Cars > Encounter

The BMW X5 isn’t necessarily a downgrade from the X7

It is the more agile of the two, making it more fun behind the wheel

We drove both the X5 and the X7. The former was the sportier one. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Coming hot off the heels of being chauffeured around by my colleague in the BMW X7, there was one thing in the back of my mind that just kept repeating itself: “I’m going to miss just how opulent the X7 is.”

You see, there was an agreement before we set off. Going up to Tagaytay, we called dibs on the bigger X7 instead of the X5. Afterward, we would take the other car heading down back to Metro Manila. The exact model we drove was the X5 xDrive30d xLine (quite a mouthful).

As much as I wanted to take the X7 going both ways, the X5 actually surprised me in more ways than I expected it to. Let me tell you how exactly.

Even with its smaller dimensions, the X5 is no less stately. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

First off, the X7 has a discreet but commanding appearance when you first see it. It’s something that doesn’t turn heads right away, but falls into the line of “if you know, you know.” Conversely, the X5 has a sportier look and feel to the entire package, especially with how proportioned the headlights and the taillights are to the size of the car.

The interiors are an entirely different story, though. The X7’s interior is just downright opulent, especially with the headrest cushions, the tablets for the second row, the genuine wood trim, and even the crystal gear selector. While still as premium, the X5 felt a little more utilitarian. You’d get a semi-matte finish where you’d find the wood trim, and a more “traditional” gear selector. The excellent (though complicated) iDrive system is present on both models.

You don’t get the X7’s fancy power seats, though. That’s why we would’ve preferred being stuck in SLEX traffic in that car instead.

No fancy air suspension, but we'd still happily lounge in these seats. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The X5 utilizes the same 3.0-liter B57 motor used in the X7. Putting out the same 265hp and 620Nm, it was already apparent that this engine was going to be a whole lot peppier in the smaller and lighter X5. And it overdelivered, actually. Acceleration in both cars would put a smile on your face for entirely different reasons. In the X7, it would smoothly get up to speed, with the rear squatting as you floor the pedal. As for the X5, it would push you back into the cushion, much akin to BMW’s sportier offerings.

The X5 felt more willing to dive into bends than the X7. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

The same can be said about how both cars handle corners and road imperfections. The X7’s adaptive air suspension allows it to float over bumps, ensuring that the occupants of the car would always be riding around in comfort, no matter the condition. As for the X5, it uses a more traditional setup, but that didn’t make it any less comfortable to ride in. Though most people wouldn’t agree with me, I think the road feel added to the experience of driving the X5, which resulted in a more engaging driving experience.

Despite their differences, both BMW cars are representative of the ultimate driving machine. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Which leads me to conclude that as similar as these two cars can be, they’re for two entirely different demographics. Prefer something that you know you’ll enjoy driving? Get the X5. Want something to be driven around in while having enough space to carry your entire family? Go for the X7.

You can’t go wrong with either of these two cars, I promise you. Bloody brilliant vehicles, these are.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.