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2008 BMW X5

Overview
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2008 BMW X5 Review

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When BMW introduced its first "crossover" SUV (CUV) in 2000, its marketers called it "SAV" for "Sports Activity Vehicle." The point was to separate it from other sport utilities of the time and position it as a BMW-appropriate blend of performance and handling with practicality, versatility and all-weather capability. For the most part, it worked, for both the positioning and the vehicle. The original X5 was not the roomiest or most practical of SUVs, but piloting it down a twisty two-lane ribbon of road was a revelation. It drove like a taller version of the 5 Series sedan, which, in many ways, it was. This new version is all of that, and roomier, besides.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you would be driving an upscale German sport sedan such as a BMW 5 Series, but want or need more utility, along with all-wheel-drive security, this may be the right fit for your garage.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Because the X5 is substantially more expensive than competitors with similar capabilities, and its ride and handling balance is biased toward firmer road handling, you may be happier with something softer-riding and more affordable.

What's New for 2008

The 2008 BMW X5 receives more standard equipment, including a power sliding panoramic sunroof.

Driving the X5

Driving Impressions Despite its new-found size, weight and optional third-row seats, the 2008 X5 remains one of the few largish sport utilities that can be fun to drive for serious drivers. This...

is due to its sophisticated suspension (double-pivot front and multi-link rear), H-rated all-season tires, variable-assist rack-and-pinion steering and powerful four-wheel disc brakes. We're not fans of BMW's electronic shifter or iDrive multifunction controller, but, once underway, the X5 goes, stops, steers and holds the road like a luxury sport sedan. BMW's ultra-responsive Active Steering and larger wheels and tires, up to a 20-inch performance set, are available on the 4.8i with Sport Package.
Favorite Features

xDrive Full-Time All-Wheel Drive
With limited ground clearance and all-season tires, the X5 has few off-road aspirations but one of the best all-weather all-wheel-drive systems, which electronically varies front-to-rear torque and traction control to optimize grip.

Xenon Adaptive Headlamps
These are auto-leveled and steered in response to steering angle, vehicle speed and turning rate to light more of the road through curves and dips, and all four are encircled by luminous rings that serve as parking and (if desired) daytime running lights.

2008 BMW X5 Details
Interior

The X5's beautifully crafted interior has good leg and shoulder room with fold-flat second-row seats and a generous cargo capacity. The glovebox has unique upper and lower electrically powered doors that lock and unlock with the central locking system. A multi-function keyless remote and a start/stop button replace the conventional ignition switch and key, while a console switch for the electromechanical parking brake replaces the traditional lever. Fans of BMW's electronic shifter and iDrive multi-system controller will be pleased that the X5 has them for the first time. The three-spoke steering wheel has multi-function controls, including enhanced dynamic cruise control and two programmable switches.

Exterior

The 2008 X5 morphs BMW's current crease-sided design language into a tall wagon shape larger in all dimensions than the original model yet not much different in appearance. The signature twin-kidney grilles are prominent between a sculpted power-dome hood and a black lower fascia with large intakes for radiator and brake cooling air. Clear lenses cover quad round headlamps encircled by luminous rings that double as parking lamps and daytime running lamps. The outboard fog lamps also serve as cornering lamps. In back, a functional roof spoiler houses the high-mounted brake lamp, and large oval dual exhausts are imbedded in the black lower fascia.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The X5's generous allotment of standard features includes six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission, xDrive full-time all-wheel drive, all-season run-flat tires on 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon adaptive auto-leveling headlamps with automatic control, panoramic sunroof, power tilt and telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, dynamic cruise control, 10-way power front seats with memory, leatherette upholstery, remote operating one-touch power windows, dual-zone automatic climate control and AM/FM/CD/MP3 12-speaker audio with auxiliary input. The V8-powered 4.8i model features numerous additional items, including leather and a choice of wood trims. Standard safety equipment includes Dynamic Stability Control, Hill Descent Control, trailer stabilization, rollover protection system and two-stage front, front seat-mounted side and front and rear head-curtain airbags. Both versions of the X5 get BMW Ultimate Service, which includes roadside assistance and all recommended maintenance for four years/50,000 miles.

Optional Equipment

Many X5 options are grouped into packages, including an Active Ventilated Seat Package with 20-way adjustable multi-contour front seats, a Premium Sound Package, a Rear Climate Package with four-zone climate control and privacy glass, a Cold Weather Package, a Sport Package (19-inch wheels, sport seats, electronic damping control), a Technology Package (Park Distance Control, rearview camera and navigation system with Voice Command and Real Time Traffic information) and a Premium Package with power-folding outside mirrors, BMW Assist with automatic collision notification and (on the 3.0si) wood and leather interior trim. The long list of stand-alone options includes Active Steering, third-row seat, power tailgate, Head-up Display, HD radio, Sirius Satellite Radio, rear-seat entertainment system, Nevada or Nappa leather, 20-way adjustable front seats, heated front and rear seats, Park Distance Control, the navigation system, performance tires and 20-inch wheels (4.8i only) and BMW Assist.

Under the Hood

The 2008 X5 is available in 3.0si and 4.8i models, the former powered by a 260-horsepower double overhead camshaft (DOHC) 24-valve 3.0-liter magnesium/aluminum in-line six, the latter by a 350-horsepower DOHC 32-valve 4.8-liter aluminum V8. Both feature BMW's exclusive Valvetronic electronic valve actuation and Double VANOS variable valve timing, which contribute to better-than-expected fuel efficiency for such performance-oriented vehicles.

3.0-liter in-line 6
260 horsepower at 6600 rpm
225 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21

4.8-liter V8
350 horsepower at 6300 rpm
350 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400-3800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19

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2008 BMW X5 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.9
Out of 10

Based on 158 Ratings for the 2007 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.8/10
    Quality
    8.2/10
  • Reliability
    8.1/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

Great Vehicle. Had a few issues

By on Friday, March 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good mileage for a heavy SUV. Very good power."

Cons: "GPS sub-par"

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

"Had a few recall issues related to the diesel engine components which were fixed by the dealer. No other issues. Vehicle has a pleasant ride and has a sport ride setting which I prefer. The GPS system is sub-par and the updates are also sub-par. I understand the GPS has improved in the 2013 & 2014 models. I have experienced the following mileage: 20-22 city, 28-32 Highway."

8 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Best engineered automobile I've owned

By on Thursday, March 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Excellent engineering,except for the "I" Drive"

Cons: "With the engineering,Why the I Drive"

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

"I had 13 New Cadilliacs, yet after I drove a BMW, you are in a different world. Being an engineer and having owned a manufacturing co.for forty yrs. I am completely aware of what goes into research and development of a product. I always purchased American,since I was an American Manufacturer. That was. Mistake! The ideas and engineering that goes into the development of BMW is top of the line! Their biggest problem,that I see, is that the Dealers try to skimp on service. Without service what have you got? ( an American car!)"

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Ultimate SUV, maybe RR 2014 will beat

By on Monday, February 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Best driving SUV , reliability medium vs Asian"

Cons: "Complex and good dealer and mtce support key"

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

"Have top of the range for 2008 4.8i + sports package - Still best styling in 2014 - Safe and solid for my wife, traction and brakes amazing. - Maybe Range Rover Sport 2014 can finally beat it but >$$ vs a 2014 BMW - Dealership quality very important as a complex beast and medium reliability in most surveys and its true. - Always buy extended warranty with a European expensive car just in case, parts and labor and alternatives are $$$ - No Japanese/US SUV I see comes close on driving experience but some report better relaibility - In the end I am looking for a Reliable gas effcient upgrade, but dont see any that will give me the pleasure of BMW overall. - If an SUV is an A to B 30mpg uber reliable investment, then get something Asian. If styling, performance, handling, safety, envy are in your vocab, then look at a BMWX5"

I love my X5! Safe, solid and fun!!

By on Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable and fun to drive!!!!"

Cons: "Expensive to fix!!"

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

"Our X5 has been wonderful!! A few minor issues have popped up, but nothing too serious. My one small bit of advice to future owners is this: If your planning on buying an X5 out of warranty, spend the few bucks to have BMW do a pre-buy inspection. I almost purchased an X5 from a dealership that looked, sounded and seemed fault free. Upon inspection, we were looking at $23,000.00 in repairs to the engine! Someone had abused it. Anyhow, We found a new option, had it inspected and life is good. Also, Do not make the mistake of purchasing this SUV if you can't afford to maintain and fix it. They aren't cheap to fix!!! If you live in a metro area, do some research and check out a few reviews on foreign auto service/repair. If you can find a reasonable option for repairs, I'd say go for it!"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

buyers beware!

By on Saturday, January 25, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: too many repairs

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "enjoyable to drive"

Cons: "poor quality, terrible customer service"

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

"I owned the 2008 X5 model for 5 years, and enjoyed the 80K miles I drove, but there was also a lot of frustration. The last straw for me was when BMW customer service refused to do anything about the "banana-skin" effect which is apparently a common fault with the X5. The trim on the glove compartment door had peeled off in the corners and so the door wouldn't open any more. The national BMW customer service told me that it is a wear and tear problem and the manufacturer would not provide any solutions. I pointed out that it was clearly because of using glues unsuitable for the Southern California hot summers, but wasn't able to get anywhere. After years of dealing with high-pressure BMW service departments that were constantly trying to sell me extras, including all kinds of lubrication services not covered by the BMW maintenance, I could not take it any more and sold the car."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great to Drive But Expesnive to Maintain

By on Monday, December 30, 2013

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "A great design and a great driver. Has presence."

Cons: "Expesnive to maintain and Repair"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I love driving it. The steering feedback, roadfeel, responsiveness, etc. are just great; particularly for an SUV. I drove my son's 2010 520d (I am in Korea) and no comparison. Great build quality, etc....but Freude am Fahren was absent. Got back in my X5 and couldn't believe the difference. Yes, the 3 liter 6-cylinder is a bit weak for this heavy a vehicle but that was replaced with a turbo-charged version in later years. The drive train has been very reliable. The valve cover gasket has had a slow drip for over a year but I am now rebuilding the ignition system, which will include the spark plugs, coils and wires. Also will replace the enire valve cover, which includes new gaskets as well as the oil separator valve. Will also replace the 2 VANOS solenoids while we're in the area. There were also (typical) cooling system component replacments to include the inner radiator, expansion tank, hoses, etc.. And will soon do a preemptive water pump replacement. Had to replace the iDrive controller, the HVAC blower assembly and right reat talilight assembly. I love it but you have to be ready to PAY to own it...i.e. tires are $1k a set, which I replaced every 25k. The new battery just cost me over $300. If you need/want an SUV but want one that is responsive with a great design then this is for you. But if you don't care about driving dynamics and the connection between car, road and driver, then there are competent comfortable and cheaper to own vehicles out there. What are your needs? P.S. the E70 series X5 was built from 2007 through the 2013 model years."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?