You'll find well-weighted steering and strong acceleration no matter which X5 model you choose, and if the opportunity presents itself and you decide to give this big wagon a workout on a twisty road, you'd never guess that it weighs more than 5,000 pounds. Any family would be happy with the 300-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine in the X5 xDrive35i, but the xDrive50i gets 400 hp from its twin-turbo V-8; and if that's not enough, the 555-hp X5 M will surely put a grin on your face—and likely have you looking into the possibility of track time. But the winner in the lineup is the 35d; it gets an EPA 19 mpg city, 26 highway and feels in some situations just as quick as the V-8. Otherwise, beware; mileage for the X5 M ranges down to 12/17.
Considering that performance is so good in the X5, it's comfort isn't any letdown. You won't find a downright cushy ride, but it's soft enough and well controlled. Front seats are excellent, while the second row has enough legroom to satisfy taller adults. Just make sure the third row (the X5 can seat up to seven) are kids, as that rearmost row is best kept folded down.
Crash-test ratings have been very good, and a rearview camera system, parking sensors, and active steering system all add to safety. Other noteworthy extras include dynamic cruise control, multi-contour massage seats. Heated rear seats and a rear entertainment center will also spoil the kids or impress your clients.
See the full review of the 2011 BMW X5 at The Car Connection for more in-depth information.