By KBB.com Editors
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At the time of its introduction in late 1999, the BMW X5 SUV was either a revelation (for those new to the BMW brand) or an aberration (for those true to the BMW brand). Never before had BMW – or anyone else – combined an accomplished on-road dynamic with such a high degree of utility. Both substance and presence were upgraded in 2011, as the X5 received both new sheet metal and drivetrains. And those drivetrains run the gamut, from an in-line 6-cylinder delivering 300 horsepower to a twin-turbocharged V8 offering 400 horsepower, and the X5 M with 555 horsepower from the same 4.4-liter V8 displacement. At the opposite end of the consumption spectrum is the X5 xDrive35d. The turbocharged diesel provides 265 horsepower and an EPA rating of 26 mpg highway.
If you're enamored of the BMW marque or mystique, but require more utility than BMW sedans or wagons provide, the X5 should be right up your alley. The platform remains dynamic, while the people/cargo equation is much more versatile.
Despite its more sporting capability when compared to the SUV entries of other carmakers, you won't be taking an X5 – any X5 – to an autocross or track day. To that end, you might not wish to accept the trade-off for the X5's more aggressive performance (i.e. a more aggressive ride). If you prefer the art of shopping to the art of driving you'll find better options within BMW's competitive set.
Given the number of substantive changes (some 4,000 new parts) in 2011, the 2012 BMW X5 is largely a carryover model year for the SUV, with only minor modifications.
Driving Impressions With a sophisticated suspension, excellent braking, communicative steering and at least 300 horsepower, the 2012 BMW X5 – in any of its iterations – provides a compelling testament to BMW's...engineering prowess. No amount of engineering, however, can completely disguise the X5's mass, some 5,000 pounds in basic x35i form. This remains a Sport Activity Vehicle and not, notably, a sport sedan; care should be given to operate an SUV in a more conservative manner than a sport sedan or Sports/GT. If you demand a combination of "sport" and "utility," few will deliver that combo more credibly than BMW's X5.
Offering 265 horsepower and a stump-pulling 425 lb-ft of torque, BMW's Advanced Diesel is the perfect powerplant for the times. If going from stoplight to stoplight the diesel delivers a 0-60 time of under seven seconds. And if you're going from coast to coast expect to eke out 26 mpg. The above, in combination with a genuinely fun demeanor, makes the xDrive35d SUV the gem in this particular lineup.
xDrive Full-Time All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
With limited ground clearance and all-season tires, the 2012 X5 has few off-road aspirations, but it does have one of the best all-weather all-wheel-drive (AWD) systems available, which electronically varies front-to-rear torque and traction control to optimize grip.
In "growing" the brand, BMW expanded X5 cargo capacity via a longer and higher body in combination with a lower cargo floor. Rear seats fold flat, and an optional third row is available. That third row is best reserved for children; BMW's target demographic for the X5 is young families. The cockpit is oriented to the driver, while a generous greenhouse provides excellent views out for both driver and passengers. Regrettably (given its starting price), leatherette is the standard seating material for both xDrive35i and xDrive35d. And a 2-piece tailgate provides access to the rear compartment.
With its exterior updates, last year's X5 enjoyed the more organic feel of BMW's sedan lineup. That, in combination with a longish wheelbase and short overhangs, imbues the new X5 with a visual athleticism not evident on the previous generation. Eighteen-inch wheels (standard) supply the X5 SUV with a planted stance, while both 19-inch and 20-inch are available to those wanting an even more aggressive look – and more aggressive on-road capability.
All X5 models enjoy a generous level of standard equipment. The base X5, with an MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) of roughly $48,500, includes xDrive all-wheel drive (no 2WD variants offered), Hill Descent Control, 18-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, 3-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel, 10-way power-adjustable driver's and passenger's seat, iDrive system with on-board computer and controller and AM/FM stereo with 205 watts transmitted through 10 speakers. This, of course, is above and beyond the dynamic capabilities standard on every BMW. The X5 xDrive35d brings to the table 4-cylinder efficiency, prodigious torque and a third-row seat. Finally, both X5 xDrive50i and X5 M bring performance to blow your mind – along with everyone else's.
The base X5 is notable for the number of options not available. A Convenience package includes the panoramic moonroof, while navigation, heated front seats, a third-row seat and satellite radio can be spec'd separately. Opt for the X5 xDrive35i Premium, with a base of over $56,000, and your variables expand exponentially. An Active ventilated seat package, Cold Weather Package, Premium Sound Package and Convenience Package are just a few of the options you can include on your new X5.
You pay your money, and you take your choice. And as with most purchases, the decision is arrived at by balancing your needs and your wants. The great thing about BMW's engine mix is that not one of them sacrifices performance; even the slowest off the line, BMW's 3.0-liter turbodiesel, delivers 60 mph from a stop in under seven seconds. If you should want to stretch the envelope to its Chuck Yeager max, opt for the X5 M. This variant (of the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8) punches a full 555 horsepower to the pavement.
3.0-liter in-line 6 Turbocharged
300 horsepower @ 5,800-6,250 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23
3.0-liter in-line 6 Turbodiesel
265 horsepower @ 4,200 rpm
425 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26
4.4-liter V8 Twin-Turbocharged
400 horsepower @ 5,500-6,400 rpm
450 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20
4.4-liter V8 Twin-Turbocharged (X5 M)
555 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
500 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,650 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/17
The 2012 BMW X5 xDrive35i has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $48,000. The X5 Premium begins at roughly $56,000, while the X5 Sport Activity is over $58,000. Adding V8 power elevates the window sticker some $7,000 ($65,000) and the X5 M is north of $87,000, and can easily reach six figures with little effort beyond checking option boxes. A random showroom sampling revealed an xDrive35i Premium with $4,200 of optional equipment. With destination, the MSRP was just under $60,000. The competitive set is increasingly crowded, with entries from Acura, Audi, Infiniti and Mercedes. In most instances, BMW's X5 SUV reflects both good value and excellent resale. Be sure to check Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Option to see what consumers are actually paying in your market area.
By Simon (CA) on Wednesday, June 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks, driving it and the options"
Cons: "I guess $$$$"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought my X5 35d from the Mercedes dealer. I went to buy Mercedes ML350 but went home with used 27K X5 diesel and paid $5000 more than the brand new ML350. Wife complaint but Does is it worth it ? DEFINETELY YES!!! I love this Car. As you might know love hurts sometimes but still want to have it right ? I like to drive this car.. I have all the options you can think.. Very confortable and good MPG (about 23 mile per galon diesel). I've been in dealer few times for services and had to change the tires (cost me over $2000 for 4 tires). Dealer also change the brakes and diesel engine compenents under the factory warranty. I wanted to buy the extended warranty but I found non-dealer BMW service in my neighborhood and their prices a lot lower than the dealaer prices so I did not buy the extended warranty. I think, I will drive this car another 5 years. If you are very money sensitive I would recommend you to buy the Japanese cars not this one. If you decide the buy this car make sure you have plenty options."
By BostonBWMOwner (MA) on Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Appealing aesthetics justify the premium price"
Cons: "Nothing as such"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I simply admire the superior engineering of the BWM SAV which leaves its japanese competitors far behind.Even its German & US competitors find it hard to hold candle to it when its comes to confidence oozing drivability,unsurpassed quality,pure luxury,and sporty performance of it.Don't look anywhere else if you want a perfect all weather & all terrain SUV (BMW=SAV). Unrivalled overall performance and will stay miles ahead to its league!That's why Its truely called "ULTIMATE DRIVING MACHINE"."
15 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By FrankNJ1 (NJ) on Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, value, features."
Cons: "Never enough time to drive it."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Hand down this is the best SUV you can get in this class. It handles like you are driving a car. The amount of interior space is excellent. We didn't opt for the 3rd row as we diden't need it and by seeing it I feel it is a waste. We went with the Premium edition and loaded it up with a nice amoutn of options. Must have options are the Multi-Contour seats and the Premium Sound."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By LoveBMWs (IL) on Sunday, January 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "nice lines and very responsive about 15 mph"
Cons: "This is not BMW quality."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"This is my third BMW in a row I have owned. The 2013 X5 Premium is the worst vehicle I have ever owned. It is physically exhausting to drive because the steering is so tight on the vehicle. If your normal driving route includes stop and go's, you will find the transmission frustrating because it hesitates off the line, the road noice is louder than my toyota pickup truck, not to mention the ride is stiffer than my pu truck. Don't make the same mistake I did by taking it for a test drive around the block. Do yourself a big favor and get the dealer to loan you the vehicle for a weekend and drive it in your normal environment. I own 4 vehicles and this is the last one out of the garage!"
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By BMW Leaser (AL) on Tuesday, December 11, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Masculine, Great Performance, fun to drive"
Cons: "Can be a little loud during exceleration"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have leased BMWs and other luxury vehicles for that past 15 years and am very pleased with the X5 diesel. It has the performance characteristics for the 335 with a lot of extra space. If you enjoy the driving experience of a BMW you will love this vehicle. If you are more of a soft ride Cadillac person, this vehicle will not meet your needs."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Bmw previous owner (AZ) on Sunday, September 23, 2012
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Worst car I have ever owned, expensive out of warranty repairs, extremely unreliable. - My approximate mileage is 82,000
Pros: "Loved the look, drove well"
Cons: "Worst vehicle I have owned, poor reliability,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This was my first BMW, expected more from this auto manufacturer since BWM is a luxury vehicle. I was in the shop for many repairs during the warranty period. My major issues started after warranty expired. I needed to replace the radiator, followed by water pump, thermostat, fuel gauge, brakes were fixed many times and had 3 sets or run flat tires by 60 thousand miles. No one ever tells you that these tires need to be replaced every 20 thousand miles. The car was a beauty but it will be the last BMW I will every buy. The rear camera was the worst I have ever seen it had poor resolution and stayed on while I drove forward. The voice connectivity was poor, I could never use it."
47 people out of 55 found this review helpful