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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.
The big news for 2009 is the introduction of a diesel model, the X5 xDrive 35d, to the lineup. Other changes include the addition of heated rear seats to the Cold Weather package and an automatic tailgate to the Premium Package. The self-leveling rear suspension is removed from the 48i's standard equipment list and is now only available with the optional third-row seat.
Since the X5's introduction the SUV/CUV market has become much more competitive, and BMW's own smaller X3 snuck up behind it with similar character and more cargo room for a lot less money. This second-generation X5 is larger, roomier and more powerful and offers optional third-row seating for the first time.
When BMW introduced its first "crossover" SUV (CUV) in 2000, its marketers called it "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.