Luxury sport utility vehicles are now commonplace. Sport Activity Vehicles®that are also thrilling to drive, however, are less easy to come by. That is, unless you’re BMW. Because then you have the BMW X5, which is as rewarding to drive as it is utilitarian.
Powertrains for Every Taste
In the 2012 X5 (MSRP starting at $47,500), BMW offers three distinct powertrains. X5 xDrive35i models are fitted with the BMW 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder. In the past, this engine has made Ward’s “10 Best Engine’s” list, and with good reason. It produces 300 hp and 300 lb/ft of torque, channeled to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Performance is excellent with a 0-60 time of 6.4 seconds and EPA fuel economy estimates of 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
Choosing the X5 xDrive50i gives you two more cylinders and a lot more muscle. The 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8 in the X5 xDrive 50i churns out 400 hp and 450 lb/ft of torque. Again, the eight-speed automatic is standard. It’s quick – 5.3 seconds to 60 mph – and it still delivers 20 mpg highway.
Drivers striving to balance power and efficiency should look no further than the BMW X5 xDrive35d. It’s powered by a 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo six-cylinder that runs on diesel fuel instead of gasoline. The turbodiesel engine produces 265 hp and a brawny 425 lb/ft of torque. Acceleration is on par with its gas counterpart, at just 6.9 seconds, and it’s the most fuel-efficient X5 model overall, at an estimated 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.
All X5 models are equipped with the xDrive all-wheel drive system, which helps deliver optimal traction and performance in all weather and road conditions.
Practicality Backs the Performance
The BMW X5 is designed to carry five passengers in complete comfort. Furthermore,
when all seats are in use, the X5 has 23.5 cubic feet of cargo. Fold down the second row, and that space balloons to an impressive 75.2 cubic feet.
The BMW X5 can also be fitted with an additional third-row seat, increasing passenger capacity to seven and, when installed, can also include separate climate controls for the third-row as well.
A power rear tailgate eases access to the cargo space, an invaluable feature when wrangling children, big grocery loads or both.
Extensive Comfort and Convenience Features
X5 drivers can outfit their vehicles with a wide array of available comfort, convenience and luxury features to refine the overall in-car experience. The standard front seats can be replaced with multi-contour ventilated units. A two-panel glass Panoramic Sunroof is standard on nearly all models. An available Cold Weather Package adds heaters to the steering wheel and backseats, and also includes retractable headlight washers and a ski bag. The Technology Package includes conveniences such as Head-Up Display, front-mounted side-view cameras and automatic high beams. An available Rear View Camera with top view further aids parking in tight confines, and driving through unfamiliar territory can be made easier with a hard drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic updates.
While the standard, 205-watt, 10-speaker audio system with HD Radio™ is excellent in its own right, you can also choose the Premium Sound Package, which adds satellite radio and a 600-watt 16-speaker premium audio system with two subwoofers.
Safety at the Forefront
All BMW X5 variants feature Dynamic Stability Control, Active Head Restraints, front- and rear-compartment Head Protection System and airbags that include dual-threshold, dual-stage deployment front and rollover sensors.
An Easy Decision
With outstanding performance, a wide array of attractive features and room for up to seven passengers, the hardest decision is which X5 to choose.