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The 2019 BMW X5 is no specialist. It can’t afford to laser-focus on doing one thing well, like BMW’s M2, which really only cares about getting your passengers to grip the

oh-crap handle. Or the BMW i3, which really only cares about letting you know its coffee table reading consists entirely of Mother Jones and Dwell.

No, the 2019 X5 has to do everything well. It has to slog down muddy Georgia roads on street tires, has to deliver concert-hall sound from both its engine bay and from its speakers, has to carry five people as if they possessed royal titles, and oh, by the way, has to handle well enough so nail-biters and E36 drivers won’t incessantly moan about how BMW has “lost its way.”

That it does all those things so convincingly is testimony to the fact that BMW, like Subaru and Mercedes, is essentially two brands now, split down the middle between luxury cars and luxury trucks. It’s facile at both, and for now, the 2019 BMW X5 earns a 7.5 out of 10 on our scale.

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

MORE: Read our full 2019 BMW X5 review

There’s not much new in the 2019 X5’s profile, just a different set of priorities. The BMW grille’s become more bulbous in this generation, while the headlights have slimmed a bit. There’s a gentle bump up to the shoulder line down the X5’s flanks, just above the rear wheel well, which keeps its outline from veering into anonymity. Trim taillights point in toward that shoulder line, which lends the X5 a bit more of a muscular set of haunches.

The cabin could tell the same story, but in this generation the X5’s cockpit has taken a handsome gel. There’s some concept-car purity in the way its control pods are cordoned off by thick metallic bands, how twin digital displays dominate the dash. And yet, BMW’s applied some loving touches of crystal to the shifter and the infotainment controller, and swathed expensive versions in supple leather dyed in delicious-looking colors. A mocha-brown theme has the same dark tones as the best boxes of Valrhona chocolates.

It’s lush and permissive enough with interior space to suit most passengers. It rides on a long 117.1-inch wheelbase and sits about an inch longer than last year’s X5, so it’s not substantially different from the third-generation X5. BMW’s base seats give way to superb sport seats with multi-contour adjustment; they cup the front passengers well, but don’t leave much toe room for those in the second row. Slip off the Timberlands, and the X5 accommodates just fine, though the second row doesn’t slide or recline for added comfort. It does fold down to expand the cargo area to more than 72 cubic feet, and a power tailgate comes standard.

So do safety touches such as automatic emergency braking and on most versions, all-wheel drive. BMW’s generous with standard equipment, but the leather is synthetic on base models, and BMW insists on charging an annual fee for Apple CarPlay compatibility. It’s expected the Bowers & Wilkins audio and open-pore gray wood trim will smooth that over, but will it?

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

2019 BMW X5 (40i X line)

MORE: 2019 BMW X5 costs $61,695

If not, the 2019 X5’s performance will. BMW has pulled off a sleight of hand with its SUVs. Over time, they’ve grown ever closer to the handling of its bigger sedans. The latest X3’s a great 3-Series wagon; consider the new X5 an excellent 5er Touring substitute.


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