KBB Editors' Overview
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 2010 version is all of that, and roomier, as well.
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, better ground clearance 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 2010
For 2010, the optional navigation system receives an 8.8-inch screen, BMW's fourth generation iDrive controller and an 80GB hard drive for storing navigation data and music files. New options include automatic high beams and a top-view perspective for the available rear backup camera. High Definition (HD) Radio is now standard.
Despite its size, weight and optional third-row seats, the 2010 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.
The 2010 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 Standard Equipment
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.
Notable 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 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, 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.
Under the Hood
The 2010 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
The 2010 BMW X5 30i has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $48,500. That's more than the competing Mercedes-Benz ML350 and Audi Q7, and significantly more than the starting MSRP of the Acura MDX. The X5 35d pushes the price past $52,000, while the 48i starts close to $57,000. Overall, the X5 48i is roughly $25,000 less than the V8-powered Mercedes-Benz GL550 and $4,500 less than the Audi Q7 4.2, but only $2,000 less than the Infiniti FX50. The X5's projected residual values down the line best the Cadillac SRX, Acura MDX, Mercedes-Benz GL550 and Audi Q7. Before buying, be sure to check Fair Purchase Prices to see what X5s are selling for in your area.