By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 9/13/2012
Although no longer the only sport-oriented SUV on the market, the 2013 BMW X5 remains true to its original formula. Where others have grown larger, the X5 retains its modest size and seating arrangement. And, while many SUVs have moved to deliver a softer ride with compromised handling, the BMW X5 for 2013 retains, for better or worse, the same firm steering, aggressive handling and notoriously stiff ride. The X5's various trims cover a wide range, from the entry-level 6-cylinder X5 xDrive35i to the performance oriented xDrive50i with the M Performance Package to the tire-smoking X5 M. Due to a late introduction last year, the diesel-powered xDrive35d will continue as a 2012 until late in the 2013 model year.
The BMW X5's aggressive ride and handling come with a price, namely the forfeiture of a smooth ride. You can find the same electrifying performance specs from the newly-released Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 and a more luxurious ride from Audi's Q7.
Changes to the 2013 BMW X5 consist mainly of a reshuffled optional-equipment list. The M Performance Package is now available on the xDrive35i Sport Activity and xDrive50i with M Sport Package. The Premium Sound Package is reduced to $950, while the Active Ventilated Seat Package is renamed the Luxury Seating Package.
With a sophisticated suspension, excellent braking, communicative steering and at least 300 horsepower, the 2013 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 xDrive35i 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.Favorite Features
Offering 265 horsepower and a stump-pulling 425 lb-ft of torque, BMW's Advanced Diesel is the perfect engine for the times. It delivers acceleration from zero to 60 mph in under seven seconds and has an EPA highway fuel-economy number of 26 mpg.
xDrive FULL-TIME ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
With limited ground clearance and all-season tires, the 2013 X5 has few off-road aspirations, but it does have one of the best all-weather, all-wheel-drive systems available, which electronically varies front-to-rear torque and traction control to optimize grip.