- Expanded utility
- Sharp handling
- Well-balanced steering
- Styling is same-old, same-old
- Stiff tariff for a family vehicle
- iDrive controller
The 2008 BMW X5 is better than ever, but could use more dramatic styling and an iDrive transplant.
The car experts at TheCarConnection.com studied Web reviews of the new 2008 BMW X5 to bring you this conclusive review. TheCarConnection.com's editors also drove the 2008 BMW X5 to bring you more details on its performance, styling, features, safety, and quality to help you decide which reviews to trust and to explain why other reviews of the new BMW X5 might have differing opinions.
The 2008 BMW X5 carries on the German automaker's sport-utility brand after receiving an extensive redo last year. The BMW X5 is now larger and more powerful than before, and it has a different face to show the world.
The base engine is a 3.0-liter, 260-horsepower six-cylinder, while the optional 4.8-liter V-8 makes 350 horsepower. Both use a 6-speed automatic to send power to all four wheels. And both versions will accelerate to 60 mph in 8 seconds or less, even though they're heavy vehicles that can tow as much as 6,000 pounds.
Exterior styling hasn't changed much even with last year's improvements, and the X5 never ranked among the best-looking vehicles in its class. It's inoffensive, fairly austere inside, and fitted with an infuriating iDrive system that takes over control for the navigation, audio, and climate controls. The 2008 BMW X5 can carry 7 passengers, but the third-row seat is for kids only.
The X5's handling and ride have been improved. The automatic's quick shifts are smooth at almost any speed, and the gearbox has a Sport mode. A Sport package gives the X5 big 19-inch wheels, adaptive shocks, and run-flat tires, and it's composed at nearly any speed. If you keep leaning on it, the X5 leans right back, as its stability and all-wheel-drive systems rein in the vehicle at just the right moments.
The 2008 BMW X5 scores fairly well, earning four stars from the NHTSA and an IIHS Top Safety Pick award.