In 2007 BMW introduced the second generation X5 E70 model. Although minor changes were made to the X5 every year, the basic body style remained the same until 2011, when the X5 underwent a slight facelift.
In the X5, BMW has designed a SAV (Sport Activities Vehicle) that has the feel of a sports car, while maintaining the functionality of a SUV. The X5 has a sure-footed grip on the road and enough power, particularly with the 4.8 V8, to have you looking for some curvy asphalt to conquer. Then when you slow down, the X5 behaves like a refined luxury car with plenty of electronic accessories and creature comforts to make it a pleasure to drive.
If you are considering buying an X5, you may already know a lot about the options and features this SAV offers, but for additional details click here. For a first-hand owner’s review, keep on reading.
Price and Warranty
Although X5s retain their value over time, even a pre-owned X5 can be quite pricey. A late model, low mileage, highly optioned X5 may list for more than $70,000. It is possible to find early models in the $20,000 range, but usually these X5s will have high mileage. X5s come with a four-year, 50,000-mile factory warranty, so locating a vehicle with at least one year or about 12,000 miles left on the warranty is recommended. This allows time to get necessary repairs done at no cost to you. Something else to consider when buying an X5 is the Certified Pre-owned program which extends the warranty to six years and 100,000 miles. Taking advantage of this program will help to reduce some of the risks of buying a pre-owned vehicle, but will typically add at least $3,000 to the price.
As well as deciding the basic characteristics you want your SAV to have, such as exterior and interior color combinations, you need to decide which engine you prefer. Although 6-cylinder models have better gas mileage and are more economically priced, V8s are typically more heavily optioned, resulting in a larger selection of desirable vehicles. Later models also have a diesel option, or if you really want to be king of the hill, go for the X5 M with 547 horsepower. Test driving both engine types allows you to make a more informed decision about which engine best provides the driving experience you are looking for.
All X5s come with the standard power options and creature comforts usually available on higher-end vehicles. From here, the ante goes up with the premium package and sports package options. The premium package, which transforms the living space from very good to excellent, provides everything you expect of a luxury automobile. The sports package offers additional upgrades to the front seat design, more pitch/raw settings, and larger, sexier-designed wheels, available in either 19″ or 20″. Also, BMW has a cold weather and technology package that may include options you desire.
Third-row seating, which I was told could add as much as 500 pounds to the vehicle, is an option you should consider. However, since less than half of the X5s are built with third-row seating, your pre-owned vehicle choices may be limited.
Finally, look for the home link option that provides a built-in garage door opener. This handy feature is located on the bottom of the rear view mirror.
After hours of reviewing information about the X5 and searching the Internet for potential X5s for sale, I located a pampered 2008 with only 13,000 miles. My X5 is a 4.8 V8, has both premium and sports packages, and includes the built-in navigation option. Four months and 5000 miles later, I would highly recommend my X5, with some slight modifications.
Style, Fit, Finish, and Handling
The X5 E70 deserves high marks for body and interior design. Undoubtedly, it will age gracefully, since BMW always stays ahead of the styling curve. Its craftsmanship and materials are excellent, but the characteristic that will make the X5 really stand out will be your driving experience. Whether cruising down the interstate or zipping through the countryside, the X5’s ability to serve both as a high-performance sports car and a luxury vehicle offers the best of both worlds.
The Learning Curve
BMW, like many other car manufacturers, has changed some traditional car operations – such as the ignition mechanism. Instead of using a key to start the X5, a key fob is inserted into the slot on the dash. If you have the special entry package, you only have to carry the key fob in your pocket. Then, you press the start button once and release.
The parking brake is engaged by pulling up on a button located under the gearshift in the middle console. The parking brake is released by pushing in on that same button. Be sure to have your foot on the brake before releasing the parking brake, but if you forget, the X5 will give you a friendly reminder.
The shifter for the 6-speed automatic transmission is slightly different from most cars. First, there is no gate, but instead a simple forward or backward joystick motion. When stopped, the transmission can be placed in park by pressing a button on top of the shifter.
A car review would not be complete without mentioning the iDrive. The iDrive is the multifunction controller for the cabin climate, navigation, entertainment, and the general interface with the on-board computer.
These operational changes may take some time to get used to, but they will quickly become routine and instinctive.
Additional Items to Consider
When parking, you may be surprised how much wider the X5 is than it seems — 2 ½” wider than the 2006. The wider design not only allows for a roomy cabin, but the wider stance contributes to the vehicle’s superb road handling.
The X5s high seats, as in many SUVs, may make entry into the vehicle difficult for some people. This is especially true if the vehicle has the sports package, which includes side supports on the seats and the larger diameter wheels. Be sure to evaluate this characteristic when test-driving the X5.
An option you may not have included on your must have list, but which is very important is the reverse camera option. The high-up tail design of the X5, existing in many of the newer model vehicles today, severely limits your view when backing up. The reverse camera makes obstacles behind the car visible on the display screen on the vehicle’s dash, making backing up much easier. If you think this is an option you might want in the future, don’t make the mistake of assuming you can get it added later. BMW will not add this option to the X5 after it leaves the factory.
Shortly after purchasing my X5, I had to get a latch on the retractable rear cargo screen replaced. Also,I asked my BMW dealer to install the latest computer software. While running diagnostics associated with the newer computer software, the oxygen sensor was flagged for replacement. Replacing the oxygen sensor and software upgrade made a noticeable improvement in smoothing out downshifting during certain driving conditions. Both of these minor issues were covered under warranty
Five Tips for Buying an X5
Only by test-driving both the inline 6-cylinder and V8 can you make an informed decision about which engine will meet your requirements.
Be sure to look at vehicles with different option upgrades so you can customize your X5 to suit your lifestyle.
Try to find a low-mileage vehicle. They may be hard to find, particularly at the price you want to pay, but keep looking. If possible, purchase one with at least one year of factory warranty remaining.
Recognize there may be a slight learning curve when operating the X5. However, not only will you adjust very quickly, you will soon welcome these changes.
Be sure to get the reverse camera. If you don’t, you will still have a lot of fun moving forward, but you might want to find an pull-through opening when parking at the mall.