2011 BMW X5


2011 BMW X5

The BMW X5 is a mid-size luxury crossover SUV sold by BMW since 2003. It is based on the E39 5 Series and features all wheel drive and a line of straight-6 and V8 engines. For non-US models there is a 3.0 L diesel engine.

See Autopedia's comprehensive BMW X5 Review.

Recent ChangesEdit

  • For 2011, BMW has given its US-Spec X5 a performance package aimed at improving the SUV's aerodynamics and give the interior a sportier appearance. The package includes redesigned bumpers and side skirts, a set of black “kidney grilles”, aluminum pedals and footrest and thick-rimmed racing-inspired steering wheel hand-stitched in Alcantara.
  • For 2011, BMW has given the X5 a minor facelift as well as two new gas engines: The base xDrive35i is getting BMW's new 300-horsepower N55 single-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six while the higher-end xDrive50i is now powered by their 400-horse twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8. Both engines are mated to a new 8-speed automatic and both models will feature KERS-style brake energy regeneration to reduce parasitic losses. Pricing for the xDrive35i starts at $46,675 while the xDrive50i begins at $59,275.
  • A few months after the release of the X5 Security, BMW one-upped the bullet-resistant model by unveiling the BMW X5 Security Plus, which is rated with Class Six bullet resistance - the first from a high-volume manufacturer. The new car is equipped with thicker bulletproof glass and armor-plating, this means the X5 Security Plus can withstand machine gun fire such as an AK-47. Under the hood, the X5 Plus is equipped with BMW's 4.8 litre V8, developing 355 hp for 0-100kph sprints of 8.2 seconds and a governed top speed of 112 mph.
  • For 2009, BMW adds a literally bulletproof model to the X5 range. The X5 Security is armored to a VR4 bulletproofing classification, meaning it is able to withstand .44 Magnum, .357 Magnum, or nine-millimeter Luger shells. To achieve this, BMW has reinforced every single body panel with a ballistic-resistant armored fiber. The windows have been replaced with laminated security glass 22-mm thick. All these upgrades obviously mean added heft so the Security package comes only with the X5's 350 hp 4.8 litre V8 and has had its suspension and brakes ripped out and replaced with beefier ones.
  • The X5 was not outfitted with the new R6 engine, which increased power for both the 2.5i and 3.0i versions of the 2006 X3 and Z4 significantly. It is rumored that BMW held back deploying the engine in the 2006 X5 so as not to waste development costs (retooling the assembly line), and to make way for a much more dramatic unveiling of the all new 2007 BMW X5.
  • For June 2007, BMW introduced the M Sport Package for its second-generation X5.
  • The 2008 X5 sees the addition of the 3.0L twin-turbo diesel engine ( X5 3.0sd) that produces 286 Hp @ 4,400 rpm with a maximum torque figure of 580 Nm or 427 lb-ft from 1,750 rpm and BMW's EfficientDynamics across the range. Fuel economy and emission ratings are up by 4 to 7 percent compared to previous models.

Styles and Major OptionsEdit

The BMW X5 comes in three trims: the 3.0i, 4.4i, and 4.8is. Each trim specification refers to the size of its engine, and as the engine size increases from one level to the next, more standard features are also offered. Some of the standout features are:

  • 3.0L 225hp Straight-6 Engine
  • 17" Silver Alloy Wheels
  • Driver Seat Memory
  • Leatherette Interior Seats
  • Automatic Air Conditioning
  • Cruise Control
  • 4.4L 315hp V8 Engine
  • 18" Silver Alloy Wheels
  • Leather Seating
  • Rear Air w/Separate Controls
  • Front and Rear Park Distance Control
  • 4.8L 355hp V8 Engine
  • 20" Silver Alloy Wheels
  • Sport Ride
  • Driver/Front Passenger Heated Seats
  • Express Open/Close Sunroof
  • Premium 12-Speaker Stereo w/6-CD Changer and Graphic EQ
  • BMW Assist Emergency System


Today's actual prices for the BMW X5 can be found at CarsDirect.

X5 Trims












Gas MileageEdit

As seen on the website, the City/Highway MPG averages are as follows:












  • Analysis of the X5 by Automotive Information Systems yielded positive ratings in all of its major categories. In addition, the X5 received an overall score of 77 from Consumer Reports. According to the guide, "Reliability of the six-cylinder model improved to average, allowing us to recommend it. The V8 still has below-average reliability."
  • RECALL ALERT: As part of a 29,250 unit recall which includes the 550i and 650i, the MY 2007 X5 4.8i is being called back to BMW dealerships for repairs. The problem is due to an engine cable malfunction that, according to the NHTSA, in conditions of below freezing temperatures combined with low humidity, has a possibility to produce electrostatic discharge at the fuel rails which will result in the electronic control unit (ECU) to fry and the engine to stall.


Although it was not tested for Rollover, the X5 received the highest rating of 5/5 stars for all other NHTSA crash tests, with the exception of the Front Seat Side-Impact test, for which it received 4/5 stars. All trim levels come with the following standard safety equipment:



A full list of colors for the X5 is available for viewing at Here are some of the options:


  • Alpine White
  • Imola Red
  • Jet Black
  • LeMans Blue Metallic
  • Sterling Gray Metallic
  • Titanium Silver Metallic


  • Black
  • Sand Beige
  • Truffle Brown

Main CompetitorsEdit

Hybrid ModelsEdit

There are no hybrid models of the BMW X5.

Unique AttributesEdit

Resale ValuesEdit

According to Kelley Blue Book, the X5 should retain 67% of its retail value after 24 months and 53% of its value after 48. This sets the X5 higher than models such as the Cadillac SRX and Mercedes-Benz ML-Class, but more on par with the Volvo XC90 and Porsche Cayenne.


  • "...this isn't what we'd call a highly capable off-road vehicle. And cargo capacity isn't a strong point." - New Car Test Drive
  • "Four-wheel drive: Inferior to less-sophisticated, conventional systems in snow and ice." - USA Today
  • "...a jarring ride on all but the smoothest blacktop..." - Car and Owner
  • "If you need lots of cargo and people space, the X5 may not suit your needs. The 4.4- and 4.8-liter V8s have plenty of power, but you'll pay the price for it at the dealership and at the pump." - Kelley Blue Book
  • "Next time the road ahead is closed, could you escape up the embarkment and across the fields in an X5? I think not. But in a Range Rover you could. I know. I've done it". - Top Gear

Current GenerationEdit

For 2004 the X5 was refreshed with new headlights, a few new exterior colors, a new four-wheel drive system and upgraded engines. The exterior touches kept it fresh and gave the X5 a more aggressive look. The grilles were enlarged, as well as their actual slats being modified in a 'flame surfaced' style. In keeping with the E39 refresh of 2001, the 2004 X5's headlights got "angel-eyes" (rings or halos around all front headlamps). The taillights also got an E39-style refresh treatment and the exterior glass went from a "dotted" pattern to a cleaner one of "lines". BMW invented a new four-wheel drive system dubbed xDrive shared both in the X5 and X3 in 2004. Instead of using the previous X5 system which consisted of power being split 60-40 (rear wheels-front wheels) and DSC to brake wheels losing traction, xDrive could variably cut off power to the front or rear axles in a matter of milliseconds, while transferring 100% of the engine power to either, thus allowing the vehicle to regain traction quickly.

In terms of engines, the X5 got the new 4.4i engine which debuted in the 2002 7-Series. This raised output from 290 to 325 hp (242 kW). Also from April production, a new X5 4.8is was offered (see below), giving the driver 265 kW (355 hp) and making it the 2nd fastest SUV behind the Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

Several new extras were added to the 2004 X5 such as:

  • Soft-boot close feature (the top part of the trunk pulls itself closed)
  • Trailer Stabilization Control
  • Adaptive Headlights (available only with xenon lamps; these swivel with the direction of travel of the car)

Originally announced in the end of 2003 along with the rest of the X5 refresh, the X5 4.8is first started shipping in April 2004. In had a new larger 4.8 L engine (which replaced the 4.6 L engine), and was also later used in the 2005 750i/Li. It also included a slightly modified bodykit (parts of the bottom bumper became painted the body color), 20" wheels, and along with the 4.6is, were the only X5's ever to have a large chrome-tipped exhaust which hid the quad pipes.


Along with the rest of the BMW lineup (apart from the 7 E65 series), the X5 got Bluetooth kits straight from the factory if it was ordered with the Premium Package.

Specifically, the 4.4i & 4.8is models got Xenon headlamps as standard equipment in the United States.

Overall dimensions

Length: 4854 mm

Width: 1933 mm

Height: 1766 mm

Wheelbase: 2933 mm

Tracks (front/rear): 1644/1650 mm


The history of the X5 begins in the late 1990s, when Chris Bangle drew the first sketches from his Designworks studio in California. In many ways, the current car closely resembles these initial sketches. Bangle is both admired and derided for his unconventional and challenging designs-something both the X5 sketches and the E46 3 series can attest to. He claimed the BMW X5 was a very capable SAV.

The takeover of Rover proved to be very beneficial for BMW in the development of the X5. BMW engineers were able to look and use Range Rover technology and parts in the development of the X5-one such example would be hill descent control. In many respects the X5 was also influenced designwise by its British counterpart; in this case the X5 got the two-piece tailgate straight from the Range Rover. Many parts and electronics were also taken directly from the E39 5 series parts bin to save costs.

In contrast to the Range Rover models, however, the X5 was designed as a sporting car. BMW reportedly worked hard to ensure it was referred to as an SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) instead of an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle).

Even though the X5 was a four wheel drive vehicle, BMW chose from the start to route 60% of the engine's torque to the rear wheels, making it feel as close as possible to the company's rear-wheel drive sedans. Many reviewers commented on its road and track "feeling", and as time passed many other manufactures have caught onto this breed of SUV (e.g. Porsche Cayenne).

The X5 has been criticized for having low interior volume for its size - both the smaller BMW X3 and the 5 Series (Touring) have greater interior volume. The next generation X5 is rumored to rectify this problem.

The X5, along with the BMW Z4 roadster, are currently manufactured exclusively in BMW's South Carolina plant in Spartanburg.

Future GenerationsEdit

The BMW E70 automobile platform will be the basis for the future X5 SUV. It will replace the BMW E53. It is expected that it will be released some time during 2007, and will be considerably bigger than the current E53 model and is rumoured to accommodate two extra passengers. The increase in size is due to the uncomfortably close sizes of the current generation X5 and smaller X3 model.

The next generation BMW X5 will be 60mm wider, 165mm longer; with a 110mm longer wheelbase, but will remain at the height of the current generation X5 at 1715mm. The SUV will be manufactured alongside with the new 2008 BMW X6 at BMW's South Carolina plant in the USA.

Several sources have indicated that the dashboard will be completely revised to incorporate all of the latest technical gadgets, which will be included in the next generation. These include radar-governed cruise control and night-vision. The E70 will bring new engines to the X5 lineup. BMW will begin a shift of replacing engines from the 2006 7-Series. It is likely that the E70 will inherit those same powertrains.

Transmission choices will likely remain like those today: 6-speed manual and 6-speed Steptronic. It is possible for BMW to implement their 6-speed SMG system into the V8-powered models. Also, this generation's xDrive AWD system will continue largely unchanged into the E70. Rumors also floating around is that the BMW 7-Series Electronic Shifter will be used in the E70 to rival the 2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class' shifter.

The X5 will also be the first production vehicle to use FlexRay, a new electrical bus system; it is only used for the pneumatic damping system.


In Australia, two thirds of the whole X5 range are diesels (3.0d and 4.4d). The only petrol version available is the V8 version.

The UK police uses the X5 xDrive30d and xDrive40d as Interceptors as part of a four-year deal beginning late 2010. Other cars in the docket include the 530d Saloon and Touring, 330d Saloon and Touring, all variants of X1 and the X3 xDrive20d.

Design quirks and odditiesEdit

A BMW X5 was used as a support vehicle for a feature documentary Race To Dakar when Charley Boorman participated in the 2006 Dakar Rally. However, the car had suffered a few reliability problems.

A BMW X5 3.0d can travel 1100 kilometres on a single tank.


  • Winner Australia's Best Luxury Four Wheel Drive in 2001.
  • Winner Australia's Best Luxury Four Wheel Drive in 2002.
  • Winner Australia's Best Luxury Four Wheel Drive in 2007.
  • Winner Drive Best SUV Over $40K in 2010 (Nominee)

See alsoEdit


The BMW Group

BMW | Rolls-Royce | MINI

Current: 1 Series · 3 Series · 5 Series · 6 Series · 7 Series · Hydrogen 7 · Z4 · X1 · X3 · X5 · X6 · 5 Series GT · Megacity EV

Bmw M logoM Cars: M1 · M3 · M5 · M6 · M Coupe · M Roadster · M535i · X5M · X6M

Bmw i logo BMW i: i3 · i5 · i8

Historic: 507 ·Z8 · Z3 · Z1 · 503 · 328 · Isetta · 8 Series · E3 · · · · · · · · · ·

Racing: M3 GTR · V12 LMR · V12 LM98 · 320 Turbo · 3.0 CSL · 700 RS · F1.09 · Z4 GT3 · M3 GT2

Concept: Nazca M12 · Nazca C2 · Nazca C2 Spyder · Z11 · Z13 · Z18 · Z07 Concept · Z9 Gran Turismo Concept · Z9 Convertible Concept · X Coupe · CS1 Concept · xActivity Concept · H2R · Mille Miglia · M3 Concept · CS Concept · Just 4/2 Concept · Concept Z4 Coupe · Turbo Concept · X6 Sports Activity Coupe Concept · Concept X6 Active Hybrid · Concept 1-Series tii · M1 Homage Concept · GINA Light Visionary Concept · M8 Prototype · 750i ActiveHybrid Concept · X1 Concept · Hydrogen Powered Salt Flat Racer Concept · 5 Series Gran Turismo Concept · Z Vision Concept · E1 Concept · Vision EfficientDynamics Concept · SIMPLE Concept · Concept ActiveE · ActiveHybrid5 Concept · Concept Gran Coupé · Concept 6 Series Coupé

iDrive · DesignworksUSA · ConnectedDrive · BMW Welt · Franz Josef Popp · Max Friz · BMW i · BMW M · BMW Motorrad

Karl Friedrich Rapp and Camillo Castiglioni Corporate website Independent

External linksEdit

News & References

Enthusiast Sites ans Online Forums

  • BimmerPortal The enthusiast's choice for everything BMW.
  • BimmerSpace BMW Community & Owner's Garages.
  • United Bimmer - A BMW community offering tech support forums, a DIY (Do It Yourself) knowledge base, and other resources for BMW enthusiasts.
  • X5World is an X5 and X3 community where current and potential BMW X5 owners can learn more about the Ultimate Sports Activity Vehicle. This site also serves as an information warehouse for modifications that BMW X5 enthusiasts have made to their vehicles.
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