3 Across Installations: Which Car Seats Will Fit in a BMW X5?

The BMW X5 is one of the most popular European mid-sized luxury SUVs on the market, competing with SUVs (or crossovers) like the Mercedes M-Class, Acura MDX, Lexus RXVolvo XC90, Volvo XC60, and its stablemate the BMW X3. While larger than the X3, it’s also small enough to fit in most garages and even comes with a 3rd row option in the most recent years. It’s frequently chosen as a family vehicle among parents interested in a blend of luxury, style, and safety. After having the chance to test out an X3 for 3 across car seat compatibility, I borrowed an X5 to see how it would do when it came to puzzling 3 car seats across. I had much more luck fitting seats safely here than I did with the X3, although it was still a bit more difficult than I’d expected.

Something to keep in mind with the X5 is that it’s one of the few 3-row SUVs left on the market that still doesn’t offer side airbag protection in the 3rd row. This is a downside when considering that row for children and adults alike. And in general, the 3rd row of the X5 is not a good place for car seats. You can fit some boosters and forward-facing seats there, but there are very few, if any, rear-facing seats that will fit there (I haven’t found one yet). When it comes to car seats, I’d consider the X5 a 2-row vehicle.

Before looking at the list of seats that did and didn’t work, remember that your kids are best off rear-facing as long as you can manage (ideally until 4!), followed by keeping them harnessed as long as you can (ideally until 8!), and finally using a booster seat until they can pass the 5 step test for seat belt use (which typically happens between 10 and 12). The goal is to keep them restrained appropriately as long as necessary to keep them as safe as possible. There’s no need to rush from one stage to the next.

After a long afternoon of testing, I came up with my list of the usual suspects, as well as a lot of seats I hadn’t expected to work. I’m pretty sure this is the most detailed list of 3 across car seats that will fit in the BMW X5 on the Internet. If you find my list helpful when shopping for car seats, you can shop through my Amazon link below. I’ll add more seats as I test them over time; I want as complete a list of compatibility as possible with each vehicle I test.

You can access the complete 3 across guide for every vehicle here and the complete list of recommended seats here. The Canadian car seat guide is here. 3 across car seat images are courtesy of Wikipedia.

x5 - publicdomain - 20142014, 2015, 2016 BMW X5 (F15)

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Britax Parkway SGL, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Clek Foonf (x3).

Recaro Performance SPORT, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Graco Size4Me 65 (x3).

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Britax Boulevard ClickTight, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Boulevard G4.1, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Boulevard G4, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Diono Radian / RXT (x3).

Britax Marathon ClickTight, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Marathon G4.1, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Marathon G4, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Diono Radian / RXT, Ride Safer Travel Vest, Diono Radian / RXT.

Britax Marathon ClickTight, Diono Radian / RXT, Safety 1st Complete Air.

Britax Marathon G4.1, Diono Radian / RXT, Safety 1st Complete Air.

Britax Marathon G4, Diono Radian / RXT, Safety 1st Complete Air.

Safety 1st Complete Air, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Boulevard ClickTight, Diono Radian / RXT, Safety 1st Complete Air.

Britax Boulevard G4.1, Diono Radian / RXT, Safety 1st Complete Air.

Britax Boulevard G4, Diono Radian / RXT, Safety 1st Complete Air.

Tips and Tricks:

This generation of the BMW X5 is 192 inches long and 76 inches wide, which you’d think would mean you’d have a good time fitting seats 3 across. However, to be honest, I was surprised at the sheer number of seats I was able to make work. This is because as with the previous generation, due to the narrowness of the center seat, the process is a bit more difficult than you’d expect.

The current generation X5 is the same width but an inch longer than the previous generation, making 3 across installations about as likely (or unlikely) as they were in the previous generation. Fortunately, it’s still possible with a large number of seats if you take your time. Seat belt use will be a necessity, especially since center LATCH borrowing is not permitted in the X5 or any BMW.

x5-2010-publicdomain2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 BMW X5 (E70)

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Britax Parkway SGL, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Clek Foonf (x3).

Recaro Performance SPORT, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Graco Size4Me 65 (x3).

 

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Britax Boulevard ClickTight, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Boulevard G4.1, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Boulevard G4, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Diono Radian / RXT (x3).

Britax Marathon ClickTight, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Marathon G4.1, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Marathon G4, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Diono Radian / RXT, Ride Safer Travel Vest, Diono Radian / RXT.

Britax Marathon ClickTight, Diono Radian / RXT, Safety 1st Complete Air.

Britax Marathon G4.1, Diono Radian / RXT, Safety 1st Complete Air.

Britax Marathon G4, Diono Radian / RXT, Safety 1st Complete Air.

Safety 1st Complete Air, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Britax Boulevard ClickTight, Diono Radian / RXT, Safety 1st Complete Air.

Britax Boulevard G4.1, Diono Radian / RXT, Safety 1st Complete Air.

Britax Boulevard G4, Diono Radian / RXT, Safety 1st Complete Air.

Tips and Tricks:

This generation of the BMW X5 is 191 inches long and 76 inches wide, which is a bit deceptive since it’s not quite as friendly on the inside when it comes to puzzling 3 car seats side by side as you’d expect from the width. The main issue is how narrow the back seat area is; it’s surprisingly slim!  That said, there are still a number of seats that will work; you’ll just need to work a bit harder at it.

One installation I tried over and over again that just wouldn’t work involved a Frontier 90 and the Radian RXTs; a Frontier also wouldn’t work with a Coccoro and a Radian RXT. You’ll need something narrower for a combination seat.

Keep in mind as well that you cannot use LATCH to install a center seat on BMWs, as it is specifically forbidden in the vehicle manual.

x5 - 2004 - publicdomain2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 BMW X5 (E53)

Guaranteed 3 across installations:

Clek Fllo (x3).

Britax Parkway SGL, Diono Radian / RXT, Combi Coccoro.

Graco Size4Me 65 (x3).

Clek Foonf (x3).

Combi Coccoro (x3).

Graco Contender (x3).

Diono Radian / RXT (x3).

Tips and Tricks:

The initial generation of the BMW X5 is 184 inches long and 74 inches wide, or 7 inches shorter and 2 inches narrower than the generation that would follow it. As a result, it’s going to be the most difficult of the 3 generations to use in terms of 3 across generations, especially when the center seat is considered. However, there are definitely seats that will work inside it, especially if you remember to use seat belts for all 3 seats.

If you find the information on car safety, recommended car seats, and car seat reviews on this car seat blog helpful, you can bookmark and shop through this Amazon link. Canadians can bookmark and shop through this link.

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