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With its unique BMW grille, the sporty X5 is hard to miss. Over two decades, the midsized SUV has become a favorite for many. But which is the best year BMW X5?

The 2016 model for the BMW X5 has a strong reputation among consumers as it offers numerous luxuries and technologies. There has been only one major recall for this model, which comes with exceptional reliability. 2016 is a popular choice among other models with only small complaints.

Not everyone can afford a brand new luxury SUV. But don't let that stop you from missing out on luxury vehicles altogether. With a reliable and reputable SUV in good condition, you can enjoy all the luxuries a modern SUV has to offer and that too at a fraction of a price.

Car experts believe that all generations of the X5 offer something for everyone. Overall, the 2016 model is an impressive SUV, with no issues in reliability. Your decision will come down to budget and the performance you are looking for. If your bank account allows you to reap modern technologies like adaptive damper control, driving assist features, you can opt for the higher-end variants. If not, you can still enjoy the luxuries and reputation of the base variant without breaking your bank account.  

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Who Is the X5 For?

BMW entered the SUV market in 1999. Back then, when SUVs were considered rugged, off-road vehicles, BMW launched the X5 as an on-road SUV, for which the company even came up with a new term; SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle). Even after more than twenty years, the term "SAV" has not gelled in with the general public (and will never will). But that has not stopped BMW from maintaining the SUV's original design philosophy.

The initial models of the X5 were designed as five-seaters. Despite its size, the SUV was not suited for large families. However, in the later models, a third seat and extra cargo space were added as an option, catering to bigger families.

But it is not just families that BMW targets with X5. The eye-catching shape makes the car an excellent choice for individuals as well. If you can find a good used vehicle, you can find yourself riding in luxury and style without breaking your bank account.

2016: Best Year BMW X5

Coming from a brand such as BMW, you cannot expect the X5 is to be a run-of-the-mill crossover SUV; it isn't. It is a respectably priced luxury SUV that has a lot to deliver.

The 2016 X5 came with a broad range of powertrains, stylish looks, and even off-roading abilities. It was quite different from its predecessors. We still have a hard time distinguishing it from the X3 due to the strong resemblance.


The 2016 BMW X5 is not only smooth on the paved roads; it can take on many off-road routes with ample confidence.

Under the hood of the base variant is a gasoline-powered 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine that can produce 300 horsepower. The X5 can dash to 60 mph in only 6.1 seconds thanks to the powertrain hitting maximum torque of 300 lb-ft at only 1,200 rpm.

The Diesel variant, xDrive35d, is powered by a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, producing 255 horsepower. This variant runs to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds thanks to its 417 lb-ft torque. The unique diesel engine sound can turn heads at stoplights while driving around the city.

Then there is the powerhouse, the xDrive50i, which is run by a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8. It has a whopping 445 horsepower and 480 lb-ft torque that peaks at 2000 pm. This little beast can sprint to sixty in just 4.7 seconds. The power of the V8, coupled with the traction of all-wheel-drive and modern dampers, makes the launches smooth and thrilling.

There is the xDrive40e, a plug-in hybrid for those looking for a hybrid version. It is powered by a BMW 2.0-liter turbocharged engine coupled with an electric motor. Delivering power to the wheels is 8-speed automatic transmission. The car houses a 9.2 KWh battery that takes three hours to reach full charge capacity and can run the car on electric mode alone for 14 miles, as per the claims made by BMW. The powertrain on the xDrive40e produces 308 horsepower, and the vehicle can dash to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.

The fuel economy and performance of the hybrid system depend greatly on how you drive the vehicle and the settings you select.

If the vehicle is operated on Max eDrive setting, it will stay on electric power and not turn on the gasoline engine unless you floor the gas pedal. In the eDrive mode, the car will not exceed 75 mph. Pushing it to go beyond this speed will cause it to switch to gasoline. Another setting on the X5 is the Auto eDrive, which allows the car to switch to gasoline more often and turn on the engine at 45 mph.

The X5 does not feel underpowered with the hybrid powertrain and fares well even when towing or going off-road. However, you might notice some rough shifts when trying to accelerate too fast.

All variants of the X5 are housed with paddle-shifted 8-speed automatic transmissions. The vehicle can be used in a different mode. The EcoPro mode slows the throttle down, and the gears are shifted earlier to stop the engine from hitting higher RPMs. In the sports mode, the X5 changes considerably. Throttle response and acceleration seem as if they have been set free. If you want to get a thrill out of the vehicle, the sport mode will not disappoint.

Every mode works on the throttle, gearshift, and electronic power steering. In the EcoPro mode, there is virtually no steering assist, making the vehicle's responsiveness sluggish. Switch to Sport or Sport+ mode, and you will see life come back to the steering.

The advanced systems on the X5 allow the driver to control the suspension as well. If you are looking to get a stable ride, we highly recommend opting for the variant which comes with the dampers installed. With these dampers, the x5's body roll is virtually eliminated. Even on sharp bends, the X5 seems to remain flat.

The All-Wheel-Drive system on the X5 splits the power between the front and rear axles. It pairs with the vehicle's other systems like hill descent, stability, and traction. If you decide to leave the paved roads, BMW's intelligent xDrive displays how the power is split between the wheels.


The 2016 BMW X5 is designed to accommodate seven passengers. But the third-row seat does not seem very comfortable for long journeys.

 The front seats are power-operated and heated. There is a lot of space to adjust the seat as per your comfort. Ventilation is also available on seats as an option. In between the two front seats rests the console box that is big enough to hold a modern smartphone.

The second-row seats are bench-style and can be folded in 40/20/40 spits. The SUV can easily fit five people on first and second-row seats combined, but it is recommended to keep the passengers to four for longer journeys.

The headroom on the X5 is slightly compromised due to the moonroof. If you are above six feet, you will require to recline your seat back to sit comfortably.

Behind the second seat is a decent cargo space of 23 cubic feet. If you are wondering where the third-row seat is, this is where BMW will install the seat if you order it. However, we would recommend exercising caution when opting for the third seat.

The third-row seat can also be folded in splits. If you require extra space, you can completely fold down the third and second-row seats to get 66 cubic feet of space behind the two front seats.


You will find the BMW X5 competitively priced among other luxury SUVs. When the SUV was launched in 2016, many features came as options. If you can find a car housed with such options, you should expect to pay a higher price.

All variants came with the following features as standard:

  • Synthetic leather upholstery
  • A sound system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • Power tailgate
  • Power and heated front seats
  • Panoramic moonroof
  • Parking sensors
  • 18-inch alloys with run-on-flat tires

Back in 2016, many of the options added were charged at a price, for example:

  • Anybody color other than gray or white would cost an additional $550
  • A rearview camera for $400
  • Leather upholstery starting from $1,500

We feel that all these options should also come as standard, but BMW has its marketing and profit-making methods that suit them well.

Purchasing a new BMW X5 was a daunting task as the car could be customized in so many ways. When buying your used 2016 X5, chances are you will find a lot of options on one, while another one might seem empty.

You will find that the 2016 BMW X5 comes in three trim packages; xLine, Luxury Line, and M Sport.

The xLine and Luxury line offered more personalization. You will surely notice that both trims are a touch more attractive than the base variant. The xLine hosts glossy finishes and satin aluminum. On the other hand, the Luxury Line is mounted with chrome strips, a blacked-out grille, and some sporty cues.

The M Sport trim adds glossy roof rails, a body kit, sports seats, Shadowline trim, and other features, including an optional M Adaptive suspension.

There were quick pick packages for those not wanting to go into too much detail or personalization. These included:

  • Driver assistance package with a Heads up display and rearview camera, and an extra optional 360-degree camera system
  • Winter Package, which included the addition of heated rear seats and heated steering wheel
  • Premium package with soft close doors, leather upholstery, and satellite radio

For stand-alone options, you could add:

  • Third Row Seat
  • LED Lighting
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Active steering
  • Active air suspension
  • Nappa Leather dashboard
  • Adaptive cruise control with following capability
  • Night vision
  • Harman Kardon sound system
  • 19-inch or 20-inch alloys
  • Rear seat entertainment system

But if you go around to purchase the xDrive50i  variant, many of the above features came as standard with it. The new variant introduced in 2016 was the xDrive40e; it came with adjustable dampers, a navigation system, and a leveling rear suspension.


The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the BMW X5 a "Good" Rating for Crashworthiness. The vehicle got the top score for moderate overlap front crash. The vehicle's safety features kept the occupants safe from impacts from the front or any side of the SUV.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has awarded the X5 top marks for safety. These include an overall five-star rating and five stars for frontal and side impacts. According to calculations done by NHTSA, the BMW X5 scored four stars in the rollover rating, with a rollover chance of 18.80%.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy varies among the variants since the X5 comes with many different engines. Given its considerable size and power, all variants of the BMW X5 do reasonably well when it comes to fuel economy. The turbo diesel, however, is a hands-down winner among others.

The basic model, which is the rear-wheel-drive sDrive35i, is rated by the EPA at 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg overall.  

The All-wheel drive version, xDrive35i, runs at 18 mpg in the city, 24 on the highway, and 20 miles per gallon overall.

The xDrive50i, which houses a V8 engine, is the thirstiest variant. It offers 15 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on highways, and 17 mpg overall.

The xDrive40e, the plug-in hybrid version, has earned a rating of 24 miles per gallon overall when used only on gasoline. The variant has also been rated at an impressive 56 MPGe when used in hybrid mode. EPA rates electric cars with a Miles Per Gallon Equivalent, which measures how much a vehicle travels using energy equivalent to one gallon of fuel.

For the 2016 hybrid X5, the EPA claims it to go 14 miles solely on electric mode. Many users have reported achieving between 14.5 and 16 miles of all-electric driving. Users have also reported the vehicle doing 24 mpg overall with considerable highway use.

Best Year BMW X5

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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