TheCarConnection.com's editors took the wheel of the BMW X5 in order to give you their expert opinion. TheCarConnection.com's experts also researched the best BMW X5 road tests from around the web to produce a conclusive review, all to help you get the most complete picture of this sport-luxury SUV.
- Well-weighted steering
- Responsive handling
- Plenty of power
- Lots of utility
- iDrive system
- High price
- Styling a bit stale
The BMW X5 gets new updates again this year, but rather than the dramatic changes some had hoped for, styling remains somewhat bland. For 2010, the BMW X5 does pick up one major update: an all-new, 555-horsepower twin-turbocharged performance model, the X5 M. Pricing starts from $47,500 and ranges up to a beginning price of $85,400 for the X5 M. That's about on par with Porsche's Cayenne and Mercedes-Benz's M-Class, two of its key competitors.
For the 2010 model year, the X5's exterior and interior styling remain much the same as the previous year, though the aggressive X5 M adds a new level of flair, thanks to its huge air intakes and large wheels. Even so, the X5 has never been a knockout, at worst being inoffensive, though its interior is modern and accommodating.
Several levels of performance can be had, with two standard gasoline models-the xDrive30i and xDrive48i-joined by the xDrive35d diesel and the high-performance X5 M. The new 2010 xDrive35d diesel features BMW's BluePerformance Technology to incorporate AdBlue injection with an inline six-cylinder engine, making BMW's diesel technology clean enough to be sold in all 50 states. At peak, the xDrive35d produces 425 pound-feet of torque at 1,750 rpm and 265 horsepower at 4,200 rpm.
The diesel feels a lot punchier than the xDrive30i's base gasoline engine, a 260-horsepower, 3.0-liter six-cylinder, and it's preferable to the available xDrive48i 350-hp, 4.8-liter V-8 for those who need to tow or haul heavy loads. The 555-horsepower twin-turbocharged X5 M, on the other hand, is the sports car of this SUV bunch, with enough power to temporarily make you forget you're at the wheel of a 5,000-pound-plus vehicle. All 2010 X5s use a six-speed automatic transmission to get power to the standard all-wheel-drive system, though the X5 M's advanced M Dynamic stability control adds another layer of control and assistance to the standard stability program. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the X5 ranges from 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway for the entry-level xDrive30i to 14/19 mpg for the xDrive48i and a somewhat more impressive 19/26 mpg for the diesel xDrive35d. The X5 M pays for its power with thirst, rated at 12 mpg in town and 17 mpg on the highway.