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2012 BMW X5 M

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2012 BMW X5 M Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.7

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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2012

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 the X5 M

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.

xDrive35d Diesel
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.

2012 BMW X5 M Details
Interior

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.

Exterior

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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

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2012 BMW X5 M Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.9
Out of 10

Based on 190 Ratings for the 2007 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.9/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.1/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Best vehicle until about 60000 miles

By on Saturday, August 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"problems are mounting. every vew months some goes wrong. gasket leaks $1400.00, water pump $700.00 +, suspension $1400. new battery 5 months ago but now high battery drain light just came on. oil leaks are back just after the oil was changed. but that could be the mechanics fault. it seems to go on an on. shopping for a more reliable car. :( used to love my BMW's. Mechanic says cars are being made with more and more complex circuitry. repairs are expensive as parts are made cheaper but labor is more. i used to recommend this car. no longer a fan. sorry BMW. you loose."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Great to drive but has occasional hiccups.

By on Tuesday, August 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Fun European style handling"

Cons: "Some interior design and computer issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"2008 X5 3.0si with 90,000 miles (144000 km). Overall almost as good as my '83 Grand Prix, just way more noise, lot more gas, and not nearly as comfortable (but that '83 was a one off vehicle, never found another one like it). However this X5 has been a lot of fun to drive and is dependable 99% of the time. It does suffer from occasional mental difficulties and aberrant behavior. I think I can only attribute this to bad computer coding. Things will function or not function on a somewhat random basis. Usually will just need to reboot and all will work fine again. (was this programmed by Microsoft?) Also, this vehicle is definitely a SUV, not to be confused with a truck like a Jimmy SLT. Same size, just not as practical or useful in many ways. And lots of fancy buttons and gadgets on the X5 to play with and decipher, but I am not sure what the engineers were thinking when they designed them. Maybe everybody else likes it that way. I dont. Anyway, looks good, drives great, mechanically good, practicality so-so, gadgets ....meh. Overall I'd give this a good solid 7.5 in my books."

Diesel is a great match for this vehicle

By on Saturday, August 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great value, starts easily and runs well."

Cons: "Electronic shifting transmission."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Great vehicle. Diesel starts easily, runs well. Never stuck in snow - all wheel drive is excellent. Very comfortable seats, great lumbar support. No fatigue on trips. On long trips (1200 miles+) got 32-34mpg. Around town: 21-22 mpg. Diesel engine is a perfect match for this vehicle. Expensive body repairs, e.g., front fenders are moulded plastic - good for appearance and and no rust, but cost a lot."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

A Remarkable Driving Machine!

By on Saturday, August 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive."

Cons: "Sport seating not as comfortable as expected."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The X5 performs like a champ. Highway gas mileage for a V8 has been a solid 21-22 MPG. Would have preferred something over Sports Seats. GPS could use upgrading. Too basic. Our portable Garmin has many more features. Comfort is otherwise commended by all who ride in the vehicle. Mercedes, Infiniti, Lexus, Acura, etc., aren't even close to being in the same class as this vehicle. Hope to continue enjoying it for a number of years to come."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Crazy Fast and does everything!

By on Saturday, June 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "multi faceted, very fast, looks, value"

Cons: "expensive new, unknown costs out of warranty"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is amazing! Thank you to whoever optioned this vehicle when new, absorbed the nearly $70k in depreciation and made it possible for me to own it used in almost new condition! This is an E70 2012 X5 5.0i M Sport. All options except ventilated seats. It has paddle shifters, extended Merino Leather, M Sport exhaust, third row, everything. I have been fortunate to have driven many fast cars but nothing feels as rapid as this in the real world on real roads.There is very llittle out there as far as quality press reviews on this car, especially with the M Sport package (not to be confused with the X5 M) so I thought this might be helpful. I have not been able to confirm this but I believe the M Sport also gets a power bump over the standard 5.0i. It's seriously fast. The 20in M Sport wheels look amazing and with non run flat tires ride very well, surprisingly well. I would not want to drive into NYC especially through NJ with their craters that they call pot holes, but that's the case with any car that I value. At 275 section front and 315 section rears, tire replacement will be spendy and not suitable for snow. Get a set of winter wheels and tires like I did to swap out seasonally. The car seats fit snugly in the third row but I do not. This is a great feature when we have company and the kids should fit back there for years to come. There are not car seat clips in the third row but the seat belts tighten down very well, FYI. The X5 is an all around athlete that can medal in almost all events, take you out to dinner, all while serenading you with NPR worthy wit. The ease of which it gets up to speed only adds to its luxuy appeal. The eight speed ZF transmission is the perfect partner to the mighty twin turbo V8 and is a major player in making this car as fast as it is. Economy has been very reasonable and actually better than the 2009 X5 3.0i we replaced. Much of that has to do with how little effort it takes to get up to speed and stay there. There is so much torque pretty much every where that down shifting is only necessary for having fun."

9 people out of 12 found this review helpful

I love this car - it is our second one!

By on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I absolutely love this vehicle. We loved the first one so much we bought a second. Had the first one for 10 years! who owns a car that long any more? Loved the drive and handling right up until the day we had to say goodbye and HELLO to the new one! again - 6 years later I still absolutely LOVE this vehicle. the room - the ride - the POWER! The V8 is the only way to go! The first X5 did have a number of issues and we did put quite a bit into it. ($18k?) HOWEVER that was over the 10 years. So we easily would have purchased another vehicle in that time and spent at least as much. Never going back to anything else - unless of course I have to!!"

12 people out of 23 found this review helpful

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