Cabin Design & Roominess

In keeping with BMW tradition of late, the X5 M's cabin is somewhat austere. High-grade materials are used, including great-looking available woven leather trim that looks like carbon fiber. BMW calls it Carbon Leather. Still, there aren't a lot of frills to distract from the driving experience.

The front M sport seats are finished in leather and include 14-way adjustment and a memory feature for the driver's seat, steering wheel and side mirrors. The seat cushioning is firm but comfortable, though I was a bit surprised the wide seats didn't offer greater side bolstering; this is an M car, after all. The thick-rimmed, leather-wrapped M steering wheel is great to hold onto.

The backseat is spacious, with good legroom even when the front seat is adjusted for a taller driver. The seat cushion, however, is low to the floor, which means taller passengers will sit with their knees raised. That doesn't translate to much thigh support. The backseat isn't adjustable, either, so you can't slide it forward or backward or recline the backrest. The regular X5 can have an optional third row that increases seating capacity to seven, but that feature isn't offered in the X5 M.

The cargo area measures 35.8 cubic feet with the backseat up and 75.2 when it's folded. That's similar to the Land Rover Range Rover's cargo space, but notably more than what the Porsche Cayenne offers. That's enough space to pile four golf bags behind the backseat for a trip to the course. When the backseat is folded, the extended cargo floor is nearly flat — there's just a slight incline to it — and there aren't any gaps in the floor or protrusions that could catch a piece of luggage as you slide it in.

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