By KBB.com Editors
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
400 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
450 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20
By Lisa on Sunday, August 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Ride on the 101!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Perfect car growing family in the Valley of the Sun! Detailed frequently and exterior and interior in mint condition. Brand-new Bridgestone tires."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Oscar P. on Monday, July 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "excellent torque with the diesel"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Although I have only driven a low amount of mileage, I can say that it is a solid feeling when driving this SUV. The weight of the vehicle, at around 6200lbs, gives it that quality feeling of power. It accelerates well and you feel the torque pulling you towards the seat. During this past snowstorms, I drove with no problems over snow. In general, a good investment for the value."
By Liquorneck on Thursday, July 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nimble handling, ridiculous power, practicality"
Cons: "Price, mpg, tires, tech gremlins"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This vehicle shouldn't exist. 555 hp/ 500 ft lb torque in an SUV that weighs over 5000 lbs? Shouldn't work but it does. The handling is most impressive considering it's mass and the way it hides it. Feels like a 3-series and all this in a ride that has a relatively practical storage/seating space. My complaints on the X5 M are few but worth contemplating before you drop a grip on this vehicle. First, no all-weather/snow tires are available by BMW for this SUV despite being told otherwise by the salesman, the service advisor, & a parts tech. Their explanation: this SUV wasn't designed to deal with weather which seems like b.s. to me for not having an option for a slightly more practical tire. Second, power comes at a price both at purchase and at the pump. This is to be expected when buying a car/SUV that is so completely ridiculous. It still hurts... buying a company executive demo with only 4200 miles, totally loaded, saved us @ $20 grand. We put the savings towards the gas pump. This thing is thirsty! Third, there are a few tech gremlins. With so much technology in cars these days, it's kinda overwhelming. You can't defeat the parking assistance (which gets really annoying 'cuz it reboots every time you turn off the car). The stereo presets and info. settings are configurable which is really cool but they randomly reset themselves from time to time. Lastly, the software for the triptronic clutch needs to be upgraded (which I believe the '14 models have a new transmission). There's a slight lag upon the initial depression of the accelerator in auto-mode. Most likely a fuel saving measure for the 6-speed but kinda sloppy for a vehicle in this category and becomes increasingly more noticeable and therefore, more annoying. Sport modes are great as is driving in "manual" mode using the paddles. All in all, this ride is amazing! Just be sure to talk to someone who's knowledgeable about the M-series at the dealership. It's rather incredible how difficult it may be to find that person for a vehicle that is so specialized."
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By X-Man on Monday, July 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "A hoot to drive, heavy and no floating"
Cons: "Run Flat Tires wear quickly in the front"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my second X5. I had a 2000 4.4 w/sports package and the works for that year. I kept it for 8 years before I let it go. It handles like a champ, but what I like most about the car is the way it feels on the road. It does not feel like you are floating or get blown over when a heavier vehicle passes you. It is solid and we feel safe driving it."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By Pb on Tuesday, July 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive. Safe. Classic. Worth the money"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my 3rd x5. I love this vehicle. Acceleration is amazing. The drive is beautiful and actually I look forward to long road trips ! I feel extremely safe in this SUV. The navigation can be a chAllenge initially yet is a must! I would recommend this vehicle without reservation ! I have driven all over florida for sports with many kids in tow and everyone felt safe and sound."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By ASH on Monday, June 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very solid, a pleasure to drive."
Cons: "Transmission shifting: hangs lower gear too long."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"A very solid, well designed SUV. The Diesel engine, with its high torque is an excellent selection; it starts easily and pulls well - no problem accelerating to highway speeds. The electronic control of the transmission does not always react as expected - tends to hold a lower gear too long after you reach the top of a hill. The dealer informed me that this was programmed into the vehicle and they could not adjust it. Excellent quality and workmanship on the interior. Power seats, with lumbar support, are excellent; easy to adjust to a comfortable position."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful