The BMW X5 is a midsize luxury SUV -- or sport activity vehicle (SAV) as BMW likes to call it. Like its more performance-oriented sibling, the X5 M, this Bimmer provides surprisingly sharp handling given its size and weight.
Compliments of a recent refresh, the X5 sports an updated front fascia with a sportier look. The black trim at the bottom edge of the body is now considerably narrower. A matte-finished silver protection plate extends across the entire width of the central air intake, emphasizing the muscular features of the SAV.
The dual round Xenon Adaptive headlights and foglamps are now situated higher and closer to the kidney grille. The newly conceived rear fascia matches the style of the front end, while the surrounds of the dual exhaust pipes are painted in body color.
The X5 xDrive35i uses BMW's single-turbo "N55" 3.0-liter inline-six, which produces 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. This motor helps the SUV perform the zero-to-60 mph sprint in 6.4 seconds, coincidentally on the same pace as the outgoing V-8 powered X5 xDrive48i. Fuel economy is rated at 16 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
The eight-speed transmission found on the xDrive 35i is standard on the X5 xDrive50i as well. The transmission weighs no more than its six-speed predecessor, yet offers closer ratios in the lower gears for improved acceleration and two additional "tall" gears for relaxed, efficient cruising.
The X5 xDrive35i Premium includes new standard equipment like 18-inch light alloy wheels, roof rails and panoramic moonroof, power adjustable steering column, iPod / USB adapter interface and privacy glass. For the first time, Premium trim also includes standard Nevada Leather.
In addition, buyers of the Premium model may choose up to four packages, including the Active Ventilated Seat Package, Convenience Package, Cold Weather Package and Technology Package. Each package includes features that enhance comfort and convenience, allowing buyers to better customize the X5 to personal taste. Third Row seating, which enables the X5 to accommodate up to 7 passengers, also becomes available on this model.
The X5 xDrive35i Sport Activity trim level brings additional standard equipment over the Premium model. The Premium trim level's 19-inch wheels are replaced with 20-inch light alloy wheels, sport seats, Shadowline exterior trim and Anthracite headliner. In addition to the packages available on the Premium model, customers may add the popular M Sport Package to the X5 xDrive35i Sport Activity model. The M Sport Package includes 20" wheels with performance tires, the Adaptive Drive system, aluminum roof rails, M door sill plates, M driver footrest, M steering wheel, M aerodynamic enhancements and increased top speed limiter (150 mph).
BMW's naturally-aspirated V8 xDrive48i has given way to the xDrive50i with the twin-turbo V8 also seen in the X6. It puts out 400 horsepower and 450 lb-ft. of torque and is most notable for its broad and flat 1,750-4,000 rpm torque curve. The powertrain helps the X5 sprint to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. Fuel economy is estimated at 14/20 mpg.
The BMW Advanced Diesel X5 xDrive35d was first introduced to the United States as a 2009 model, and carries on as the fastest, most fuel efficient diesel-powered vehicle in its class. Torque output is 425 lb-ft at 1750-2250 rpm, along with peak power output of 265 horsepower. The diesel X5 will go from zero-to-60 in 6.9 seconds. It returns EPA mileage estimates of 19 mpg city and 26 highway.
A lengthy list of options is available on all models, including satellite navigation, rear seat entertainment system, back-up camera, full-roof sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, driver's seat massage, front and rear climate zones, and many others. A Sport Package includes anti-roll stability control and run-flat tires.
For the latest model year, exterior colors include metallic Deep Sea Blue, Platinum Grey, and Sparkling Bronze are now available for the BMW X5. Inside, the available Nevada Leather can be chosen in new Oyster or Cinnamon Brown colors in addition to the familiar Sand Beige, and Black, and matte Satin Silver interior trim strips are added if the owner does not select from the available Brushed Aluminum, Dark Bamboo, Light Poplar or Burl Walnut wood trims.
Safety equipment includes two-stage dual front airbags, side curtain airbags, front-seat side-impact air bags, anti-lock brakes with electronic traction control, adaptive headlights and cornering lights.
Lauded crossover rivals to the X5 include the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the Audi Q7 as well as the Porsche Cayenne.