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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 196 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

Nice Vehicle But Maintenance Costs Huge Drawback

By on Friday, April 8, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Do not purchase consider leasing."

Cons: "expensive maintenance, rough ride but handles well"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"New the vehicle is great especially under warranty. However, once mileage is over 50,000 costs begin to mount. Every other month it's something: oil pan leak, coils, gaskets, run flat tires (very expensive), AC recharge, etc... In retrospect I wish I had never bought the car when my lease was up. I would have been better off re-leasing if I still wanted to drive a BMW. Buyer beware...not a good investment."

16 people out of 17 found this review helpful

TOO MANY REPAIR ISSUES

By on Thursday, March 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Nice to drive"

Cons: "Too many repair issues!"

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

"I own a 2011 BMW X5 50i. This vehicle looks great aesthetically, and is a dream to drive. However, the amount of repairs, and the cost to repair the vehicle since recently coming off of warranty are through the roof! The repairs have been many, but the worst has been 4 separate oil leaks within the last year. I will not be purchasing another BMW."

13 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Gorgeous Vehicle Fun to drive but 0 Reliability

By on Friday, September 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Fun to Drive"

Cons: "Not reliable"

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

"I purchased this care 8 months ago with 50,000 miles. I wasn't informed at the time of purchase about the oilpan leaking. I had to replace the front brakes for $700, tires for $1,300, turbo coolant lines $2,600, water pump $700, expanded coolant tank $350, and I still have to do the oil pan for another $3,000. It just seems to have problem after problem, not to mention the recalls. I would never recommend this car."

38 people out of 57 found this review helpful

Great deal, super comfort and performance beyond

By on Friday, September 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfort, PERFORMANCE and Looks."

Cons: "3 words milage milage milage."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I don't remember how many SUVs I have had, but its been a lot from the Toyota Land Cruiser(I got nauseous paying $38K) to this Bimmer which is just beyond belief. Its my family car, and the most comfortable seats I have ever had, including the seats in my 911 which are Porsches Top of the line seats. Easy to drive and laid back comfort yet when its time to go push the M button on the Steering world and HANG ON!! Snap of the head performance, I don't know any other SUV and SOME Sport Cars that are this fast! Yet when its time to drive in the snow it gets us to our destination relaxed and ready to go. I noticed the 2016 is VERY much alike so if you want the most powerful SUV on the planet you might want to try the 2011. If you can get one for 35K I would jump all over it since the 2016, is $116,000. What do you do? They can be expensive to fix so get the longest warranty you can and BMW has some good ones. And be prepared not to get the best milage in the world. But get this, my neighbor has a Toyota Highlander across the street and their milage is only 2 miles better than us and they have 250 HP I think vs. 555 for mine. GREAT CAR!!!"

12 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Best vehicle until about 60000 miles

By on Saturday, August 8, 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."

52 people out of 61 found this review helpful

Great to drive but has occasional hiccups.

By on Tuesday, August 4, 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."

9 people out of 29 found this review helpful

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