Who it comes to BMW SUVs, it’s hard not to appreciate the distance covered in their unique evolution from the multi-purpose vehicles of old.
Every passing year carries us further away from a time when MPVs were the exclusive tool of the military or even the years where MPV-inspired offerings just as the Jeep Wrangler and Wagoneer were relative newcomers to driveways and public roadways. Even the early ‘90s, where we began to see the widespread incorporation of SUVs as ‘family fare’ feels so distant in our rearview mirror.
But whereas the over-saturated SUV segment feels inundated with uninspired rehashes, using a kitchen sink mentality to pacify every whim of the masses, BMW (characteristically) sets itself apart with its X models. It’s been that way ever since the X5 was introduced back in 1999, and two decades have done nothing to diminish the aplomb with which BMW approaches SUV design.
Standing by the philosophy that ‘above all, it’s a BMW’ an X model displays excellence on a number of levels. More than just the simple versatility to tackle various terrains, a BMW-X series offering will boast a sporting prowess unparalleled within the segment, and the distinctive iconography that composes the enticing BMW aesthetic.
Those interested in the convenience of a compact design are well serviced by the confident-yet-agile X1, while the X2 displays a more bold and swaggering demeanor. The X3 serves as perfect tentpole, embodying the refined elegance expected of BMW (inviting a sense of adventure to the proceedings). While the best-in-class acceleration of the X4 (M40i), luxury styling of the fuel-efficient X5, and sporting vibe of the coupe-styled X6 make them the poster-children of BMW’s commitment to excellence.
But rather than glaze over the offerings like some sort of literary placeholder, let’s take a closer look at each so that we can appreciate the X models individually (as well as the lineup in its entirety).
BMW X1 (Priced to start around $33,900 MSRP)
Offering a combined 31 mpg, the X1 embodies a sense of accessibility, blending the attributes you’d expect in a BMW while making it suitable for real-world use. But with a 6.3-second sprint to 60mph, there’s no doubting the X1’s sporty credibility. Add in a confident 58.7 cubic feet of cargo space, and it’s hard not to recognize the value offered up by the X1.
BMW X2 (Priced to start around $36,900 MSRP)
It’s hard not to appreciate the bold styling of the X2. An entirely new take on BMW’s core aesthetic, the X2 balances elegance of design with a more unbridled, and self-aware confidence. With up to 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, its turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder paired to an 8-speed adjustable mode transmission prove very enticing.
BMW X3 (Priced to start around $41,000 MSRP)
Offering 8-inches of ground clearance and several suspension options (including the adaptive M Sport suspension) the X3 comes ready to tackle whatever terrain it encounters. This is only encouraged by BMW’s intelligent all-wheel-drive system and dynamic stability control. Capable of up to 355 hp and 369 lb-ft or torque (M40i) the X3 earns every bit of its swagger (while making it look easy). Aerodynamically designed, it only furthers the X3’s impressive performance ratings.
BMW X4 (Priced to start around $47,600 MSRP)
Less SUV, the X4 might be defined as a Sport Activity Coupe, and yet it feel perfectly at home with the rest of its stablemates. After all, not every adventure occurs on the unbeaten path, and some approach a top speed of 155 mph. With a chiseled, muscular styling, the all-new BMW X4 is immediately impactful. Reflecting a perfect blend of engineering agility and aggressive styling, it takes the BMW mindset in an entirely new direction.
BMW X5 (Priced to start around $57,200 MSRP)
Pondering BMW will inevitably conjure thoughts of elegant luxury and refinement. The BMW X5 delivers on these expectations in spades, as well as surpassing those of power and performance by delivering up to 445 horsepower. Powerful, spacious and easily configured for up to three-row seating, the X5 offers up true opulence for drivers and passengers, alike. And with the plug-in hybrid xDrive40e, serving up an estimated 54mpg (with 14 miles of emission-free driving) you can simply enjoy the ride.
BMW X6 (Priced to start around $62,950 MSRP)
445 horsepower. 479 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds. Whether you opt for the 50i or 35i variant, the BMW X6 serves up powerful twin-turbo technologies that deliver all the power you could ask for. Encased within a sporty, athletic design, the X6 embodies every characteristic one would expect of a BMW.
The forthcoming arrival of the three-row BMW X7 adds yet another level to BMW’s beautifully-realized lineup of SUV offerings. How will the final product differ from the concept vehicle that was presented last fall? Time will tell, and spy shots will spark many a presumption, but only the expected reveal at the LA Auto Show later this year will tell for sure. That said, the bold, bucktooth style grille and aggressive headlight design are an enticing indication of what’s to come. The X7 will most likely be a distinctive uniquity, occupying its own space separate from its stablemates. Heavy speculation that engine choices will include an inline-six, V8 and potentially a plug-in hybrid prove that BMW is leaving no stone unturned with the X7, and with the lineup as a whole.
The Ultimate SUV
While you may have your personal loyalties, the simple fact is that no other automaker can be credited with such a well-realized lineup. Combining our appreciation of that fore-thought with the ability of BMW’s Bavarian engineering to exceed expectations time-and-time-again, it’s hard not to declare their X models as the ultimate SUV. But which is YOUR favorite?