A rating.
The 2017 BMW X5 isn't the newest luxury SUV in its class, though; some rivals have introduced recent updates making the class more competitive than ever. The Audi Q7 is one of the more notable competitors and has also garnered a top rating, as has the Porsche Cayenne. SUVs such as the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class and Volvo XC90 are also worth your attention, depending on your needs and sensibilities.