(2004 model shown)
BMW's largest "Sports Activity Vehicle" remains for 2006 with a number of physical modifications intended to distinguish the X5 more from its smaller stablemate, the X3. The vehicle's base 3.0i comes powered by a 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder engine that is rated at 226 horses. Meanwhile, a 4.4-liter V-8 produces a lustier 315 horsepower, while the top 4.8is model offers an even-more pleasing 355-hp 4.8-liter V-8. A six-speed-manual gearbox is standard on the base version, with a five-speed-automatic transmission optional, while V-8 models offer only a six-speed automatic. BMW's xDrive "intelligent" all-wheel-drive system permits infinitely adjustable front-to-rear torque distribution for surefootedness on wet or snowy pavement. The X5 can tow 5000 pounds with the six and 6000 pounds with a V-8 powerplant. Among the vehicle's many upscale options is a Sport Package that adds a tauter suspension for a bit more precise handling, and an iPod Adapter is available that allows Apple's popular iPod MP3 player to interface with and be operated by the vehicle's audio system.