The BMW X5 is a mid-size luxury SUV that needs no introduction. With over 50,000 units sold last year, the X5 was one of the best-selling luxury SUVs in the U.S, thanks to its posh and sporty presence.
The X5 has been around for more than two decades now, and it has often been the go-to option for premium SUV seekers. The 2021 model is the fourth generation that BMW first introduced in 2019 under the code name G05. The latest X5 sits on the new Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform shared with other new-gen BMW models. Since its unveiling, it has been through some refreshments, and this year, it received some significant changes.
Notably, BMW has replaced the xDrive50i trim with a plug-in hybrid xDrive45e for the U.S. Meanwhile, the regular sDrive40i and xDrive40i now feature a mild hybrid system, and every trim now comes as standard with Android Auto smartphone integration and SiriusXM satellite radio.
Furthermore, remote start and ventilated front seats are standard on the M50i trim. Finally, the BMW X5 M Competition is now a package rather than a separate model.
The 2021 X5 is bold in terms of styling. BMW has succeeded in making it stand out from the front, especially with the larger kidney grille.
Meanwhile, the side profile is high and muscular, with the wheel’s size started from 19-inch up to 22-inch. The ground clearance is 8.4 inches, higher than the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class. Sadly, the doors don’t open to the bottom, meaning your shoes can get dirty when you touch the dirty skirts.
The car’s backside is again adopting a bold design with strong lines created by the LED taillights and big dual chrome exhaust pipes. We also love the fact that BMW has kept the unique split tailgate design that makes it convenient for sliding in/out luggage.
Overall, the 2021 X5’s design balances sportiness and elegance, bringing its owner a boosted sense of confidence.
Interior and Cabin Space
The excellent interior compliments the cool-looking exterior. The design is posh and tidy. Everything seems to be very high quality and driver-oriented. Moreover, the seats are very comfortable, especially with the upgraded leathering options, and storage bins are plenty enough and easy to find.
The 2021 X5 seats 5 adults comfortably on its first two rows. The second-row passengers would not have anything to complain about thanks to adequate legroom and headroom, though it would be nice if the seats could slide or recline.
Although you can opt for third-row seats on the regular s/xDrive40i trims, the foot space will be extremely tight. Hence, these seats are best for small children, making it a 5+2-seater. Nevertheless, the cargo space is large enough for long road trips with the family at 33.9 cubic feet, larger than Mercedes-Benz GLE’s.
However, if interior space is what you are after, the Audi Q7 is king. With its larger body, it has a true 7-seating configuration and plenty of cargo space.
2021 BMW X5 sDrive40i
Starting price: $59,400
Sold exclusively in the United States, the sDrive40i base trim comes in an RWD configuration. However, do not be fooled by its ‘base trim’ title as the SUV does pack a powerful engine and standard features expected from a mid-sized luxury SUV.
It is a basic trim, but the engine is no slouch. Powering this SUV is a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder turbocharged gas engine with eBoost 48V mild-hybrid technology. Together, the system produces 335 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque.
Paired with this engine is an 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes, channeling power to the rear wheels.
With launch control, the X5 sDrive40i can do 0-60 mph in a rapid 5.3 seconds and keep pulling until it reaches the electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph. That acceleration figure is even faster than the new Mk. 8 Volkswagen Golf GTI, despite weighing 4,828 lbs.
Fuel-consumption-wise, it performs at 21 MPG/city and 26 MPG/highway, which is not bad considering its size and the power it delivers. Furthermore, it has a fuel tank capacity of 21.9-gallon, good for a 503-mile range and plenty enough for interstate traveling.
Some standard exterior features include Adaptive LED headlights following the road ahead, LED foglights, and 19-inch single-tone aluminum wheels (although bigger 20- and 21-inch options are available for a few more dollars).
Moreover, there are power-folding and heated side mirrors, and the right outside mirror automatically tilts down for curb visibility when driving backward. A power liftgate is standard as well.
This trim also comes with the default Satin Aluminum exterior trim and Alpine White and Jet Black, both standard non-metallic exterior colors. The Metallic pallet options are available for an extra $550.
Finally, there is a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, and a roof spoiler with a center brake light to compliment the aesthetics of the SUV.
Inside, the X5 sDrive40i is loaded with pleasing standard features. As a starter, there is some SensaTec simulated leather upholstery with black or Canberra beige/black coloring options. Other leathering options such as Vernasca Leather and Merino Leather pallet are also available at an extra $1,450 and $2,450, respectively. The interior is also fitted as default with Fineline stripe brown high-gloss Wood trim.
The steering wheel is leather-wrapped and has a power-adjustable column. Also, the front seats are heated and power-adjustable in 16-way, complete with memory functions.
The instrument cluster is digital, providing a lot of information to the driver. There is also a big 12.3-inch iDrive infotainment system with the latest wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and a 10-speaker audio system fitted as standard.
Besides, multi-color and adjustable ambient lighting, privacy glass, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror are also standard.
2021 BMW X5 xDrive40i
Starting price: $61,700
In simple terms, the xDrive40i is the AWD version of the base trim. It features the same powertrain, exterior, and interior features as the sDrive40i trim.
A few differences lie on the slightly worse expected highway MPG at 25 MPG, which might be due to its slightly heavier curb weight of 4,836 lbs.
Nonetheless, we think that the intelligent xDrive AWD system is definitely worth the additional $2,300 on this posh SUV as it adds to its all-weather and all-terrain capability.
2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e
Starting price: $65,400
The xDrive45e is the new plug-in-hybrid trim of the 2021 X5, replacing last year’s xDrive50i.
Despite losing the old V8 from the xDrive50i, we can promise that this plug-in-hybrid doesn’t disappoint.
The PHEV system has an internal combustion engine and an electric motor capable of powering the vehicle individually. Notably, the xDrive45e features the same 3.0-liter 6-cylinder turbo, although here it produces lower 282 hp. However, since there is an additional 111 hp electric motor, the combined output is higher at 389 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque.
BMW used the same 8-speed automatic gearbox, channeling power to all four wheels via the xDrive AWD system. Thanks to the increased power output, the xDrive45e still delivers the same 5.3-second 0-60mph time, despite weighing more at 5,672 lbs.
The hybrid system is also much more fuel-efficient. Thanks to the regenerative braking and the ability to drive on electric power alone, the xDrive45e fuel consumption rating is 50 MPGe. Moreover, the combined range is up to 400 miles, despite the smaller 18.23-gallon fuel tank capacity. You can also drive the xDrive45e on electricity alone for up to 30 miles.
Exterior-wise, there is almost no difference compared to the s/xDrive40i trims, except for the charging port on the left fender. Customers also receive an Occasional Use Charging cable for use on any available power outlet.
Inside, the plug-in hybrid receives a hybrid-specific digital instrument cluster. However, due to the large battery, there is no third-row option.
2021 BMW X5 M50i
Starting price: $82,800
The M50i is the half-tilt version of the M performance model that lives from the same V8 heart.
Those who missed the V8 engine on the previous xDriver50i should consider getting the M50i instead. In terms of power, the M50i is a few steps ahead of its 3.0-liter twins. Powering this beast is a 4.4-liter V8 turbocharged engine that produces a whopping 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. Moreover, the engine pairs to an 8-speed M Sport STEPTRONIC transmission with Drivelogic and Sport and Manual shift modes. The power goes to all four wheels.
Despite a heavier curb weight of 5,260 lbs., 0-60 mph takes an insanely fast 4.1 seconds; however, the top speed is still limited at 130 mph. Nevertheless, these impressive figures would probably be more than enough to satisfy the ‘need for speed’ for most people anyway.
Although the V8 is good for acceleration, there is certainly a trade-off on the economy. It performs decently for its engine size, but generally, it is quite poor at 16 MPG/city and 22 MPG/highway. It also has the same 21.9-gallon fuel capacity — hence the lower 394 miles of range.
The X5 M50i brings a few additionals exterior features. As standard, it now features 20-inch M wheels, complete with M Sport brakes. BMW also included the Adaptive M Suspension that softens the ride in comfort mode or firms up in sport mode.
A few metallic paint exterior color options are now available for free. Moreover, the trim also adopts the Shadowline exterior trim and an aerodynamic kit. Lastly, remote engine start is now also standard.
More standard premium options are standard on top of the features from the lower trims. Notably, customers can now opt for a Vernasca leather upholstery (with the more luxurious Merino leathering options available at an extra $1,000), default Aluminum Tentragon interior trim, M Sport steering wheel, and upgraded 20-way power-adjustable front seats with ventilation.
This model also adds four-zone automatic climate control, and the audio system is now upgraded to a 16-speaker Harman Kardon. Lastly, wireless charging is also standard.
2021 BMW X5 M
Starting price: $105,100
The M is the fastest, sharpest, and most brutal BMW X5 you can buy. With the market for performance luxury SUVs on the rise, the X5 M competes with the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Audi RS Q8, and its closest rival, the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S.
When you want to step up your game even more with the M madness, the X5 M earns its title as one of the fastest SUVs in the world. Under the hood lies the same 4.4-liter V8 turbocharged unit as the M50i, but this time it produces a staggering 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque.
The 8-speed automatic gearbox and AWD drivetrain are the same as in the X5 M50i. However, the 0-60 mph sprint takes a supercar-like 3.7 seconds, and the top speed is electronically-limited to 155 mph.
You will need to sacrifice efficiency to get those numbers, though. At 13/18 MPG city/highway and an expected range of 328 miles, the X5 M is overly thirsty for a mid-sized family SUV.
Nonetheless, some people won’t mind, as the driving experience more than makes up for it. This is a 5,425 lbs SUV that can accelerate as fast as a Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe, after all.
And it’s not only about straight-line speed. For improved handling, the X5 M features an M-tuned xDrive AWD system with intelligent power distribution, Adaptive M Suspension Professional with Sport+ mode, M compound brakes, and M Sport Differential maintaining optimal lock between the rear wheels for increased traction.
Compared to the M50i, the M touches are even more significant here. You’ll get larger 21-inch M wheels, M quad tailpipes, and M rear spoilers.
The M’s cabin is the sportiest and the best-equipped amongst the rest of the X5’s trims. The most noticeable change is the front 18-way power-adjustable M Multi-Functional seats with black extended Merino leather and carbon-fiber interior trim. Also, the headliner is now from Alcantara® instead of the regular Anthracite.
Furthermore, the leather-wrapped M steering wheel is now heated, and it features two red “M” drive mode buttons that you can configure for an instant change of your favorite driving mode configurations. In addition, there is now a drive recorder to register journeys for safety purposes. Meanwhile, you can also use gestures to control the infotainment system on the X5 M, like changing tracks, play/pause, and control the volume.
Lastly, the M’s interior also features an M-specific instrument cluster with a full-color head-up display and M door sills and driver footrest.
Safety and Driving Assistant
Like every other standard BMW SUV model, the 2021 X5 has 8 airbags, stability control, and hill descent control. Active Driving Assistant is also standard to prevent a collision, featuring frontal collision warning, low-speed auto emergency braking, active blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, and speed limit info. There is also an optional Active Driving Assistant package featuring adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assistant at an extra $1,700.
The Convenience Package features wireless charging and a Wi-Fi hotspot, four-zone automatic climate control. There is also a remote engine start feature that lets you start the vehicle through the key or BMW Connected App. You can even activate the heating and cooling remotely. The package is available for an extra $1,050 for the s/xDrive40i trims and $800 for the xDrive45e trim.
M Sport Package
The M Sport Package features the Shadowline exterior trim, M steering wheel, and 20-inch M wheels on top of the Convenience Package’s features. This package is available at an extra $5,750 for the s/xDrive40i trims and $5,500 for the xDrive45e trim.
The Premium Package includes the Convenience Package’s features with an additional head-up display and gesture control for the infotainment system. It is available at an extra $2,050 for the s/xDrive40i trims, $1,800 for the xDrive45e trim, and $1,000 for the M50i trim.
The Executive Package includes the Premium Package’s features and adds Laserlight headlights, panoramic sky lounge LED roof, diamond-cut glass trim for the transmission selector, and rear manual side window shades. This package is available at an extra $4,350 for the s/xDrive40i trims, $4,100 for the xDrive45e trim, $3,300 for the M50i trim, and $3,600 for the M trim.
Available exclusively on the X5 M for an extra $9,000, the Competition Package adds 17 hp, making the M monster goes even faster to 60 mph by a tenth of a second. Also inclusive in the package is an exciting M Sport exhaust system, an exclusive Track mode, and larger and stickier rear tires. Inside, you’ll get upgraded leather upholstery with nice additional padding at the sides of the center console to hold your knee during hard cornering. This package is definitely worth it if you are getting the X5 M.
With the optional trailer hitch worth $550, the X5 has a massive towing capacity of 7,200 lbs. A bit less than the Q7, but much more than the GLE.
The warranty that BMW will include on top of your 2021 X5 purchase includes:
- Limited warranty of up to 4 years/50,000 miles
- Roadside Assistance Program of up to 4 years with unlimited mileage
- Rust perforation limited warranty of up to 12 years with unlimited mileage
- Complimentary scheduled maintenance of up to 3 years/36,000 miles
The 2021 BMW X5 is simply the jack of all trades, and it checks every box of what people desire from a mid-sized luxury SUV. It’s stylish, luxurious, spacious, comfortable, sporty, and safe all at once.
As much as we love the thrill of the performance that the M models deliver, in reality, the xDrive40i is easily more than enough to live with. The 30-mile all-electric range of the xDrive45e is also appealing for efficiency-minded drivers.
You might also want to consider the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class. The Q7 is much more practical and roomy but not as fun to drive. Meanwhile, the GLE has a more spacious interior, but its suspension is less comfortable and sporty.
2021 BMW X5
|Sport Utility Vehicle
|Turbo Gas/ I-6
|Twin Turbo V8
Turbo Gas/Electric I-6
|Displacement (L/cu. in.)
|Horsepower @ RPM
|335 @ 5500
|523 @ 5500
|389 @ 5000
|Torque @ RPM
|330 @ 1500
|523 @ 5500
|Fuel Economy – City
|Fuel Economy – Hwy
|Fuel Economy – Combined
|Passenger volume (cu.ft.)
|Cargo volume (cu.ft.)
|Curb weight (lbs)
Wheels & Tires
|19 X 9
|20 X 9
|19 X 9