Looking for a new luxury SUV that is both powerful and versatile? Then perhaps the 2021 BMW X5 might suit your needs. This midsize SUV is available as either a two- or third-row seater that is both cozy and spacious regardless of which size you go for. And, of course, power is not lacking on this big ol' vehicle.
The X5 has five different trim levels you can choose from too, and each one offers more standard features as you move up the tier. Only the base trim comes with rear-wheel-drive, meaning that you will get standard all-wheel-drive on the other trim levels. New this year is a plug-in hybrid variant named the xDrive45e iPerformance, which is set to make its debut in late 2020.
The X5 might have some limitations with its interior design not offering as much small item storage as you might expect, and entrance into and exiting from the vehicle are made more difficult due to the wide door sills. Also, the thick roof pillars and tiny mirrors make for some rather sizable blind spots.
So, could the 2021 BMW X5 be the right choice for you? This review will go over what is new for the model year, the available styles and trim levels, how the vehicle drives, and what to expect when it comes to the fuel economy. Be sure to read through to the end to get our final verdict on the new X5.
What's New For 2021?
The 2021 BMW X5 is part of the line's fourth generation, which was brought onto the market in 2019. The only noteworthy update to this year's line-up is the addition of the plug-in hybrid model, the xDrive45e iPerformance. Other than that, expect for most things to remain the same.
The 2021 BMW X5 is available as a midsize SUV. It can be bought as either a regular two-row SUV or as a third-row SUV.
The 2021 BMW X5 is available in your choice of five trim levels this year, including the new plug-in hybrid known as the xDrive45e iPerformance. This trimis pwoered by the inline-6 cylinder engine and an electric motor that put forth a combined 394 hp. The EV-only range is estimated to be about 40 miles, but EPA estimates are not yet out.
The base trim is known as the sDrive40i (as the rear-wheel-drive variant) or the xDrive40i (the all-wheel-drive version). It is powered by a standard 3.0-L turbo inline-6 cylinder engine that generates 335 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque.
The xDrive50i upgrades you to a turbo 4.4-L V8 engine that puts forth 456 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. This one upgrades you to a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and 4-zone climate control.
The M50i is the line-topping trim level, and it gets a tweaked version of the V8 that has a power output of 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. A sport-tuned suspension and larger brakes are just some of the changes that you will find on this trim level.
The 2021 BMW X5 is a spunky vehicle. The V6 is fairly fun, and the V8 engine provides one of the quickest acceleration times in the segment. For not being oriented toward performance in the luxury segment, the X5 sure does alright. The optional off-road packaging can make the experience even better if you plan on traveling off the beaten path quite a bit.
Steering could be better, though, as you do not get much communication coming through the column about the road. Taking turns can feel a bit too light for the liking. Also, the handling just feels soft until you switch it into Sport mode. But the 8-speed automatic transmission does a smooth job of shifting between gears.
The optional air suspension helps improve the ride quality, but harsher bumps will make their way into the cabin. The seats up front are well-bolstered and are firm enough without being uncomfortable. You get a lot of support and a broad range of power adjustments from the front seats. The rear seats could use more bolstering and padding, but they are at least somewhat soft enough for longer rides.
Getting in and out is a bit of a tedious task due to how the seats are seat and how wide the door sills are designed. Also, visibility to the sides and rear is limited by the design of the bulky roof pillars and way-too-small side mirrors. You might want to consider opting for the 360-degree surround-view camera system in order to better see other cars and pedestrians.
There is a good amount of cargo space, and if you need to tow, you can opt for a factory installed hitch that puts the max capacity up to 7,200 pounds.
The AWD xDrive40i is EPA rated for 22 mpg combined, and real-world tests seem to echo this number pretty closely. The more powerful V8 options do get less of a fuel economy, but the new plug-in hybrid should get a more desirable number. And its estimated 40 miles of electric-only range will help curb some of the cost of fuel.
There are a lot of vehicles dominating this segment, and the 2021 BMW X5 is somewhere in the middle of them. It has a few critical issues (like the blind spots), but the power it offers and number of standard features for the price makes up for a lot of it.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here)
Note: All BMW X5 MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.