By KBB.com Editors
When BMW introduced its first "crossover" SUV (CUV) in 2000, its marketers called it a "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. The 2009 version is all of that, and roomier, as well.
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.
The big news for 2009 is the introduction of a diesel model, the X5 xDrive 35d, to the lineup. Other changes include the addition of heated rear seats to the Cold Weather package and an automatic tailgate to the Premium Package. The self-leveling rear suspension is removed from the 48i's standard equipment list and is now only available with the optional third-row seat.
Driving Impressions Despite its size, weight and optional third-row seats, the 2009 BMW 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 still not huge 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 48i with Sport Package.
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.
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. The three-spoke steering wheel has multi-function controls, including enhanced dynamic cruise control and two programmable switches.Exterior
The 2009 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.
The X5's generous allotment of standard features includes a six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission, xDrive all-wheel drive, all-season run-flat tires on 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon adaptive auto-leveling headlamps with automatic control, panoramic moonroof, power tilt and telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, dynamic cruise control, 10-way power front seats with memory, leatherette upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and AM/FM/CD/MP3 12-speaker audio with auxiliary input. The V8-powered 48i model features 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. All versions of the X5 get BMW Ultimate Service, which includes roadside assistance and all recommended maintenance for four years/50,000 miles.
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 Real Time Traffic information) and a Premium Package with power tailgate, BMW Assist with automatic collision notification. The long list of stand-alone options includes Active Steering, third-row seat, Head-up Display, HD radio, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, rear-seat entertainment system, Nevada or Nappa leather, heated front and rear seats, Park Distance Control, navigation, performance tires and 20-inch wheels (48i only) and BMW Assist.
The 2009 BMW X5 is available in 30i, 35d and 48i models. the 30i is powered by a 260-horsepower double overhead camshaft (DOHC) 24-valve 3.0-liter magnesium/aluminum in-line six, while the 48i is driven 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. The newest entry, the 3.5-liter diesel, employs twin turbochargers to produce V8-like power with V6-equivalent fuel economy.
3.0-liter in-line 6
260 horsepower @ 6600 rpm
225 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21
3.5-liter in-line 6, turbodiesel
265 horsepower @ 4200 rpm
425 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26
350 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
350 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400-3800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19
By mtony on Sunday, November 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Great handling and responsive engine. Actually fun to drive for an SUV. Very little body roll with the Active Roll Stabilization/Dynamic drive suspension. V8 tends to develop oil and coolant leaks."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By skyking on Monday, October 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "German quality control, powerful good looking SUV"
Cons: "Brake dust, premium gas."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought a beautiful Vermillion Red metallic 2011 X5 sport utility a few weeks ago. I can testify that it gets 25 miles per gallon on a trip and that is in the mountains of Western Maryland when I drive the most. I believe on level ground with the A.C. off and driving below 70 I could get 28 mpg. The only drawback so far since I am a fanatic for keeping my car clean is that the "brake dust" drives me crazy trying to keep it cleaned off of the wheels, and the use of "high test" gas. (but I knew that going In). I have always wanted a BMW and it is a far cry from the 2007 Honda coupe that I was driving. But so far, I think it is the most beautiful SUV on the road."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By WatzItTuYa on Monday, September 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "I can say I own a BMW"
Cons: "I hate to say that I own a BMW"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Bought this vehicle brand new. Buyer's remorse set in 1 week after. The jarring ride, crackle and squeak sounds from plastics are few characteristics of this SAV from day one after bringing it home. An expensive vehicle should be more better than this. Heck, I've rented economy cars that had better ride and craftmanship. I can't believe that I am comparing a BMW to simple cars now. Considering selling it for its value of 20K as of September 2014, and buying something practical for 20K like a Honda Fit that will bring more happiness for years to come. What a shame."
15 people out of 35 found this review helpful
By Edawg on Saturday, September 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun, fast, driveability"
Cons: "cost of tires"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I bought my 2011 with 25k miles and certified. I now have 66k miles on it without any problems. The only complaint I have is that I have the wide sport/staggered tires on the vehicle and they will not get more than 10k miles. I have used Michelin and Bridgestone tires and both have been completely worn out at 10k miles. So if you want this car with those rims make sure you set aside about 1k per year for tires."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Bull on Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Killer fun to drive; power and handling."
Cons: "Not the best mpg - averaged 9-19"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I leased this car for three years, and it was so great, I purchased it from BMW. Great handling, power, such a sweet package. I've owed about 10 bmw (Three X-5s: 4.4,4.8 and the M), several MBs, and other high-end vehicles, and By far it has been my favorite car of my life."
15 people out of 23 found this review helpful
By Kirk on Friday, August 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive. Practical. Fantastic mileage."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Handles like a sports car. Go anywhere. Tows effortlessly. Fantastic mileage with Diesel (28-29MPG @70 Highway). All the comforts and conveniences of a great luxury vehicle."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful