Overview & Reviews
The BMW X5 was this German automaker's first entry into the luxury SUV segment. Realizing that most SUV buyers rarely, if ever, venture off-road, BMW designed the X5 for on-road performance and handling. Short overhangs, a relatively compact size (the original was 4.5 inches shorter than the 5 Series sedan of the time) and car-based underpinnings combined to give the X5 its superb on-road performance. Built at BMW's first American assembly plant in South Carolina, the X5 quickly became a huge hit for BMW in the U.S.
The first-generation BMW X5 only sat five people, a disappointment for those who wanted greater capacity. This concern was addressed with the second-generation model, which offered a third-row seat and room for seven, along with more cargo capacity. Despite this growth, the X5 remained very entertaining to drive as luxury SUVs go. The latest, third-generation X5 stays the course with subtle, evolutionary changes that fortify the X5's standing as a fine choice, new or used, for a midsize luxury SUV that seats five or seven.
Current BMW X5
Redesigned for 2014, the current BMW X5 remains about the same size and weight as the previous-generation model and looks mostly similar. The most noticeable visual difference involves the blended-into-the-grille headlights. Among the improvements are a slightly roomier cabin, a second-row seat that is split into 40/20/40 sections and the adoption of the eight-speed automatic transmission for the diesel-powered engine.
The three main trim levels are the familiar 35i, 35d and 50i, with the numbers indicating what's under the hood. The "sDrive" moniker refers to rear-wheel drive (35i only), whereas "xDrive" indicates all-wheel drive, which is optional for the 35i and standard on the other versions.
The 35i models feature a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. The xDrive35d comes with a diesel-powered 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 that produces 255 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. The xDrive50i gets a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 good for 450 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. All have an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Standard equipment for the 35i and 35d include xenon headlights, a sunroof, a power liftgate, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, power and heated front seats, a 10.2-inch central display screen, the iDrive controller, a navigation system and a nine-speaker sound system. The X5 xDrive50i is equipped very similarly, though it has leather upholstery and upgraded front seats. Optional highlights include three major equipment lines (Luxury, xLine and M Sport), adaptive cruise control, added safety features, a premium sound system and a rear-seat entertainment system.
On the road, the third-generation X5 exhibits virtues like sharp steering, competent handling, a supple ride and effortless high-speed interstate cruising. The interior is elegant, with solid construction and high-quality materials. Models with the upgraded and extended leather options are particularly impressive. From the driver seat, you're presented with classic BMW gauges and a large central display screen with crisp graphics. The front seats are nicely shaped and adjust for a wide range of body types.
Utility can also be a concern, though. The second-row seats are comfortable, but rear legroom is merely adequate. Although it increases seating capacity to seven, the optional third row is even more cramped and really only accommodates children. All things considered, however, the latest X5 is a great choice for a midsize luxury crossover SUV.
Used BMW X5 Models
The second-generation BMW X5 was introduced for the 2007 model year and ran through 2013. This X5 was bigger, more luxurious and smoother riding than its predecessor. This X5 was initially available as the 3.0si (260-hp 3.0-liter inline-6) and the 4.8i (350-hp 4.8-liter V8). Both had six-speed automatic transmissions. These models were renamed xDrive30i and xDrive48i for 2009, the same year the turbodiesel (265-hp) xDrive35d debuted. The term "xDrive" refers to the standard all-wheel-drive system.
The following year BMW updated the iDrive interface, while 2011 ushered in the new turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 and 4.4-liter V8 gasoline engines, whose outputs stood at 300 and 400 hp, respectively. The gas engines had an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the turbodiesel stayed with the older six-speed automatic. At that point, the model lineup consisted of the X5 xDrive35i, X5 xDrive50i and X5 xDrive35d. For 2013, an M Performance package debuted; in addition to cosmetic upgrades, it added 15 hp to the xDrive35i and 40 hp to the xDrive50i. The even higher-performance BMW X5 M model was offered from 2010-'13 and is reviewed separately.
These BMW X5s offer a fair amount of utility thanks to standard all-wheel drive and an optional third-row seat. They're also quite sporty, as they infuse spirited acceleration and Bavarian handling chutzpah into the high-riding body of a family-friendly crossover SUV. As such, these second-gen X5s remain very attractive for those who want the "S" in SUV to actually mean something.
In Edmunds road tests, our editors found this X5's handsome cabin very accommodating, with comfortable seating for the first two rows. Materials and build quality were top-notch, and the iDrive system by this time had become one of the better multifunction electronics interfaces available. The heavy steering at low speeds and a smallish "kids-only" third-row seat are the only sour notes in this otherwise sweet midsize SUV.
The original, first-generation BMW X5 was produced from 2000-'06. It was initially offered with one engine only: a 4.4-liter V8. A 3.0-liter inline-6 debuted the following year. Though the six-cylinder offered superior fuel economy and adequate overall performance, it was often criticized for its lack of off-the-line grunt. The 4.4i reached 60 mph in less than 8 seconds. One note to buyers looking at a first-year BMW X5: All X5 models manufactured after June 2000 (starting with the '01 model year) benefited from important structural changes that improved occupant protection in frontal crashes.
In 2002, the high-performance BMW X5 4.6is debuted, boasting a 4.6-liter V8 making 340 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. The midlevel X5 4.4i saw an 8 hp increase to 290 for the year. Towing aficionados welcomed a new version of the stability control system that aided trailer towing, and BMW finally made a CD player standard in its luxury SUV.
In 2004, the first-generation X5 received its most extensive update. A new front fascia received BMW's signature corona ringed headlamps, optional adaptive headlights and new foglamps. The year also marked the introduction of BMW's new all-wheel-drive system, xDrive. Compared to the previous setup, xDrive was far more capable, with its ability to transfer 100 percent of the engine's torque to one individual wheel. (The old system could only distribute torque front to rear.)
Also noteworthy for 2004 was the replacement of the high-performance X5 4.6is with the 355-hp 4.8is model. BMW also installed the V8 engine from the 2002 7 Series sedan in the midlevel X5 4.4i, which raised output by 35 horses to 325 hp.
In reviews, we typically praised the first-generation BMW X5 for its carlike ride and handling, its wide range of engine choices and its top safety scores and equipment. Oft-noted downsides included its lack of off-road ability and small cargo area.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 1,128.00
Good hauler - 2015 BMW X5
By Sean - January 17 - 1:26 pm
Replacing an E350 wagon is hard, since we still need cargo hauling space and enough back seat room for three teens. Although the X3 had better handling, we couldn't give up the cargo space, so the X5 is the solution for the next 3 years. Only wish I could turn off or stow the nav/radio screen. It's distracting, especially at night.
Great SUV - 2013 BMW X5
By Albert Calise - January 13 - 3:52 pm
Real lemon - 2007 BMW X5
By JH - December 30 - 4:32 pm
Every 3 months I had some major repair on my 2007 X5. I am getting rid of it as soon as possible. Be prepared for exhorbitant repair costs. However I will say that when it is on the road it does handle well.
Stay Away - 2000 BMW X5
By Chris Shibley - December 30 - 1:46 pm
I bought my very clean and well maintained X5 used about 2 years ago for about $7K. After a few thousand spent on the regular stuff, the timing chain guides disintegrated. After one year in the shop and a $7K repair bill it is still running rough and un-driveable. It has 118K on it and has been well kept. My first biggest mistake was buying it and my second biggest was paying to fix it thinking I would have a re-built ride. Don't be seduced by the comfort and fit/trim/etc. These things are a ticking time-bomb. I sort-of enjoyed it for 11 months after buying it even though it was a bit fussy with little stuff during that time. Basically that breaks down to $1300 per month that I spent on that disaster of an experience. Also, don't be fooled by the appearance of more than one star as a summary of this review because I had to give credit for comfort, etc. None of that is good enough to overcome the massive expense of timing chain failure.
AN INEXPENSIVE WAY TO LUXURY AND FUN!!!! - 2006 BMW X5
By Robert - December 18 - 10:57 am
I purchased my BMW X5 6 speed with 94K miles on her. She's a 9 out of 10. The truck has every possible option. Navigation is simple to use, the heated seats keep my back relaxed, the tight steering is awesome, the gear box is smooth and easy, and the truck rides like a dream. I also purchased a 4 year and/ or additional 60k mile bumper to bumper warranty that covers everything, including the clutch. This is hands down the best SUV I have ever owned, and will look for another one real soon to store away for future use, which I will use, once I drive the doors off this baby I'm in now.............If you want an incredibly fun SUV to drive a 2004, 2005, or 2006 BMW X5 is your truck. But a manual transmission is the ONLY way to go. They're hard to find but once you do your research and acquire one, you will not look back. And 20 miles per gallon doesn't hurt either. HAPPY HUNTING!!!
Great used car to buy - 2010 BMW X5
By Joseph Liu - December 14 - 11:34 am
I bought this car at used with 35000 miles on it in 2014. This is the best used car that I'd ever drive. I owned quite a few luxury cars. X5 35d is the most pleasure for me to drive in road with great milage and power.
In the shop after 600 miles - 2015 BMW X5
By Fred - December 9 - 4:49 pm
I purchased an x5 35d and after 600 miles the check engine light came on. Took it to the dealer and it was determined that it has a faulty sensor. But because it's a diesel they don't stock the part. It's been three days and still waiting.
oil field - 2011 BMW X5
By Dave - December 5 - 2:05 pm
Bought this car with 39.000 just 2 weeks ago. First issue, minor oil ring seal. Leaked for a bit. Now the issue is its burning oil. Do all bmw cars and trucks have oil issues? Went through this with the 645ci. Ridiculous!
I've been had! - 2009 BMW X5
By Mike - November 25 - 2:01 pm
I was seduced by its good looks and big engine. Our X5 has been a maintenance nightmare. Something very expensive fails on this vehicle about once every 6 months. Out of warranty fixes has cost us about $5000-$6000 per year since owning it. The latest news is it failed to pass smog due to value leaks. My BMW tech told me this is common for this engine. Well, now I have to spend another $6000k ($500 in parts, 45 hours of labor!) to replace the value seals just to get it to pass smog. This is my second and last BMW.
X5 35d nightmare - 2010 BMW X5
By Maxx - October 24 - 9:46 pm
My 2010 x5 diesel such a nightmare Shame on BMW