The current-gen BMW X5 is a bit of a conundrum. While, as a standalone vehicle, the X5 is superb at being a luxurious SUV, there are many who feel that it isn’t a proper BMW. Its steering is too light and too vague, its dynamics aren’t up to par and it’s far too heavy. However, as a luxury SUV, it really is quite excellent, so there are still plenty of reasons to buy one. Here are five.

5. Standard Equipment – BMW has always been know as a cheap brand. By cheap, I don’t mean that its cars are inexpensive, I mean that the company nickle and dimes its customers for every last little option. BMW claims that it gives the customer more options when buying. I’m sure you can imagine the face I’m making at that statement. However, the X5 does actually come with quite a bit of standard kit. In America, at least, the BMW X5 comes with xenon headlights, LED foglights, a panoramic moonroof and three-stage heated leather seats as standard, as well as much more. It’s probably the second most well-equipped base BMW in the range, being bested only by the 7 Series.


4. Design – Say what you want about the BMW X5, but it is a looker. It’s great looking on the outside, all big and brutish with a whiff of elegance and luxury. It’s something that stands out no matter where it goes. It’s also lovely on the inside. The cabin is beautifully laid out, the seats are superbly supple and the materials are spot on. Sure, it’s not he most exciting design anymore, with the Audi Q7 and Jaguar F-Pace beating it there, but it’s still a lovely place to spend some time. From either the outside or the inside, the BMW X5 looks and feels like a quality item, something worth the price premium it requires.


3. Practicality – The BMW X5 is one of the few SUVs in its class that actually offers seven seats. Admittedly, those two optional back seats are only good for small children, but it does help families with a lot of small children. But aside from that, its trunk is massive, with folding 60/40 folding rear seats and a ton of tie-hooks, nets and storage places, making it great for families with a ton of stuff to haul around. It also has tons of storage places up front, with big door bins and tons of little cubbies to put sunglasses or cell phones.


2. iDrive – BMW’s iDrive system is a luxury in itself. While every luxury manufacturer has their own multimedia infotainment system, BMW’s iDrive is head and shoulders above the competition. I’ve spent a lot of time with Audi’s new MMI and Mercedes’ new COMMAND and neither of them come close to BMW’s iDrive. It’s simply more intuitive and easier to use than any other system out there and it comes with excellent high-definition graphics. If you have a family and spend a lot of time driving them around or going on road trips, iDrive will seriously come in handy and make you happy about your X5 purchase on its own.


1. How it Drives – Before, I mentioned how the X5 has lost some of that intangible BMW quality that Bimmers of old used to have. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the X5 is still one of the best driving SUVs on the road. It’s a wonderful blend of comfort, luxury and performance. With any engine, it’s quick and enjoyable to use (although, I wouldn’t recommend the xDrive40e hybrid) and the eight-speed automatic is a sweetheart. The steering, while light and vague, is precise and the front end grips hard. It’s also far more athletic than you might think. It’s just really wonderful to drive and surprised me every time I got behind the wheel.