2019 BMW X5 adds more tech and power to luxury SUV

Your eyes do not deceive you. The 2019 BMW X5 may not look, at first glance, much different from its predecessor, but the fourth-generation luxury SUV is, in fact, all-new. Longer, wider, and taller than the old X5, not to mention more gadget-packed and more powerful, it's BMW's answer to upstart SUV rivals.

Outside, it's 1.1-inches longer, 2.6-inches wider, and 1-inch taller than before; 1.6-inches more length goes into the wheelbase. At the front, the traditional BMW kidney grille is bolder and sharper, with a single-piece surround. It's flanked by Adaptive LED headlamps as standard, with BMW Laserlights an option. They add blue x-shaped elements for more visual drama.

The sides get more sculpted crease lines, flowing back to the rear lights which are also LED as standard. BMW will offer both xLine and M Sport versions: the former get matte and satin aluminum exterior trim, along with pearl-effect chrome, and 21-inch wheels. The M Sport spec, meanwhile, finishes more of the trim in body-color, with matte aluminum bars in the grille, plus high-gloss black for the roof rails and side window trim. It steps up to 20-inch wheels, though both can have up to 22-inch wheels as options.

Under the hood will be a choice of two gas engines, initially. Most powerful will be the X5 xDrive50i, with a new turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 good for 456 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. It'll do 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds and has a top speed of 130 mph or 155 mph in the unlocked Driver Package.

Alternatively, there'll be the X5 xDr40i, with a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder. It has 335 HP and 330 lb-ft of torque, and does 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds. Both cars get a new 8-speed Steptronic transmission and xDrive all-wheel drive. The latter promises faster adjustment of front and rear torque split, and can optionally be had with an electronically controlled rear differential lock in the Dynamic Handling Package or the Off-Road Package. It uses an electric motor to shift as much as 1,106 lb-ft from the faster turning wheel to its slower turning counterpart.

At the front there's double-wishbone suspension, with a five-link rear axle. BMW's Dynamic Damper Control system is standard, with comfort and sport modes, but Adaptive M suspension Professional with active roll stabilization and Integral Active Steering is optional. The latter uses rear-wheel steering to tighten the turning circle at low speeds, and increase maneuvering stability at higher speeds.

Two-axle air suspension is optional, with each wheel individually controlled. It can raise the 2019 X5 by up to 1.6-inches for off-road clearance; alternatively, a button in the 31.7 cubic foot trunk lowers the SUV by 1.6-inches for easier loading and unloading. There's a new two-section tailgate – with both parts optionally hands-free powered – while a third row of seats will be an option by the end of the year.

The rest of the cabin is also all-new, with a revamped dashboard that boasts more tech. BMW's Live Cockpit Professional replaces analog gages with a 12.3-inch display, and there's a matching touchscreen atop the center stack. The 7th-Gen iDrive system offers more personalization, and you can now have routing and navigation info in the instrumentation binnacle, pushing the virtual gages to the sides. Navigation is saved on a 20GB drive, and there are various online services and smartphone remote control.

As for driver assistance, there's a new BMW Personal CoPilot system with standard blind spot detection and lane departure warnings, collision warnings front and back, pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear cross traffic alerts, and speed limit information. BMW will eventually offer Traffic Jam Assist with "extended hands-off time," together with Automatic Lane Changes. Adaptive Cruise Control is also included.

Parking Assistant Plus is an option, and will guide the car into parallel parking spaces. There's also Back-up Assistant, which remembers the moves you made to get the X5 into a space, and then repeats them in reverse to get you out of it again. 360-degree top-down camera views and a Remote 3D View showing the X5 and its surroundings on your smartphone are also available.

BMW says the 2019 X5 will go on sale in November of this year. Pricing will be announced closer to its arrival in dealerships.