2024 BMW X5 Review and Test Drive
BMW's updated and upgraded midsize SUV provides an excellent blend of luxury, efficiency, and performance.
After driving the extremely powerful BMW X5 M Competition a few months ago, I expected any other variant in the X5 lineup would feel weak by comparison, especially the hybrid. It took about 20 seconds behind the wheel to realize the 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is in no way a disappointment, even when compared with the performance-tuned M. Having now spent a week living with one, the PHEV version of the X5 is my favorite of the bunch.
The 2024 BMW X5 is the automaker's midsize luxury SUV, or Sport Activity Vehicle, as the company calls it. This year, the 2024 X5 receives significant updates, including new powertrains, new infotainment and safety technologies, revised styling and interior materials, and more.
The 2024 X5 lineup includes:
- X5 sDrive40i with a new mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) turbocharged six-cylinder powertrain and rear-wheel drive.
- X5 xDrive40i with the sDrive40i's powertrain and all-wheel drive (AWD).
- X5 xDrive50e with a new, more powerful PHEV powertrain that boasts more electric-only driving range than before. It has standard AWD.
- X5 M60i with a new turbocharged V8, MHEV technology, and AWD.
- X5 M Competition with a more powerful version of the M60i's powertrain and full M-division performance tune.
Though all versions of the 2024 BMW X5 now have electrified drivetrains, only the X5 xDrive50e can travel solely on electricity. So, not only is it more powerful than the xDrive45e it replaced this year, but it also boasts an EPA-estimated electric-only range of 39 miles on a full battery. More power and better EV range is a winning combination, and that's one reason I like the X5 PHEV so much.
The other reason is the xDrive50e's drivetrain doesn't dilute the fun-to-drive performance expected of a BMW. In my first few minutes behind the wheel, I enjoyed a quiet drive to the freeway in pure electric mode. Turning onto the entrance ramp, I put my right foot down and the gas engine seamlessly engaged, shoving me back in the driver's seat as I accelerated quickly to freeway speeds.
Throughout my week with the X5 plug-in, as I ran errands in the neighboring towns and took to the back roads to enjoy the SUV's power and handling as well as Michigan's fall foliage, the BMW adapted to every situation while adding a level of efficiency that most people probably wouldn't associate with a midsize luxury SUV boasting almost 500 horsepower. It's not a chicken dinner, but it's certainly a winner.
2024 BMW X5 Prices Put the SUV Firmly in Luxury SUV Territory
You can buy many chicken dinners for the price of a 2024 BMW X5. They range from the mid-$60,000s to the mid-$120,000s, including the destination charge to ship the SUV from the Spartanburg, South Carolina, factory that builds it to your local dealership.
For this 2024 X5 xDrive50e review, BMW provided a fully loaded example for evaluation in southeastern Michigan, near Detroit. It came with the following options:
- Brooklyn Grey Metallic paint
- M Sport Package
- M Sport Package Pro
- M Sport Professional Package
- Driving Assistance Pro Package
- Parking Assistance Package
- Executive Package
- Climate Control Package
- Multi-Contour Seats
The manufacturer's suggested retail price of my test vehicle was $87,745, including the $995 destination charge. With a base price below $80,000 and its North American assembly location, the X5 PHEV is eligible for up to $3,750 in federal tax credits.
Subtle Exterior Changes Cover Substantial 2024 BMW X5 Interior Modifications
The BMW X5 gets minor styling updates for the 2024 model year, and they're subtle enough that you might not notice them. The headlights, grille, and front bumper look different, and the X5 gets new taillights this year. Redesigned wheels are also available. Aside from the front left fender charging port, the X5 plug-in doesn't stand out from the rest of the lineup.
When sliding into the 2024 X5 for the first time, the new BMW Curved Display immediately catches the eye and gives the BMW a high-tech vibe. The display incorporates a 12.3-inch digital instrumentation panel and a 14.9-inch iDrive infotainment touchscreen.
Physical controls are minimal, with most functions accessible via the display screen, and the clean, uncluttered design is appealing. However, BMW has retained the traditional iDrive controller on the center console and traditional buttons and knobs for commonly used stereo and window defogging and defrosting functions.
As expected of a BMW, materials throughout the cabin are high quality, with wood trim and brushed metal surrounding the stylish vents. BMW wraps most touch points in a soft vegan-based synthetic leather material called Sensafin that feels and looks like genuine leather. For those who prefer the real stuff, premium Merino leather is available.
The X5 has decent storage around the cabin, including a good-size center-console bin and a covered cubby at the front with cupholders, a wireless phone charger, and extra space for smaller items. Pockets in the front and rear doors easily handle larger water bottles.
Comfort Is Easy to Come By With the Multi-Contour Seat Option
Front sport seats are standard in the 2024 X5, but my test vehicle had the optional multi-contour seats. With 20-way power adjustments that include an extending thigh-support bolster and adjustable headrests, the optional seats are very comfortable while providing good support for enthusiastic back-road jaunts. The seats are also quite stylish, the leather in my test vehicle featured a quilted pattern and a color that contrasted nicely with the rest of the cabin.
In addition, the test vehicle's seats, armrests, and steering wheel were heated. I certainly appreciated them when I had an early start on a chilly morning with temperatures in the 30s. Seat massagers are available for added comfort, but my X5 xDrive50e did not have this option.
The rear seats offer plenty of legroom and headroom, and the test model's dual rear climate control zones, heated rear seats, and multiple USB charging ports added to the overall appeal of this seating assignment. While it can fit three adults in the back, the middle seat has limited legroom, and the center seat cushion is stiff and uncomfortable.
BMW X5 PHEV Cargo Space Measurements Are Slightly Smaller
The X5 checks the boxes as a luxury performance vehicle, but it is, first and foremost, a sport utility vehicle.
To that end, an unusual two-piece tailgate and liftgate design allows you to open the top portion without worrying that items will spill out, while the separate bottom portion folds down to create a handy outdoor seat. Using a button in the cargo area, you can also lower the X5 to reduce the lift-over height.
With 33.9 cubic-feet of cargo space behind the back seat, there's plenty of room for luggage or other gear, and folding the rear seats increases the available space to 72.3 cu-ft. The PHEV has slightly less room, at 31.1 cu-ft and 71.2 cu-ft, respectively. Regardless of the powertrain, these are modest figures for a midsize SUV.
2024 BMW X5 iDrive 8.0 Review: A Complex Model of Simplicity
The 2024 BMW X5 gets the latest version of the automaker's iDrive infotainment system. Standard features include:
- Bluetooth connectivity and streaming
- Wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity
- Wireless Android Auto connectivity
- SiriusXM satellite radio
- Access to a 5G Wi-Fi Hotspot
- Natural voice recognition through Intelligent Personal Assistant
Connecting my Samsung Galaxy S23+ via Bluetooth was quick and easy, and the system immediately asked if I'd like to run Android Auto, which I did. Android Auto loaded automatically with each subsequent drive, and with the static home button at the bottom of the display, returning to the BMW native system was simple. The lower menu adds an icon for Android Auto when it's in operation, so switching back to the smartphone platform is also easy.
The native iDrive environment is mostly intuitive, but the depth and breadth of the menu structures are sometimes daunting. Fortunately, the climate controls are always available at the bottom of the screen, along with shortcuts to primary functions.
To help you control the various features and functions, BMW offers one of the better natural-language voice-recognition systems available. Referred to as the Intelligent Personal Assistant, the tech is activated through a button on the steering wheel or by saying, "Hey, BMW."
The Intelligent Personal Assistant can respond to a range of commands. I could adjust the head-up display, set the cabin temperature, find the closest charging station, change the audio source, and even open the passenger-side window (you must use the power window button to close it). The system worked remarkably well, as I only had to repeat myself a few times to get the proper message across.
In addition, BMW offers an impressive Harman Kardon surround-sound system in the X5, equipping the SUV with 16 speakers. Gesture control is also available, but it isn't as satisfying as the Intelligent Personal Assistant.
What Is BMW Backup Assistant?
The BMW X5 is awash in cool new tech that adds to the overall experience while providing assistance as needed.
For example, the 12.3-inch digital instrumentation panel shows a range of information in multiple display styles. You can configure it, too, making the speed readout the focal point or switching to a different data set, such as fuel economy and efficiency information. Changing the driving mode results in a corresponding theme to help a driver tell at a glance what mode the SUV is in.
One of the more interesting features BMW offers is a hands-free back-up assistant. This system will reverse the X5 along the same path it traveled to enter a parking space, aiding the driver in getting out of tight or low-visibility situations. The system can store steering movements for more than 200 yards, semi-autonomously replicating these in reverse. The driver just needs to apply the brakes when needed.
BMW Highway Assistant Review: Hands-Free Driving Comes to the BMW X5
When it comes to advanced driving-assistance systems (ADAS), it is surprising that a high-end vehicle of this caliber doesn't come with more standard ADAS features. The features include:
- Forward-collision warning
- Automatic emergency braking
- Active blind-spot monitoring
- Lane-departure warning
- Automatic high-beam headlights
The following items were options on my test vehicle:
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane-keeping assist
- Lane-centering assist
- Evasive-steering assist
- Cross-traffic alert
- Automatic emergency stop assist
In addition, my X5 xDrive50e had Highway Assistant. That is BMW's hands-free driving-assist feature, combining adaptive cruise control with hands-free lane-centering and lane-change assist. On Michigan's Interstate 94, where the speed limit is 70 mph, I engaged the Highway Assistant, and the system worked smoothly to keep me in the lane while maintaining a set distance from the vehicle ahead.
When approaching a slower vehicle, I activated the turn signal, and the X5 automatically changed lanes. The lane change felt overly aggressive (almost a swerve) and wasn't as gentle or stable as other hands-free driving systems I've experienced, but it didn’t feel unsafe.
2024 BMW X5 Safety Ratings
Some versions of the 2024 BMW X5 received a four-star overall crash-test rating (out of five) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They include the xDrive40i and M60i. The rating does not apply to the sDrive40i, the tested xDrive50e, or the X5 M.
As of publication, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not assessed the safety of the 2024 BMW X5.
How Much Range Does a 2024 BMW X5 PHEV Have?
This year, BMW upgraded the PHEV powertrain in the 2024 X5 xDrive50e, delivering more power and a longer electric driving range. According to the EPA, this midsize luxury SUV can now travel an estimated 39 miles on a fully charged battery.
After that, an updated turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine turns on to continue the journey. It forms the basis of the PHEV system, and BMW says it now supplies better efficiency and performance. Combined with a considerably more powerful electric motor, the X5 PHEV produces 483 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. That represents an increase of almost 100 horsepower and more than 70 lb-ft of torque compared with the previous X5 plug-in.
The powerful and efficient hybrid system directs power to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
What It's Like to Drive the BMW X5 Plug-In Hybrid
With significantly more power than its predecessor, the X5 xDrive50e is very quick to accelerate, especially when placed in Sport mode, which increases responsiveness. According to BMW, this plug-in hybrid will sprint to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, which feels accurate. With full-time all-wheel drive, even launching from a stop on a loose-surface dirt road results in impressive acceleration with complete control.
As a plug-in hybrid, the X5 xDrive50e can operate in electric mode. While acceleration is not as quick without the powerful gas engine, the X5 is still quite responsive, with more than adequate performance for getting around town or up to highway speed. If more power is needed, aggressive use of the accelerator pedal will engage the engine to supply more motive force, even if you're driving in EV mode.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this plug-in hybrid gets 58 MPGe in combined driving when using the electric range, followed by the gasoline engine's range. If you never recharge the battery, it should return 22 mpg combined. During my 40-mile drive loop that blends highway, in town, and a spirited drive on local twisty back roads, the X5's trip computer reported 54.3 mpg, with 26 of those miles operating purely on electricity.
The EPA reports that a full charge of the X5's battery will deliver 39 miles of electric-only driving range. I charged the X5 on a Level 2 charger (the X5 cannot use DC fast chargers), bringing the battery from zero to 100% in about four hours. When charging was complete, I had 47 miles of indicated range available, considerably more than the EPA's estimate.
For most of my drive, I left the X5 in the default Hybrid mode, which prioritizes electricity use, bringing the gas engine online when needed. Unless you're heavy on the accelerator pedal, it is difficult to discern when the X5 is using the gas engine or operating on electricity. The only sign is within the digital gauges, which change depending on the power source.
Moving along the freeway at 70 mph, the X5 feels solid and confident with a smooth, comfortable ride. The suspension does an excellent job of absorbing bumps in the road without feeling floaty. On a flat highway, the X5 is perfectly content to remain in EV mode at highway speed, at least until depleting the battery. There is some road noise at these speeds, but it's not intrusive, especially when enjoying the excellent Harman Kardon audio system.
Like other BMWs I've driven, the X5 provides a pliant ride on the freeway while delivering outstanding handling characteristics when the road starts to kink and curve. I thoroughly enjoyed pushing the X5 through the twisty two-lane back roads on my drive loop to Hell, Michigan, and back. With plenty of power, excellent grip, and precise steering, the X5 fully embraces the sport portion of the sport utility vehicle equation.
Among Luxury PHEV SUVs, the 2024 BMW X5 Is a Compelling Value
The BMW X5 has always been one of the more enjoyable SUVs to drive, and the updates for 2024 have made it even better, especially regarding the xDrive50e that I drove.
While all variants of the X5 have a lot to offer, the xDrive50e plug-in hybrid is perhaps the most interesting, delivering high performance levels with impressive efficiency. At the same time, the BMW X5 provides a luxurious, roomy, high-tech cabin and plenty of utility.
While the X5 PHEV brings a lot to the road, it isn't the only option out there. If performance is a higher priority, Porsche offers multiple versions of the plug-in hybrid Cayenne. At the same time, the Land Rover Range Rover PHEV brings higher levels of luxury — but at a much higher price.
Ultimately, the 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e is an excellent blend of luxury, performance, efficiency, and value that is hard to beat.