Despite the improvements that have been made over the years by the competition no 4×4 has been created that comes close to touching the standards achieved with the BMW X5. From the initial launch in 1999 it has led the way for sports utility vehicles and is unmatched by anything else in this class.

For a car of this size it is incredibly agile and has a turning arc that seems to defy the laws of physics. It nimbly manoeuvres around corners and through spaces with a sporty nonchalance while retaining the size and authority of much larger vehicle. Unlike many of the competitors the X5 is also a competent off-road performer and the adaptive drive settings are designed to cope with a wide range of terrains. The interior offers a commanding view of the road and there is ample space for 5 adults. There is also an option for two additional seats in the boot area.

With the size of the engines in the range beginning at 3.0 litre the X5s perform remarkably well on fuel economy and the diesel variants boast an optimum performance of 45mpg. The engine technology has also been developed to ensure that emissions are the lowest of any big SUV. There is an excellent range of features available including a heads-up windscreen display, front and rear parking cameras and fog lamps that shine around corners.

For a more subtle car in this class there is the option of the BMW X6 which retains all of the off-road technology of the X5 repackaged into a vehicle with the appearance of a BMW road car. The shape and design of this automobile give it an even better handling standard than the X5. The sophisticated four wheel drive system delivers a stunning level of grip and traction through all road surfaces and quickly adapts on more challenging terrain.

The interior has been thoughtfully laid out with all of the user friendly driving controls in easy reach. Due to the shape of the roof the rear view is restricted when compared to the X5, which is why the manufacturers have thoughtfully included rear parking sensors on all models as standard.