Given its mandate as a people hauler, the redesigned BMW X5 hits the right notes -- it's bigger and brawnier.
The vehicle has grown in every dimension -- it's wider, longer and higher. The engines are new and have higher horsepower.
The fourth-generation X5 is also smarter. BMW is introducing a semi-autonomous driving system that allows for hands-free and pedal-free driving on limited-access highways and at speeds below 37 mph.
BMW, for the first time in any of its vehicles, will use an in-cabin camera to address a critical challenge with semi-autonomous driving systems -- ensuring the driver is paying attention to the road. Level 2 systems require the driver to take control of the vehicle in case of an emergency.
The X5, built in Spartanburg, S.C., has been BMW's best-selling crossover. More than 2.2 million X5s have been sold worldwide, one-third of those being in the U.S.
The 2019 X5 launches with a choice of two new gasoline engines. A plug-in hybrid is expected in 2020 for the 2021 model year.
The xDrive40i is powered by a 3-liter inline six-cylinder engine capable of delivering 335 hp and 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. The xDrive50i variant has a beefier 4-liter V-8 engine that delivers 456 hp and can do 0 to 60 in 4.6 seconds.
The redesigned X5 features an off-road package, offered in a BMW X model for the first time, that includes a two-axle air suspension and electronically controlled rear differential lock.
The suspension's air supply is controlled individually for each wheel, allowing it to balance out an unevenly loaded vehicle. When the vehicle is in Sport driving mode, or driving more than 86 mph, the ride height is automatically lowered by 0.8 inches.
Ground clearance, for off-road driving, can be raised in two stages to a maximum of 1.6 inches above the standard setting. Another button in the luggage compartment activates a loading mode that lowers the vehicle by 1.6 inches.
The optional locking rear differential delivers more traction and power when the vehicle drives over loose ground. The locking effect is produced via an electric motor and delivers up to 1,106 pound-feet of drive torque to be redirected from the faster-turning wheel to the slower-turning wheel.