From the small X1 to the seven-seat X5. See the guide to all BMW SUVs

BuyaCar team
Nov 17, 2016

For a car company that made its name with sporty saloons, BMW has been one of the biggest champions of SUVs.

Raised high off the ground, with the ability to go off road, and a big, practical interior, the sport utility vehicle (SUV) doesn't follow the recipe of the traditional low and nimble BMW, but they have been so popular that the company now makes five.

Among those are two sportier models - the X4 and X6, which attempt to blend the practicality of a traditional SUV with the sportier feel of BMW's saloons such as the 3 Series and 5 Series.

In BMW's eyes, there's one for every type of customer. Read on to decide for yourself.  


Best BMW SUV for low running costs
Not so good for Large families

See all new and used BMW X1 deals

The X1, whose rivals include the Audi Q3 and Mercedes GLA, is the baby in BMW’s SUV line-up, designed to look like a shrunken version of the larger X3 and X5 cars. Inside, its dashboard layout and large screen, controlled by a rotary dial, will be familiar to any driver of a modern BMW. Top of its attributes are its surprisingly roomy interior and generous load space, followed by its feeling of responsiveness and liveliness when you turn into corners. Its got some efficient engines too. The best among these is the 190 horsepower 2-litre diesel, which is powerful but economical and cheap to tax. Any tax savings pale into insignificance against its price, which starts at around £27,500: you could have a similarly-sized SUV with a less prestigious badge for £10,000 less. 
Read the full BMW X1 buying guide



Best BMW SUV for sporty drivers
Not so good for penny pinchers

See all new and used BMW X3 deals

The X3 is possibly the most rounded BMW SUV of them all. Not as heavy and bulky as the larger X5, nor as compact as the smaller X1, it's a good all-round car that's comfortable to drive in town but large enough to carry a family and their luggage for an extended break. It competes with the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC in terms of practicality and, the most powerful version is a stong alternative to the Porsche Macan for outright sportiness. All versions are four-wheel drive. The spacious interior looks and feels well-made and finished, while the boot is bigger than a 3 Series saloon’s. Options, however, are expensive - like the asking price.
Read the full BMW X1 buying guide



Best BMW SUV for coupe lovers
Not so good for hard work

See all new and used BMW X4 deals

The X4 is an SUV that's been designed so that its roof curves towards the back like a coupe's. The good news is that it's based on the excellent X3, so is comfortable to drive and doesn't lean excessively in corners. The bad news is that sloping roof limits what you can see out of the rear window. Still, that’s unlikely to bother you if you like its unique styling. What may put you off is that the roof also cuts into what would be a spacious interior, reducing the amount of headroom for rear passengers, so that taller occupants will brush their head against the roof. Like the X3, four-wheel drive is standard and there are three diesel engines to choose from, ranging from a frugal 2-litre to a barnstorming 3-litre.



Best BMW SUV for hard work
Not so good for off-roading

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The X5 is the biggest SUV in BMW’s line-up. Its rivals include the Volvo XC90, Audi Q7 and, like those, the BMW has the option of seven seats. When they are folded into the floor, there's a vast 650-litre boot, as well as plenty of cubbyholes in the rest of the interior. Such a big and hefty SUV is never going to feel like a sportscar to drive but the X5 is surprisingly nimble: most of its engines are powerful, with brisk acceleration and the car feels stable in corners without too much leaning. 

If you are going to need seven-seats regularly - and particularly if you usually have a car full of adults - the Volvo XC90 offers more space. It and the Audi Q7 are also more comfortable over bumps, if not as agile to drive.
Read the full BMW X5 buying guide



Best BMW SUV for making an entrance
Not so good for carrying luggage

See all new and used BMW X6 deals

The X6 is the second SUV-coupe in BMW’s model line-up. In fact it was the first of its kind to be launched and has been very successful. It uses the mechanical parts from the X5 but tops them with that sloping roof. As with the X4, this reduces the amount of headroom in the rear, cuts into boot space and limits rear visibility. The big X6 is surprisingly good to drive, though: the sportiest models are extremely quick, and the car feels even more agile than the X5, with responsive steering that gives you a good feel of how much the wheels are turning. This helps you zip along narrow roads with increased accuracy. With this ability comes a steep price, though.

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