Back in 1999, the idea of BMW making a high-riding luxury SUV seemed downright heretical. Yet, the E53 X5 was made and made at a brand-new facility in America, of all places. However, almost twenty years later and the BMW X5 is one of the best selling Bavarians and one of the brand’s most successful models. Now that the newest X5 iteration is here, the G05-generation, is a superb luxury SUV and possibly the best in the segment. So we thought it’d be a good time to look back on the original and see how its looks have aged.

The original BMW X5 is still such a handsome SUV. While it’s a bit bubblier and beefier than more modern X5s, with stubbier proportions, it still looks great. It just has the right stance, looking both rugged and athletic, and its design is simple but elegant. Though, the little rear ducktail-looking bit of trim surrounding the exhausts always looked a bit odd. It looks even better in its sportier trim on the BMW X5 4.6is model, seen in the gallery in blue.

Inside, it’s even better looking. Personally, I love the cabins of BMWs from this era. They’re just so simple yet functional and charming. They also have the ability to feel incredibly durable and strong yet also supple and luxurious. Cars like the E53 BMW X5 were made during a time where automakers separated their luxury cars from the rest with great built quality and material quality, not just tech and gadgets, like today. The original X5 is a great example of that.

The inside of the sportier 4.6is model is especially cool, with its cloth seat inserts and M Sport steering wheel. Although, I do like how that car’s little dot-matrix display in the gauge cluster is missing a pixel or two, which any owner of a BMW from this era knows is common. So it’s kind of funny that BMW’s pristine and historic example suffers the same fate.

We feel that the new G05 BMW X5 is the best looking X5 yet and possible the best looking BMW SUV ever. It’s a great looking car with a superb interior. But there’s still some merit to the claim that the original is the best. It looks so clean, so simple and so timeless that it’s hard to dislike.