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2011 BMW X5

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2011 BMW X5 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 5.6

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 2011 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 2011

For 2011 the X5's gasoline engines have been updated and are now paired with an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission. Along with subtly tweaked styling, the 2011 model includes new options like active cruise control and a lane departure warning system.

Driving the X5

Driving Impressions 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 50i 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 it does have one of the best all-weather all-wheel-drive systems out there, 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.

2011 BMW X5 Details
2011 BMW X5 photo 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. The three-spoke steering wheel has multi-function controls, including enhanced dynamic cruise control and two programmable switches. An optional third row is offered on all but the lowest trim, expanding the X5's capacity from five occupants to seven.

Exterior

The 2011 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 body-colored lower fascia with large intakes and a matte-silver protection plate. 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 dual exhausts are imbedded in the lower fascia.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The X5's generous allotment of standard features includes xDrive all-wheel drive, all-season run-flat tires on 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon adaptive auto-leveling headlamps with automatic control, 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 and HD Radio. 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.

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, an M Sport Package (larger wheels, sport seats, electronic damping control, active roll stabilization), a Technology Package (Park Distance Control, rearview camera with Top View and navigation system with Real Time Traffic information), a Convenience Package (power tailgate, auto dimming mirrors, ambient lighting) 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.

Under the Hood

The 2010 BMW X5 is available in 35i, 35d and 50i models. The 35i is powered by a 300-horsepower turbocharged in-line six, while the 50i is driven by a 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter all-aluminum V8. Both engines feature direct injection, variable valve timing and BMW Brake Energy Regeneration, a system that, under most circumstances, disengages the alternator during acceleration. When combined these technologies contribute to better-than-expected fuel efficiency for such performance-oriented vehicles. A carryover from 2010, the 3.0-liter diesel, employs twin turbochargers to produce V8-like power with V6-equivalent fuel economy.

3.0-liter in-line 6
300 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
300 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25

3.0-liter in-line 6, turbodiesel
265 horsepower @ 4200 rpm
425 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26

4.4-liter V8
400 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
450 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20

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2011 BMW X5 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."

6 people out of 8 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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