• Is the BMW X5 Really Suitable for Towing or Going Off-Road?

Yes... and No

The 2019 BMW X5 is available with an off-road package, but does that mean it’s suitable for real off-roading? Furthermore, as a midsized SUV, is it capable of towing anything worth a damn or is that better left for your country-dwelling buddy with his Ford F-150 or Chevy Silverado? We intend to answer these questions and maybe go into a few more details so that you’re prepared before you take the plunge into reserving your very own 2019 BMW X5. Let’s get to it.

BMW X5 Towing Capability

Is the BMW X5 Really Suitable for Towing or Going Off-Road? Exterior
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The 2019 BMW X5 has a maximum towing capacity of 5,952 pounds or 2,700 kg for those of you who live and die by the metric system. Is this good or bad? And what trim level do you need to tow this much?

By now you probably know that BMW has dropped the 35i trim, and is introducing the 40i trim level as the new, entry-level model. It comes with an inline-six just like the outgoing model, but this time around it delivers 340 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque. That’s not bad. It’s an improvement of 38 horsepower and 45 pound-feet but, more importantly, it’s clearly suitable for basic towing, should your new X5 be equipped with the proper towing package, of course. The 50i trim level even comes with a revised V-8 that’s good for 462 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. That marks an improvement of 17 horsepower while torque remains the same. The entry-level diesel, the 30d, is good for 265 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque, while the 50d nets your 400 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque.

2019 BMW X5 Dimensions and Towing Capability

Length: 193.77 in
Width 78.89 in
Height: 68.7 in
Wheelbase: 117.1 in
Front track: 65.5 in
Rear track: 66.3 in
Towing Capacity (braked): 5,952 lbs (2700 kg)
Towing Capacity (unbraked): 1,653 lbs (750 kg)

While these numbers are important as far as towing goes, the truth is, they don’t matter much with the X5. See, the X5’s towing capacity isn’t limited by power output, driveline integrity, or suspension limitations. It’s limited by the very structure that makes the X5 what it is. The truth is, all models can handle the maximum towing capacity, assuming you have a BMW-installed towing package. Of course, you’ll be able to handle steep inclines better with the d models or the 50i trim, but even the entry-level model can handle appropriate towing. Keep in mind, however, that the maximum rating is only good for a braked trailer, with unbraked capacity limited to just 1,653 pounds or 750 kg. When you figure in the weight of your trailer, you may be able to haul around a bunch of household furniture or a small enclosed trailer what varies items, but don’t expect to haul another vehicle or even a large animal hauler safely.

Is the 2019 BMW X5 Good for Off-Roading?

Is the BMW X5 Really Suitable for Towing or Going Off-Road?
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Let me just come right out and say it – don’t expect to take the new BMW X5 rock climbing. In fact, if you try to climb over anything higher than a typical America sidewalk curb, you might not be too happy about the result. The 2019 X5 does have a ground clearance of 8.425 inches, so you have a little bit of room to play with, but you better leave the heavy-duty off-roading to the big boys or, at least, your buddy and his Jeep Wrangler or lifter Silverado, anyway. As for the other stuff – I’m talking about sand dunes, two-tracks, or even a little bit of mud – you might find yourself entering a new world of fun. It’s not something a lot of people would do in a BMW, but the capability is there if you’re someone who’s brave. However, you’ll probably want to get BMW’s off-road package. That will set you up with air suspension which will increase your ground clearance, and you’ll even get an off-road specific differential lock in the rear axle. When you add in the off-road specific xDrive AWD, transmission, and pedal response curve, you should be okay to head off the beaten track from time to time. The off-road package also gives you special underguards in the front and rear to help protect the chassis and driveline components as well as special off-road drive modes to make things a little easier on you.

2019 BMW X5 Off-Road Specs

Approach Angle: 25.2 deg
Departure Angle: 22.3 deg
Breakover Angle: 20.2 degrees
Ground Clearance: 8.425 in
Fording Depth: 19.68 in

As far as approach and departure angles go, the X5 isn’t set up to bad. In the front, you’ve got 25.2 degrees to play with, and 22.3 in the rear. It has a break-over angle of 20.2 degrees, so you have some room to play there too. It can even ford as deep as 19.28 inches, so don’t go any deeper than the top of your tires and you should be okay, but be careful – one drink of water from going too deep will be tragic in more ways than one. Again, you won’t be able to do the hardcore stuff, but you should be able to keep up with the Audi Q5, Mercedes GLE, and even less-luxurious midsized SUVs as well.

Final Thoughts

Is the BMW X5 Really Suitable for Towing or Going Off-Road?
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In the end, anything with a BMW badge isn’t necessarily something a lot of people would consider taking off-road, but to some people, it’s just another vehicle, so it’s not that big a deal. It’s capable of doing certain terrain, but for the hardcore stuff, you’ll need something different. As far as towing is concerned, you can do the basic stuff. You might even be able to tow a vehicle if you use a car dolly and tow a compact vehicle, but anything more than that – and that’s pushing it in a lot of cases – you’ll need something that can handle more. Sure, a lot of people will say it can handle it, but it’s not safe, and it’s best to stick within the limits. With that said, the X5 is a pretty capable midsize SUV so as long as you don’t go extreme in either case, have fun.

Further Reading

Is the BMW X5 Really Suitable for Towing or Going Off-Road?
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Read everything we know about the 2019 BMW X5.

2014 BMW X5 Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 BMW X5.

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Top Selling Model: BMW 3 Series

Read more BMW news.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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