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The 2015 BMW X5 continues to be a benchmark for any automaker contemplating a new luxury mid-size SUV. The X5's off-road-ability is outweighed by its superb on-road manners, but that's on purpose--it's a luxury family wagon tailored for comfort, meant for gated communities everywhere.
The X5 has become more graceful looking, but it's not too different from past versions. Like the smaller X3, it wears a tapered roof and a low beltline to mimic the look of a sport wagon, not a sport-utility vehicle. The side sculpting wouldn't look out of place on a Mustang or a 3-Series, and it has the effect of making the tall, thick X5 look lighter on the road. The carved-out sections help guide air around the body, too. The defining line wraps from the front end to the LED taillights, injecting some wedgy goodness into the form. We do wish BMW would drop some of the complexity at the front end. With all the cuts and lines, the X5 looks like it's smirking.
All X5s now have electric power steering throughout the model line, and choosing Eco Pro also lightens the effort and heft engineered into it. Like most systems of its kind, the X5's electric power steering doesn't offer much in the way of feedback, and dithers on-center no matter if it's in Eco Pro or its Comfort setting. In Sport and Sport+, the steering has the meaty feel that's become common to most BMWs: pause the wheel at a point midway through a corner, and there's immediate buildup, a wall of return force to climb as you unwind it. With Active Steering, the ratio varies as speeds and cornering forces build: it can be an unwelcome variable in sports cars, but in sport-utes like the X5, it's more useful, making size and overall length less of a liability when parking or driving in town.
The revamp of the X5 has brought interior trim up to a new standard. Like the slightly smaller X3, the X5 now has a stylish cockpit with swooping curves and two different interior palettes of coordinated interior colors and trim to go with the usual choices of aluminum or wood and leather. The basic seat upholstery is synthetic, and some minor switchgear looks less lovingly attended to than it should, but those blips get overlooked in favor of the rich, colorful dash-mounted screen, and the soft glow of ambient interior lighting.
Behind that second-row seat is about 23 cubic feet of space--which you can choose to fill with a fold-away third-row seat. It's as small and unwelcoming to adults as the third-row seats in a Dodge Journey, and tough for anyone not into Garanimals to step into with any grace. The saving grace is the seat folds away in portions, and flattens out of the way along with the second-row seat for up to 66 cubic feet of cargo space. The X5's tailgate is power-operated, and it's kept its unique tailgate/liftgate setup: the lower section drops like a pickup, the top section powers open and closed like a pricey minivan.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.