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The original sporty SUV, and still a good one.


The BMW X5 was arguably the first sporty SUV, and it hasn’t strayed from its successful formula. The lineup has grown over the years and now encompasses four engines, all turbo-charged: a six, two V-8s, and a diesel. The six-cylinder xDrive35i comes in three trim levels. The V-8 xDrive50i, the diesel xDrive35d, and the X5 M are all single models. Don’t think you have to move up from the 35i to get a quick X5. The 35i gets to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, the 50i does it in 5.3, and the rocket-ship X5 M in 4.5 seconds. By comparison, the diesel’s 6.9-second time sounds less impressive, but its prodigious torque makes it very responsive once under way. It also gets an impressive 19/26 mpg, far better than the next-best version, the 35i, at 16/23. All X5 models get around corners faster than you’d expect given their height and weight. The all-wheel-drive system sends a majority of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels for sportier handling. Active roll stabilization (for flatter cornering) and adaptive electronic damping control (to adjust the damper firmness) are available for the top-spec 35i and the 50i and are standard on the X5 M, which also comes with dynamic performance control to maximize responsiveness. Of course, the M has a firmer suspension; a lower ride height; and massive, twenty-inch wheels.


Infiniti FX

Mercedes-Benz M-class

Porsche Cayenne

Range Rover Sport

new for 2013

The biggest news in X5 land for 2013 is the addition of the M Performance Package, available on the xDrive35i and the xDrive50i. It bumps up the output of both engines slightly and adds black chrome exhaust tips and stainless steel pedals.


Front, side, and side curtain air bags; traction and stability control (with trailer stabilization); ABS; a tire-pressure monitor, and xenon adaptive headlamps are standard. Rearview and sideview cameras and a lane-departure warning system are optional. BMW Assist with automated crash response is standard.


CITY 12–19

HWY 17–26


Drives like a tall sedan

Impressive towing capacity

Diesel gets good fuel economy


Third seat is cramped

Ride can be stiff

V-8 engines are thirsty

Base Price Range: $48,395–$89,745


DRIVE: 4-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: xDrive35i, xDrive35i Premium, xDrive35i Sports Activity, xDrive35d, xDrive50i, X5 M

BODY STYLE: SUV/crossover, 5- or 7-passenger

ENGINES: 3.0L turbo I-6, 300/315 hp, 300/330 lb-ft

3.0L turbo-diesel I-6, 265 hp, 425 lb-ft

4.4L twin-turbo V-8, 400/440 hp, 450/480 lb-ft

4.4L twin-turbo V-8, 555 hp, 500 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 6- or 8-speed automatic


CAPACITIES: Towing 6000 lb; cargo (rear seats up/down) 35.8/75.2 cu ft

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