We recently took the trip to Atlanta, Georgia to drive the new G05 BMW X5 and came away incredibly impressed. It’s a superb all-around SUV with great looks, a fantastic interior and surprisingly good driving dynamics, on and off the road. But one of the cooler aspects of being in Atlanta with BMW and the X5 was the fact that the Bavarians also brought along all of its predecessors.

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Sitting alongside the brand-new BMW X5 were all of its ancestors, beginning with the E53 X5, the very first generation. Looking back, it’s not hard to see what it was such a success. It still looks good today and its interior is still quite handsome, even if that wood trim on the lower half of the steering wheel looks weird.

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Then came the second-generation E70 BMW X5, which was even better looking. Its exterior was brawnier and its interior more luxurious. It had its issues with electronic gremlins when it was new but it was still an excellent car and one that sold incredibly well for BMW.

Following the E70 was the F15 BMW X5. The F15 was an interesting X5 because it was a very good looking car on the outside, had a really good, if a bit unexciting interior, and was great to drive. It had a supple, comfortable suspension, surprising agility and rock-solid high-speed stability. What’s interestng about the F15 is that it debuted in late 2013 and has been replaced in late 2018, giving it a five year life cycle and one year short of BMW’s typical six-year cycle. Despite still looking fresh and modern, BMW decided to replace it.

Thankfully, what it’s replaced it with is the new G05 BMW X5, which is better in every single way. It was great to see the lineage of one of BMW’s most important models on display in Atlanta and to go through each and every one and see where the designs have gone over the years, both outside and inside.