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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
Handles and drives better than many cars
Car and Driver
It makes plenty of power at low engine speeds
It does not drive anything like a big crossover
Nimble handling for this type of vehicle
TheCarConnection.com has found the performance of the 2008 BMW X5 to be superb, with reviews praising the car's handling and the powerful nature of the engine.
The 3.0si trim of the 2008 BMW has a "venerable 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine," according to Cars.com, which produces 360 horsepower with 225 pound-feet of torque; the 4.8i trim's "4.8-liter V-8 makes 350 hp and 350 pounds-feet of torque." Edmunds reports that "in performance testing, the X5 4.8i went from zero to 60 mph in 7 seconds"; Cars.com's speed tests had the 3.0-liter engine doing 0-60 in 7.8 seconds and the 4.8-liter doing it in 6.4. Car and Driver predicts that the 3.0si "will be enough for most" and says that the "V-8 is a bit over the top." As for towing, Cars.com says the "inline-six and V-8 versions are both rated to tow up to 6,000 pounds when properly equipped."
Cars.com also notes that "both engines work through a six-speed automatic," and while performance purists often disdain such transmissions, "as automatics go...the X5 is right up there with the best of them." In fact, when it comes to the BMW X5, "the shift quality is excellent and the transmission kicks down when necessary." When the car is put into sport mode, the kick-down is still quick and the engine braking "decent," especially since the "transmission doesn't upshift as readily."
Kelley Blue Book points out that both powerplants of the BMW X5 "feature BMW's exclusive Valvetronic electronic valve actuation and Double VANOS variable valve timing, which contribute to better-than-expected fuel efficiency for such performance-oriented vehicles." The result, says Car and Driver, is that while the driver is enjoying an excellent driving experience, "the powertrain is busy eking the most out of every drop of gas." Edmunds reports that EPA fuel economy estimates for the BMW X5 are "15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway for the 3.0si, while the 4.8i returns 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway."
According to Car and Driver, this 2008 BMW has "responsive steering, powerful engines, and a taut chassis," which give the X5 that athletic feel that is missing in most sport utility vehicles. Cars.com agrees, saying that the X5 "always feels stable and under control," with Car and Driver praising the "natural-feeling steering." However, MyRide.com mentions that when taking the BMW X5 onto a twisty mountain road, it does not handle in the same way a large crossover usually does. "The 5 series underpinnings haven't been outweighed by a taller cabin and cargo space. Indeed, the X5 has both the power and the handling to make you think sport, not utility." Edmunds sums it up: The 2008 BMW X5 is one of the "best-handling midsize luxury SUVs you can buy."
With its sporty feel and reasonable fuel economy for its class, the 2008 BMW X5 is definitely not just another stodgy SUV.