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. Sportier than most and more efficient than some, the 2010 BMW X5 is definitely not an average SUV. Performance diesel-powered X5 remains impressive, but it's the all-new X5 M that really pushes the envelope.
Cars.com says the diesel engine pushes the SUV around "like a freight train," and it's the preferable daily driver to the V-8-powered xDrive48i. Popular Mechanics proclaims the X5 delivers strong thrust" beyond the SUV standard. Fuel economy sits at 15/21 mpg or 18 mpg combined, Edmunds says.
Cars.com calls the base engine "venerable" and cites its 360 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque. The 4.8i has 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Car and Driver thinks that the 3.0si is "enough for most." Edmunds clocks a 0-60 mph time of 7 seconds. Cars.com puts it at 7.8 seconds, while the 4.8-liter takes 6.4 sec.
Towing performance is good with any package; Cars.com reports the 6- and 8-cylinders can tow "up to 6,000 pounds." The X5 M's 555-hp twin-turbo V-8 and 6,600 pounds of towing capacity take it a step further, though Edmunds notes this drags down fuel economy to "12 mpg city/17 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined."
All three available powerplants have variable valve timing that boosts both efficiency and performance, Kelley Blue Book says. Car and Driver thinks the balance us perfect: Even in heavy driving, the engines are "eking the most out of every drop of gas." The automatic transmission in the X5 is "right up there with the best of them," says Cars.com. "Shift quality is excellent."
Edmunds declares "the X5 M is simply one of the best high-performance SUVs on the market." Car and Driver says the X5 has "responsive steering, powerful engines, and a taut chassis," which give the X5 a connected feeling absent in most SUVs. Cars.com says the X5 "always feels stable and under control." Car and Driver praises the "natural-feeling steering."