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BMW X5 and X6 given mid-life refresh

The BMW X5 and X6 are both set to receive small facelifts, including mild exterior styling changes and powertrain tweaks

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The BMW X5 SUV and X6 coupé-SUV are both set to receive mid-life facelifts, including mild exterior styling changes and powertrain tweaks.

The revisions come just a week after Mercedes-Benz introduced a similar update to the similarly-sized GLE range last week.

Externally, BMW has given both models slimmer LED headlight designs with chevron-shaped daytime running lights that also act as turning signals. The X5 and X6 feature slightly altered front kidney grilles that can now be illuminated with the optional ‘M Sport Pro’ pack.

The front and rear bumpers have also been redesigned with more pronounced air intakes, and range-topping M Sport models have gained a more aggressive look with black gloss paint on the wing mirrors, roof rails, lower front bumper and grille.

The updated models also feature interior changes, most notably the curved ‘iDrive’ dashboard display that BMW has been gradually rolling out across its range, consisting of a 15-inch digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a 12-inch infotainment touchscreen.

The climate control buttons on the leather-trimmed dash have been removed – these settings can now be altered through the touchscreen. The dashboard also features a new ambient lighting strip on the front passenger side, and slimmer air vents.

Finally, the latest iteration of the X5 and X6 will be available with an improved range of engine options. Standard petrol- and diesel-powered models now come with 48V of mild-hybrid assistance, while the lone plug-in hybrid variant – only available in the X5 range – now produces 490hp, 96hp more than the outgoing model.

This performance boost also means more all-electric battery range – BMW claims that its updated X5 ‘xDrive50e’ can muster up to ten extra miles of electric range of a single charge, 68 miles total.

The flagship M Sport models have also received a performance boost. Powered by a 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine, the X5 and X6 ‘M60i xDrive’ variants get the same mild-hybrid assistance, upping their output to 530hp. All models come with a re-tuned eight-speed automatic gearbox, that BMW says has faster gear shifting, and comes with a launch control function on M Sport models.

These facelifted models are now available to order. The first models are set to arrive in UK showrooms around April, and an extra diesel powertrain option will arrive later in the summer.

The BMW X5 and X6 have been praised by the UK motoring media for their strong on-road performance and low running costs, but reviewers often comment that the X6 is less practical than X5, and less exciting to drive than its looks suggest. The X5, widely-regarded as one of the top large SUVs on the market, holds an Expert Rating of 78%, while the X6 holds an Expert Rating of 62%.

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Sean Rees
Sean Rees
Sean is the Deputy Editor at The Car Expert. A enthusiastic fan of motorsport and all things automotive, he is accredited by the Professional Publishers Association, and is now focused on helping those in car-buying need with independent and impartial advice.