Large premium SUV of the year 2021: BMW X5

Arguably the car that first transformed the “Sport” into a “Sports Utility Vehicle,” the BMW X5 has grown steadily since the original debuted in 1998. Now in its fourth generation, the great German machine is better than ever.

A year after scoring its first New Car Awards success, the X5 has retained its grip on the winner’s trophy, its formidable blend of functionality, comfort and cutting-edge technology helping it fend off a host of talented rivals. It also helps that its spacious seven-passenger interior is extremely versatile and exudes premium appeal, while the line of turbocharged and velvety gasoline and diesel engines deliver jaw-dropping performance.

However, it’s the xDrive45e plug-in hybrid that’s the star of the show. Its blend of 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder gasoline engine and electric motor delivers an impressive 389 hp and the ability to travel up to 54 miles on the battery alone. Best of all, the system is so refined and well integrated that most of the time you will have a hard time knowing which engine is running.

Whatever the engine, the X5 is beautifully built and extremely relaxing to drive, its smooth ride and top-notch refinement providing a calming way to go the distance. The cabin is expansive and the 650-liter trunk will swallow everything a family can offer it, while the long list of standard equipment and luxury materials justifies its hefty price tag.

As with all BMWs, impressive dynamics shine through, with strong grip and body control allowing you to tackle corners with flying colors. As a large, high-end all-rounder, the X5 covers all angles.

Best deal

BMW X5 xDrive30d M Sport (£ 63,995)

Thanks to a generous deposit contribution of £ 4,380 from BMW, the xDrive30d offers buyers one of the most affordable ways to acquire an X5. There’s no skimping on quality either, and the six-cylinder diesel engine is powerful but refined. Deposit a 10% deposit and a PCP deal will set you back £ 769 per month over three years.


Land Rover Discovery

The arrival of new Ingenium gasoline and diesel engines with mild hybrid technology means Discovery continues to seek out class honors. It still has one of the most spacious and thoughtfully designed seven-passenger cabins in the industry, and it’s second to none when the going gets tough.

Porsche Cayenne


No big SUV is more engaging to drive than the Cayenne, while the Turbo versions deliver blistering speed. Plug-in hybrid models widen the car’s appeal, as does the relatively stylish Coupe variant. It’s pricey to buy, but if you can afford the plunge, the Cayenne takes a few hits.

New Car Awards 2021: the winners

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