Are you looking to buy the BMW X5 or already own one of these fourth-generation SUVs? Being on the market for several years, these sporty off-road vehicles are now available as new and second-hand units. 2018 and newer BMW X5s are an excellent choice for drivers looking for a functional and capable vehicle. But despite their superb built quality, these vehicles are not without flaws that may impact their reliability and increase running costs.
Common issues and what to look for
Smaller turbocharged gasoline engines, designated as B48 and B58, have already proven to be quite reliable. Carbon buildups on the intake valves are the only potential problem, which is an issue that affects all engines with direct injection.
This happens because the fuel goes straight into the combustion chamber instead of passing through the intake manifold first. Vehicles that see a fair share of short trips are more susceptible to this problem than those that frequently travel on motorways.
Known problems from the past
The new G05 has several engines it shares with the previous car, with the same weak spots. All V8 gasoline engines tend to consume a lot of oil caused by their ‘hot vee configuration. This ongoing issue affects all BMW vehicles that use these engines and will probably result in a lawsuit settlement.
Both diesel engines may suffer from clogged DPF filters because of unfavorable driving styles and inadequate fuel. More detailed information about these issues is available in our article about the third-generation X5.
The high-voltage battery may catch fire.
Hybrid BMW models have a high-voltage battery made by a Korean manufacturer Samsung, which provides power for the electric motor. On certain X5 models made during 2020, these batteries may have debris inside it, which happened because of a manufacturing error.
This can cause the battery cells to short circuit and even result in a vehicle fire in certain situations. BMW recalled the affected vehicles to check the batteries and replace them if needed to fix the issue.
Early production models may have a problem with a start-stop system, which shut down the engine before the vehicle comes to a stop. This happens at low speed, but it can be dangerous as the steering wheel and brakes become hard to operate.
As a result, drivers may not maneuver the vehicle as intended and consequently crash into surrounding obstacles. This issue can be fixed by installing the latest software update.
Some models with gasoline engines may accelerate on their own, without any input from the driver. In most cases, this will happen when coasting on the motorway, preventing the driver from slowing down the vehicle.
The cause for this issue is a software glitch within the PTM unit, which affects Valvetronic's operation. As with most other similar problems, installing the latest software version will solve the issue.
The vehicle suddenly pulls to the side.
Many drivers complain about sudden and unpredictable steering glitches, which pull the vehicle sharply to one side of the road. This problem only happens while the vehicle is cold and when the outside temperatures are extremely low. Despite being aware of this potentially hazardous issue, BMW still has no workable solution for it. In such conditions, owners can only drive moderately and carefully until the vehicle warms up.
iDrive and connectivity issues
Like most other BMW models, X5 uses an iDrive system that incorporates infotainment and other in-vehicle features into one unit. The current generation's devices suffer from various issues, with the sporadic inability to connect with iPhones being the most common one.
Other usual problems range from glitches and inoperable menu functions to unexpected system reboots. Installing the latest driver update may solve most of these issues, as BMW is continuously improving iDrive software.
BMW introduced the current X5, designated as G05, in 2018 as a successor to a short-lived third-generation model. This new car features an aggressive design, which gives it a more formidable road appearance than the outgoing one. Dimension-wise, there is not much difference between the two, although the G05 is a couple of inches longer.
Under the hood, the fourth generation X5 offers a wide range of engine choices and power outputs. The entry four-cylinder engine is a completely new unit, and so is the six-cylinder variant. The bigger engine is also available as a hybrid, where it works together with an electric motor. More powerful V8 engines, available in three different power outputs, are carried over from the previous generation.
The situation is the same with diesel engines, as both four- and six-cylinder units are similar to those used in the old car. All models except one come with an 8-speed automatic and X-drive system as standard. The model that differs from this is X5 sDrive40i for the US market, which powers the rear wheels only.
As we explained here, most issues affecting the current X5 affect all models, regardless of engine choices and trim levels. Although this makes them equally reliable, we recommend a hybrid version with an xDrive45e badge. This vehicle offers a balanced mix of road performance and fuel efficiency while still being reliable and easy to use. The biggest benefit is its ability to speed up using the electric motor only, which is helpful in urban traffic. The only drawback of the hybrid version is that once these units become over 10 years old, the life and repair cost of the hybrid battery start to skyrocket.