BMW X5 History
2011 BMW X5 MEnlarge Photo
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The BMW X5 is a luxurious full-size SUV, though BMW prefers to call its a "Sports Activity Vehicle." Built as BMW's first SUV back in 1999, it remains the brand's largest vehicle. With its standard all-wheel drive and a choice between six- and eight-cylinder engines, the X5 competes with other SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Audi Q7 and Lexus GX.
On the market for just over ten years now, the BMW X5 was initially created to meet America’s desire for a luxury SUV. At the time, BMW also owned Land Rover, and the first-generation X5 shares much of its design with that legendary brand’s off-roaders, as well as the BMW 5-Series sedan. The original X5 also sported a range of engines, including a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder and a number of 4.4-4.8-liter V-8 engines paired with five- or six-speed automatic transmissions. The second-generation X5 is built on an all-new platform, with a new range of engines and two new models: the X5 M and the X5 diesel, plus a new six-speed transmission that’s used in all models.
Model names for the BMW X5-Series can quickly get confusing, especially since BMW changed the nomenclature in 2008. Originally, the X5 used standard BMW model names that referenced trim and engine size, like the 4.6is, which featured a 4.6-liter V-8 engine and a sportier appearance. The original engines ranged in power from 225 horsepower to 350 horsepower, depending on the trim and year.
Today, the models follow a different format: the X5 xDrive 30i, for example, denotes the standard all-wheel drive (xDrive) and a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine. In addition to that model, BMW offers a 3.0-liter turbodiesel as the X5 xDrive 35d, a 4.8-liter V-8 engine as the X5 xDrive 48i, and the new 555-horsepower, twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 engine X5 M. All X5s feature the same basic five-seat interior layout, with leather upholstery, BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, advanced stability and traction electronics, plus a wide range of optional upgrades. The X5 M offers extreme performance with a big price tag to match--base price is $85,500--but it delivers near-sports car performance with near-supercar power. The X5 xDrive 35d is one of the few diesel luxury SUVs on the market today, and scores with 265 horsepower and 26 mpg highway.
For 2012, BMW didn’t make any major changes to the X5 range, aside from minor appearance tweaks. Changes in the 2013 BMW X5 include the lack of a diesel model (though the X5 xDrive35d can still be found as a 2012 model), some cosmetic updates, and a new M Performance Package, available on X5 xDrive35i and xDrive50i (with M Sport Package) models. Adding 15 horsepower and 30 pound-feet of torque to the six-cylinder model, and 40 hp and 30 lb-ft of torque to the V-8 X5, the new M Performance upgrade adds to the X5's sporty edge.
A range of mild updates for the 2013 model year carried the X5, including the high-performance X5 M, forward.