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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 186 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
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

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."

5 people out of 8 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!!"

9 people out of 20 found this review helpful

best vehicle ever

By on Saturday, May 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, insane in the snow, stereo is heaven"

Cons: "dead spot on the accelerator but it'll get tospeed"

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

"I have had only one problem with my car. It overheated because something happened with the coolant box. Other than that the only other time was a slight coolant drip but that was fixed and only costed $100 ish."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Love it excpet for the runflats

By on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Performance, handling, cold weather package"

Cons: "Run-flat tires on 19" wheels"

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

"Have owned several BMW's including 2 wagons and several Toyota 4Runners. This is the best combination of performance, handling, luxury and durability. If there's one thing I'd change its the run flat tires on 19" wheels, which are standard on the Premium model. Rough roads and potholes require a little more shock absorption."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Handles great, poor quality unreliable

By on Thursday, March 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Handling"

Cons: "Frequent repairs at low mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"At 23,000 miles I have had over $10,000 in repairs, mostly paid after warranty by BMW. The car's reliability is very low. All kinds of electrical and engine issues when most cars haven't even been broken in. Love how it drives for an SUV but would NOT buy this brand of SUV again. I think it is very poorly made mechanically. Goes thru tires like I go thru underwear with NORMAL driving. On 4th set since new in 5 years. And, because they are run flat they cost a fortune. More reliable SUVs out there for sure"

19 people out of 27 found this review helpful

Be prepared for costly repairs

By on Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: lemon

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Awesome handling, great headlights, fun to drive"

Cons: "Sluggish, horrible reliability, quality, MPG"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"Where do I start? Well, the problems initially started on day one when we purchased this vehicle used. Bought the 2010 X5 3.0i Xdrive as a CPO with 45,000 miles on it. Had the premium package, cold weather package, and the most expensive and useless running boards ever. DO NOT SPEND THE MONEY ON THE RUNNING BOARDS. THEY DO NOTHING BUT GET YOUR PANTS DIRTY. The first problem with the vehicle was the exhaust. Every time the SUV would come to a stop at idle, it raddled like crazy! We took it to the dealer and they said rocks were making their way into the heat shield. Second problem was when it started to become cold out (We bought the car in August) around late October. It wouldn't start and we kept getting a message that said "High Battery Discharge!" on the navigation screen. Come December, the car wouldn't start if it was 25 decrease or below outside. One of the worst problems we had with this vehicle was the time I went outside to start the car, and shut the drivers side door and IT MANAGED TO SOMEHOW BLOW OUT 3 OF THE WINDOWS! And the car would not drive correctly UNLESS it had run flats on it. We went through 3 sets of tires in the very short 2 years we owned the SUV. Something was very wrong with this car. Lots of problems, poor quality, no height adjustable seat belts, and some of the worlds worst cup holders. Aside from the handling, this car was not so great. The only thing I miss about this car is the legendary handling."

9 people out of 10 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?