This is the 2023 BMW X5 xDrive30d M Sport, which is quite a mouthful when you say its name in its entirety. The fourth-generation X5 has been with us for quite a while now, having been launched in the Philippine market in 2019, yet it’s still a midsize luxury SUV worth considering after all these years. That’s especially the case with this new M Sport model that they’ve recently launched, which comes with a sportier design and a more athletic drive at a highly competitive price.
I’m personally a fan of BMW’s M Sport models, and that holds true with this X5. For now, this is the only variant that BMW Philippines offers, and it replaces the rugged demeanor of the xLine model in favor of a sportier aesthetic. This begins with its sportier front and rear bumpers, which delete all of the black body cladding in favor of body-colored ones. Complementing the sportier bodywork is a set of 20-inch M Sport wheels with red M Sport brake calipers for better stopping power as well.
Design flourishes aside, the 2023 BMW X5 has balanced proportions. Unlike the fully-electric iX which has a futuristic, almost spaceship-like design, the X5 is still a traditional BMW. The grille thankfully isn’t as big as the ones found in the XM, plus it has the typical BMW design traits such as the Hofmeister kink at the rear window and those LED headlights. Unfortunately, they’re not the adaptive matrix type, which is part of the reason why this M Sport also costs slightly less than the xLine it replaces.
Like the exterior, the interior aesthetic of the X5 is traditional BMW. Admittedly, the Mercedes-Benz GLE has more visual drama, but I’d argue that BMW’s build quality is superior, thanks to a higher amount of plush materials and a feeling of solidity that I even prefer right now over Audi. This M Sport model also comes with a leatherette-topped dash and upper door cars, along with premium genuine aluminum trim that’s specific to this variant.
Features and Infotainment
Dominating the interior layout is a pair of high-resolution screens that control the BMW iDrive 7 infotainment system. It’s not as modern as iDrive 8 that’s found in the iX and other newer BMWs, but where the current iDrive 7 lacks in visual wow factor, it makes up for the fact that it still comes with physical buttons. That’s been removed iDrive 8, which means that my favorite infotainment in the industry is still this iDrive 7.
The functionality of the user interface is extremely user-friendly, with logical menus and a nice mix of touchscreen and physical inputs provided by the iDrive controller. The graphics are also extremely sharp on both the Live Cockpit Professional digital gauges and the main infotainment screen. It also comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though no wireless charging. Oh, and the X5 M Sport also lacks gesture controls (which are just a gimmick) and the optional Harman Kardon sound system. It’s also part of the reason why this model costs less. Besides, I never was too enthusiastic about the Harman Kardon sound system in most BMWs.
Space and Practicality
If there’s one aspect you can always trust BMW to always nail to perfection, that would be the driving position. There’s plenty of adjustment on the steering and seats–both of which are power operated. The way all of the controls line up with your body type feels second nature. I also love the fact that the front seats come with extendable thigh supports, which for a tall driver like me is very useful on long drives.
Those at the back are treated to palatial amounts of space, along with amenities such as their own dual-zone climate control, USB-C charging ports, and rear sunshades. Of course, there’s also a strong set of ambient LED lights lining the doors that set the mood during night drives.
Lastly, trunk space is also pretty good at 650 liters. Yes, that’s a large amount of space by any measure, but the Mercedes-Benz GLE offers 40 liters more. It’s also worth mentioning that the X5 comes with a split tailgate–a signature design trait of this SUV ever since the first generation model in 1999.
One of the highlights of the 2023 BMW X5 is its 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 diesel engine. It’s actually one of my favorite engines in the industry, period, due to its linear torque delivery and GR Supra-like engine tone. As for the numbers, it produces a strong 261 horses and a whopping 620 Nm of torque–enough to make the X5 sprint from 0-100 kph in just 6.5 seconds.
Mated to that engine is likewise one of my favorite transmissions in the industry–the 8-speed automatic supplied by ZF. There’s a reason why it’s fitted in every BMW as well as a host of other German luxury cars, and that’s because the shifts it delivers are smooth and fast. Plus, it always never lets you down by giving you the correct gear absolutely all the time.
As with every BMW, high-speed stability and refinement are the X5’s strong suit. A car that’s been designed to operate in a country where most of the Autobahn doesn’t have a speed limit means that in the Philippines’ expressways that are limited to just 100 kph, there’s barely an ounce of road and wind noise entering the cabin. Even going through undulations or when trucks are passing by in the other direction, the X5 never loses composure. Granted, the M Sport suspension of this X5 makes the ride firm, but it’s never to a point we’d consider it uncomfortable.
Where the 2023 BMW X5 absolutely shines is in the handling department. The M Sport suspension keeps this heavy SUV absolutely flat through corners, with grip limits too high to reach unless you’re on a racetrack. Despite featuring xDrive all-wheel drive (AWD), the X5’s handling when pushed exhibits rear-wheel drive (RWD) characteristics, which is unsurprising since it’s a rear-biased system. The brakes also feel sharp, and the steering is very precise and fast to react, though, unlike past BMW steerings, it doesn’t provide a lot of road feel. Because of this, the Porsche Cayenne is still slightly the better midsize luxury SUV for me in terms of handling, but that doesn’t make the X5 any less capable or fun.
Lastly, as with every BMW I’ve driven, fuel economy is still its strong suit. After a week’s worth of use, I was able to achieve an impressive 12.8 km/l, which is astonishingly high for a midsize luxury SUV with this much performance. Since this also has a large fuel tank, the X5’s predicted range is more than 1,000 kilometers in the trip computer.
Thanks to its excellent price and top-notch driving experience, you definitely can’t go wrong with the 2023 BMW X5. Even after a few years since its release, it’s still one of the best out there–a testament to how extremely well-engineered a BMW always is. Unfortunately, while it’s generously equipped for the competitive price it offers, it doesn’t come with any advanced driver-assistance tech. The X5 doesn’t come with stuff like automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control–all of which can be found in an affordable sedan like the Honda Civic.
Lack of any driver-assistance tech aside, there’s a reason why the X5 is still very popular among those who can afford it. Its foundations as a comfortable luxury SUV are there, but it’s been coupled with the fact that it’s only one of the few in its segment that offers an exhilarating and sporty drive. That merit alone is enough to drive folks toward the nearest BMW showroom.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★★
Interior Design: ★★★★★
Space and Practicality: ★★★★☆
Safety and Driver Assistance: ★★★☆☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★★
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.4 out of 5
*Pricing is correct and accurate as of this article’s time of writing.