Flash Drive: 2008 BMW X5 3.0si
This 2008 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2010.
By Staff of MSN Autos
The BMW X5 has long been one of the sportiest SUVs. The smooth power from BMW’s legendary 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder is plenty once the X5 gets moving, but it’s a heavy vehicle, and from a standstill it almost feels like the parking brake is still engaged. The steering is direct and precise with nice transitions in quick turns, but there is an uncharacteristically numb feeling on the freeway that demands constant small steering inputs. The much-maligned iDrive is still overly complicated, and the new shift lever takes some getting used to, although it does offer sequential manual shifting. The interior offers typical BMW luxury and all the latest high-tech options — but at a price. Our test car was over $58,000 with the Premium, Sport and Technology Packages. – Mike Meredith
The BMW X5 3.0i initially feels more Ford F-150 than BMW M3. It’s tall and seems sluggish when you first pull away from a stop. With so much weight to move, the 3.0-liter engine doesn’t cope as well as I’d hoped. More time behind the wheel shows the engine is quite smooth for an SUV, and once underway it is powerful enough. With more seat time even the steering feel seems better, and the curved rear glass leaves ample room for a large dog crate behind the rear seats. Although an SUV will never really feel as quick and nimble as a sports car, BMW’s DNA is clearly intact. – Paul Hagger
Among SUVs, the BMW X5 is definitely an exception. The X5 drives just as you’d expect from a BMW, which is a tall order for a 5,000-pound sport ute. It’s not super quick off the line, but the 3.0-liter engine provides plenty of power for most driving situations. Handling is excellent, with impressive grip and cornering while still providing a comfortable ride. Seats are supportive but will be too stiff for some, especially in the rear seat. The iDrive interface is still difficult to use — finding a preset radio station is a frustrating experience — but setting up my Bluetooth phone went quickly and without the instruction manual. One major complaint is road noise, which was quite obtrusive, especially at highway speeds. This is not an issue you’d expect in any $50,000 vehicle. – Perry Stern