Think of the BMW X5 as a tall sports sedan with reasonable towing capability and a great view ahead. It's not meant to be an off-road vehicle, and in terms of utility, the X5 lacks the cargo-passenger flexibility and ultimate cargo capacity of many competitors. The new engines for 2011 are a vast improvement over those they replace and are among the most powerful in the class while also being more fuel efficient. If sporting, on-pavement driving dynamics are the priority in a luxury SUV, the X5 is a great place to start, especially the high-performance M model. If family friendly utility and minimal aggravation are most important, it may not be.
J.P. Vettraino reports to NewCarTestDrive.com from Detroit, with Phil Berg contributing from rural Michigan, and Kirk Bell reporting from South Carolina, Atlanta and Miami.
Model Line Overview
BMW X5 xDrive35i Base ($45,800); BMW X5 xDrive35i Premium ($51,600); BMW X5 xDrive35i Sport Activity ($54,100); xDrive 35d ($51,300); xDrive 50i ($58,400); X5 M ($85,500)
two-stage front impact airbags, front passenger seat-mounted side-impact airbags, first- and second-row head-protecting curtain side airbags with rollover activation, electronic stability control with rollover mitigation, traction control, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), brake assist and brake drying, off-road hill descent control, run-flat tires, tire pressure monitor
Safety equipment (optional):
Front and rear park assist; rear-, top- and side-view camera; lane departure warning
4 years/50,000 miles
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
BMW X5 xDrive 35d ($51,300)
vinyl upholstery; 10-way power-adjustable front seats; dual-zone automatic climate control; interior air filter; memory for the driver's seat and mirrors; cruise control; leather-wrapped, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls; wood interior trim; split-folding second-row seat; power windows, locks and heated exterior mirrors with tilt-down back-up aid; remote keyless entry; sunroof; 12-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with high-definition radio; auxiliary input jack; rain-sensing wipers with heated washers; trip computer; automatic headlights; rear cargo cover; fog lights; roof rails; adaptive xenon headlights; and run-flat tires on alloy wheels
Options as tested (MSRP):
Sport Activity Package ($2,200) with 19-inch wheels, Active Roll Stabilization, sport seats and steering wheel, anthracite headliner and shadowline trim; Premium Package ($3,400) with auto-dimming interior mirror with digital compass, power rear liftgate, power folding auto-dimming exterior mirrors, universal garage door opener, Nevada leather seats, power tilt/telescoping steering column, four-way power lumbar support for front seats, storage package, ambient lighting, BMW Assist with four-year subscription and Bluetooth wireless cell phone link; Technology Package ($2,800) with front and rear park assist, rearview camera with top- and side-view feature, and navigation system with voice command, real-time traffic and 80-gigabyte hard drive; Cold Weather Package ($900) with heated steering wheel, heated front seats and headlight washers; third-row seat with self-leveling suspension ($1,700); Head-up Display ($1,300); Comfort Access keyless starting ($1,000); Sirius satellite radio ($350); iPod and USB adaptor ($400); running boards ($300)
Gas guzzler tax:
Price as tested (MSRP):
3.0-liter dohc 24v inline-6 turbo diesel
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
265 @ 4200
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
425 @ 1750
6-speed automatic with sequential manual shift feature
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
Head/hip/leg room, f:
Head/hip/leg room, m:
Head/hip/leg room, r:
75.2 cu. ft.
Independent double wishbone with coil springs, twin-tube shocks, stabilizer bar
Independent multi-link with air springs
vented disc/vented disc with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Brake Drying
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of April 23, 2010.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges.
N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: