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BMW X5

Overview
Review
OVERVIEW

2015 BMW X5 – sDrive35i RWD 4-Dr Sport Utility I6 Auto Trans (Base Trim)

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2015 BMW X5: Angularfront
RATINGS

Editors Overall Rating

What is this?
This rating is provided by our team of editors based on their extensive professional expertise on Trucks, SUVs, Vans, and Wagons.
We liked
  • Practical, Spacious Interior
  • Efficient Diesel Motor
  • Hot-Rod X5 M
We disliked
  • Poor Fuel Economy From Gas V-8
  • Dubious Value
PRICING Fair Market Pricing
What is this?
Fair Market Price is an estimate of a “fair” price that any given new vehicle can be purchased for. This national estimate, updated monthly, reflects recent market conditions (supply and demand) plus a reasonable dealer markup.
$51,256
Finance
Estimated monthly
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MSRP
$53,900
MPG
19 / 27
City/Hwy
ENGINE
3.0L I6
HORSE POWER
300 hp
@ 5,800 rpm
TORQUE
300 ft lb
of torque @ 1,300 rpm
See all Photos, Ratings, Pricing and Specifications
BMW’s first SUV, the X5, entered its third generation for the 2014 model year. As with its immediate predecessor, the X5 leans more toward the luxury side of the spectrum, with a well-appointed interior, wide array of standard and available features, and plenty of space for first- and second-row passengers. The available third-row seat expands passenger capacity to seven, but space there is limited, and the seat eats up cargo space when deployed.
A range of BMW’s excellent I-6 and V-8 engines is available, with a 3.0L diesel I-6 providing reasonable power and fuel efficiency for such a large vehicle. In fact, the standard 3.0L turbocharged gas I-6 is able to equal some of its diesel-powered competitors in fuel efficiency. However, things take a downward bent with either of the available twin-turbo V-8 powertrains, which get rather poor fuel economy.
The benefit to that inefficiency is loads of power. In particular, the X5 M is a willing partner for high-speed cruising, and it handles very well in most situations. However, it’s not appreciably faster than the much cheaper Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.
With a range of powertrains (and price points), there’s a lot to like about the X5. Its trademark BMW smoothness and power/efficiency balance (at least with the I-6 engines) make it a compelling proposition.

REVIEW

When Americans think of diesel-powered vehicles, the first thing that likely comes to mind are heavy-duty pickups. It’s quite unfortunate that we’ve been trained to think this way. However, thanks to the latest influx of small-displacement diesel-powered cars and SUVs, we’re slowly starting to see the light, and we have Europe to thank for it.
Now, before you go sending angry letters, we’ll address what’s likely question number one. Yes, the American-made Jeep Grand Cherokee is offered with the 3.0L EcoDiesel. And yes, it is fantastic! However, we already looked at that engine as installed in the Ram 1500. So in an effort to not repeat ourselves, we slid behind the wheel of the BMW X5, which is offered with a 3.0L inline six-cylinder in both gasoline and diesel configurations.
Luxury Accommodations
Interestingly enough, when researching diesel-powered SUVs available for purchase in the U.S., most are available from luxury brands. Audi offers up the Q5 and Q7, Mercedes drops an oil-burner in the GLK and ML, Porsche fit a 3.0L V-6 in the Cayenne, Volkswagen gets it done with the Touareg, BMW brings to the table a diesel offering in both the X3 and X5, and lastly, the Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel will give any of these a decent run for their money. What are missing from the list are the entry-level and compact-size SUVs. Jeep had a go of it for a short bit when they offered a 2.8L inline-four diesel in the Liberty, but that experiment was ultimately short lived. Unfortunately, this means getting into a diesel SUV is going to require one to open their wallet just a bit wider than normal.
Photo 2/7
The Power Difference
Back in the BMW, we chose the X5 platform for our test largely because of its similar engine options. The X5 is available with a 3.0L inline-six engine for both the 35i and 35d. However, don’t be confused, as aside from obvious, these two engines are completely different animals.
The 35i comes equipped with a turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engine that cranks out 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. It does this through the use of a twin-scroll turbocharger with variable valve control (BMW calls it Double-VANOS and Valvetronic). Tucked under the hood of the 35d is a diesel engine that churns out 255 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. This engine uses a variable geometry turbocharger, high-pressure common-rail direct fuel injection, and a 24-valve dual overhead cam valvetrain. Keeping weight down for the diesel is an aluminum engine block.
When it comes down to seat-of-the-pants feel, the 35d takes the win hands down. While it comes up 45 hp short to its gasoline sibling, the 113 lb-ft torque advantage sends the portly SUV off the line with a bit more fervor. That kick is short-lived, however, as on paper, the 35i will beat the 35d from 0-60 mph.
Fuel Economy
This is where things start to get a little weird. On paper and in reality, the diesel wins— there’s no question about that. The 35i comes in with an EPA rating of 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, while the 35d enjoys a slight bump to 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Unfortunately, we never got anywhere near those numbers in our real-world testing.
Photo 3/7   |   BMW has offered inline-six engines for decades and has perfected the art. The 3.0L turbocharged gasoline direct-injection mill in the 35i cranks out an impressive 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque.
With our test drivers behind the wheel of both SUVs driving in an urban environment, both vehicles returned fuel economy numbers in the high teens. On a straight, flat, desolate highway run the 35i produced a best tank of 23 mpg, falling short of its 27-mpg rating. Unfortunately, time constraints kept us from making the same trek with the 35d, but we can surmise that it too would have left us scratching our heads.
If we had a bit more time and patience, we could likely reproduce the EPA estimates, but it’s our feeling that we shouldn’t have to “try,” as driving normally should produce these results. While we were disappointed with the fuel economy overall, the diesel still has a healthy advantage over gasoline. And with the 35i’s thirst for premium fuel, the cost difference between the two fuels is negligible.
Photo 4/7
Driving Technology
We would be remiss if we didn’t at least touch on some of the technology that the BMW X5 has to offer. While available on both gas and diesel variants, it’s these features that make the BMW what it is. Both engines are equipped with stop-start technology, which allows the engine to shut off when appropriate, such as while sitting at a red light, to help save fuel. On the 35i, this process was nearly seamless. However, the 35d seemed to take an extra second or two of cranking to fire back up.
Both vehicles were also equipped with xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The xDrive system works in conjunction with the eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission to provide a more dynamic driving experience when placed into Sport mode by firming up the suspension, changing torque allocation, and altering shift points. Both the 35i and 35d also have EcoPro mode, which works in the same manner as Sport, but is designed to maximize fuel economy. EcoPro saps all the fun out of the driving experience, but the reward comes in the form of more miles per gallon.
Photo 5/7
Bottom Line
The simple reality is this: If you were sat blindfolded in the passenger seat of both X5 variants and asked to guess which one is powered by gas and which one is diesel, you wouldn’t be able to tell. Both are so highly refined that from inside of the vehicle there’s really no way to tell one from the other besides looking at the fuel gauge. From a cost perspective, the diesel engine will set you back about $1,500 over the cost of a 35i. If and when the cost of diesel fuel swaps back to being cheaper than regular unleaded, the low buy-in will be quickly repaid in fuel economy savings. So if you’re in the market for an SUV, we implore you to give the diesel variant a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Photo 6/7   |   BMW X5 xDrive 35i
2014 BMW X5 xDrive 35i
Base Price: $55,100
Price As Tested: $67,375
Vehicle Layout: Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door, SUV
Engine: 3.0L 24-valve I-6
Power:300 hp Torque 300 lb-ft
Trans 8 speed auto
Curb Weight: 4,934 lbs
0-60 MPH: 6.0 sec
Quarter Mile: 14.6 sec @ 96 mph
Braking, 60-0 MPH: 165 ft
Tested Fuel econ: 17.6 mpg
Break Even Point: 75,000 miles
Based on AAA’s current national fuel price averages of $3.63 per gallon of premium gasoline and $3.80 per gallon of diesel. BMW X5 xDrive35i average EPA fuel economy of 21 mpg combined, BMW X5 xDrive35d average EPA fuel economy of 26 mpg combined.
Photo 7/7   |   BMW X5 xDrive 35d
2014 BMW X5 xDrive 35d
Base price: $56,600
Price as tested: $71,700
Vehicle layout: Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door, SUV
Engine: 3.0L 24-valve turbodiesel I-6
Power 255 hp Torque 413 lb-ft
Trans 8 speed auto
Curb Weight: 5,173 lbs
0-60 MPH: 7.3 sec
Quarter mile: 15.6 sec @ 86 mph
Braking, 60-0 MPH: 165 ft
Tested fuel econ: 20.5 mpg
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2015 BMW X5

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$53,900
19 / 27
3.0L I6
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2010 BMW X5

SPECIFICATIONS
$47,600
15 / 21
3.0L I6
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2009 BMW X5

SPECIFICATIONS
$47,500
15 / 21
3.0L I6
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2008 BMW X5

SPECIFICATIONS
$46,200
15 / 21
3.0L I6
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2007 BMW X5

SPECIFICATIONS
$45,900
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3.0L I6
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Auto News: The New BMW X5 4.8i M Sport
BMW's ever-popular M Sport derivative is to be introduced to the new BMW X5 range for the first time.
The ManufacturerMay 31, 2007
Truck Trend
Truck Trend Magazine
truck reviews
Newcomer First Look: 2007 BMW X5 4.8i
If there was ever an SUV that wanted to be a sport sedan, it's the BMW X5.
Dan CarneyApr 2, 2007
Truck Trend
Truck Trend Magazine
news
Auto News: 2007 BMW X5
Back in 2000, BMW's South Carolina-built X5 Sports Activity Vehicle brought real driving thrills to a crossover-SUV segment that wasn't much more than glorified station wagons.
John Pearley HuffmanDec 29, 2006
Truck Trend
Truck Trend Magazine
news
Road Test Comparison: 2007 BMW X5 and 2007 Land Rover Discovery 3
Diesel Duo: 510 Miles on a Tank of Fuel! With a few formally announced diesel-powered SUVs that are due in the U.S. by 2008, it appears the diesel is gaining ground.
G.R. WhaleDec 21, 2006

2006 BMW X5

SPECIFICATIONS
$42,500
N/A
3.0L I6
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Truck Trend news
BMW X3 recalled for airbag defect, X5 under investigation
The BMW X3 has been recalled for an airbag defect, and the X5 is being investigated as well according to AOL Autos.
Benson KongAug 26, 2008
Truck Trend
Truck Trend Magazine
future trucks
2006 Future Vehicle Forecast
Manufacturers love to keep us guessing. They try to keep secrets from us, and we fight tooth and nail to get the info out as soon as possible.
Editors of Motor TrendApr 1, 2005

2005 BMW X5

SPECIFICATIONS
$41,700
15 / 21
3.0L I6
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2004 BMW X5

SPECIFICATIONS
$40,800
15 / 21
3.0L I6
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Truck Trend future trucks
Spied: European Pickup Trucks
Just because European carmakers say they'll never design and manufacture a pickup truck exclusively for the U.S. market doesn't mean they aren't thinking about it.
Mark WilliamsApr 18, 2005
Truck Trend
Truck Trend Magazine
truck reviews
First Drive: 2004 BMW X5
It used to be the number of performance SUVs (although BMW would prefer you call the X5 a Sport Activity Vehicle) could be counted on one hand, as the X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class made up the entire segment. Now Porsche, Volkswagen, Infiniti, and a few others are headed this way.
Mark WilliamsJun 14, 2004
Truck Trend
Truck Trend Magazine
truck reviews
Road Test: 2004 BMW X5 4.4i vs. 2004 Infiniti FX45 vs. 2003 Porsche Cayenne S vs. 2004 Cadillac SRX V8 awd
Riders On The Storm -- Into this house we're born, into this world we're thrown: Track testing four high-performance sport/utilities
Chris WaltonMay 25, 2004
Truck Trend
Truck Trend Magazine
truck reviews
Road Test: 2004 BMW X5
More power, new six-speed auto-trannie highlight the new 2004 BMW X5
Mark WilliamsFeb 9, 2004
Truck Trend
Truck Trend Magazine
features
Paris to Dakar - The World's Toughest Motor Race
Off-road warriors compete for three weeks over 7000-dust-eating, desert miles. Half are run at competitive speeds.
John RettieJan 27, 2004

2003 BMW X5

SPECIFICATIONS
$39,500
15 / 21
3.0L I6
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2002 BMW X5

SPECIFICATIONS
$38,900
15 / 21
3.0L I6
VIEW ALL SPECIFICATIONS
See all Photos, Ratings, Pricing and Specifications
Truck Trend truck reviews
Road Test: 2002 BMW X5 3.0i
Spirited argument punctuated voting in this section. Cost is slightly less an issue, and there ar...
G.R. WhaleNov 19, 2002
Truck Trend
Truck Trend Magazine
truck reviews
Road Test: BMW X5 4.6is vs. Mercedes-Benz ML55 AMG
Road Test: Do you value sport or utility?
David NewhardtOct 22, 2002

2001 BMW X5

SPECIFICATIONS
$38,900
15 / 20
3.0L I6
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Truckin cool trucks
2001 BMW X5 - Bad Booming Beemer
Spyro Markis Jr. blows out the eardrums of passerby and passengers alike in this 2001 BMW X5!
Mark HalvorsenMar 1, 2008
Motor Trend
Motor Trend Magazine
Motor Trend
One-Year Test Verdict: 2001 BMW X5 4.4i
Ten years ago, if you were to ask any BMW enthusiast if a sport/utility could qualify for Ultimate Driving Machine status, he would've looked at you cross-eyed.
Jeff BartlettMay 28, 2003

2000 BMW X5

SPECIFICATIONS
$49,400
13 / 17
4.4L V8
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Motor Trend Motor Trend
-282 TO 10,000 Feet - SUV Stress Test
Three Of Today's Most Advanced Suvs Face Off In A Test Of Attitudes-And Altitudes
Rik PaulApr 1, 2000
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