The choices are difficult. Even though none of the options seem to sacrifice much, it’s still easy to second guess yourself if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. For BMW fans looking for a practical space, nothing is more common than trying to decide between the X5 and the X7. Luckily, we’re here to help.
BMW X5 – Performance and versions
When it comes to BMW, performance matters – despite piloting a five thousand pound SUV. The X5 offers many different configurations, to suit all lifestyles: the sDrive40i, xDrive40i, xDrive45e, M50i and X5 M. . The BMW X5 xDrive40i gets the same, but with xDrive AWD. Both have solid performance stats, but the xDrive gets you to sixty a little faster, at just 4.8 seconds.
The X5 xDrive45e serves as the hybrid option of the X5, offering similar performance with the added benefit of electric-only driving. It’s also a tick faster from 0 to 60 than its xDrive40i brethren, at just 4.7 seconds. Between the straight-six and the electric motor tucked between the engine and transmission – aiding balance and response – you get a total of 389 horsepower and 443 torque. Not bad for a schoolboy.
With the M Sport Package, you get optional adaptive M suspension on the 40i and 45e options, with 22-inch wheels available. Optional in your taste of harmless and practical two-tone silver, or racy and edgy satin black, these wheels sound like the perfect icing on a midlife crisis cake. But the obvious choice is the “practical and performance” 21-inch wheels. On the outside, you get paint-matched fender flares and more aggressive bodywork. Plus, plenty of M badging on the door sills and interior pieces to remind you where your $5,000 went.
Next up is the twin-turbo V8-powered X5 M50i. And while it’s certainly a lot more exciting than a hybrid, it’s essentially the same thing. Well, except for the 523 horsepower, which takes it far from anything ordinary. It does exactly what you’d expect – it’s a vicious 523 horsepower brick-built with (relatively) precise handling like a slot car. The X5 M goes even further, with a similar engine and transmission but 600 horsepower. More on that later.
BMW X7 – Performance and versions
The X7 is a little more conservative in its offerings, as there are only two. You can opt for the xDr40i, powered by the same straight-six as the X5, or the M50i. The X7 weighs around 5,400 pounds and tops out at 5,700 pounds. Not exactly a welterweight, and it doesn’t hit much harder than the X5. What you see here is a clear trade-off between practicality and performance. Fortunately, the added benefit of all-wheel drive still allows the base X7 xDrive40i to go from 0-60 in just over five seconds.
The BMW X7 M50i is the clear winner in terms of agility, getting a nifty M adaptive suspension as well as massive help from good V8 power. Stopping at sixty is something like 4.1 seconds, and I’m not sure I need to say much more. It’s a six thousand pound brick with a rocket strapped to it.
BMW X5 Price vs BMW X7 Price
The X5 starts at a perfectly pedestrian $60,600. After xDrive, a leather interior and a head-up display, you’re much closer to $70,000. A BMW X5 M50i will get you closer to $90,000 before free options. You won’t find an X5 M in the field for less than $105,000. The X7 starts you out around $75,000, but with reasonable options, you get considerably closer to $80,000. The M50i nets you a solid $100,000, but after including the standard equipment, there’s a solid value proposition over the 40i. But in the end, it’s your decision.
Practicality / characteristics
Clearly the X7 has a larger space. And if you need a third row, the X7 is literally your only option. You can get captains seats in the X7, starting at 40i. This is not the case on the X5. But if you’re considering captain’s chairs, it’s perfectly a lifestyle choice; the bench seat will fold down, while the captain’s seats will not. The X7’s increased dimensions will still allow it to reign supreme here – ultimately able to pack around seven and a half cubic feet of shit versus the X5’s six cubic feet of shit. What matters, if you buy this vehicle to store shit.
But part of practicality is efficiency, and of course the lighter and smaller X5 performs better here. 21 in the city and 26 on the highway, compared to 19/24 on the X7, respectively. If you rent? I’m no banana expert, but I’m pretty sure you’re costing yourself around $210 per year, just using a €10,000/year lease. Imagine if you financed!
You only have to pay for what you need; that’s why most of this debate comes down to whether or not you need a third row seat or not. Both the X5 and X7 offer the same towing capacity (a good 7200 pounds, regardless of engine). Both offer similar storage after the two children and two adults. Both offer respectable driving dynamics in the face of a world that fears SAVs.
So on the top end of the X5, we end up with the X5 M. This comes in both “default” and “Competition” form, with the Competition version adding nearly $10,000 to the MSRP. For that you get wheels, seats, trim, suspension, brakes and a big M badge wherever they can slap one. The performance is nice; 617 horsepower in competition form and you have next to nothing to fear on the road from a red light. You get the same luxury you’d expect from the less special X5s.
The ALPINA X7 exists in a world outside of those honorable mentions. The fanciest 600 horsepower you’ve ever experienced, it’s the easiest way to float over the crowd while earning a traffic quote. But it’s still – technically – an X7, and therefore still technically an option. Insider Tip: 2022 Allocation Completed; enter now to reserve your spot for the exciting 2023 refresh.
Our choice, last word
My choice is the BMW X5 M50i – I’m not my SUV and don’t need the extra 100 or so horsepower to bridge the gap between the M junior and the M. I get the V8, I get a lot of acceleration, and I get all the technology I need in a daily driver. I don’t have kids so I don’t really need the back seat to fit humans – just stuff. And things can be arranged in any happy configuration I need.
Even if I had kids, I’d probably splurge on the roof box and go for the X5 M50i. There are just too many savings, donut dollars, on the X5. Plus when it’s just me I have a much better time, saving hundreds of pounds. Plus, X5s have been around since 2000. That’s what I call BMW heritage.