2005 BMW X5
– Head-turning looks
– Sporty handling
– Luxury interior
– Very expensive
– Small luggage area
– Not a real dune-basher
The X5 debuted in 1999, combining basic offroading capability with BMW levels of performance and luxury. Four years after its launch, the world’s first Sports Activity Vehicle still enjoys immense popularity. To ensure that this popularity continues, the engineers and designers worked together to devise a thoroughly improved driving experience, which gave rise to a number of technical innovations and a bold new look.
The main highlights of this new so-called “Sport-Activity-Vehicle,” as BMW calls it, include the new intelligent all-wheel drive system – xDrive, a more powerful V8 engine, new transmissions and the modernization of central design elements. All this means that the X5 will remain the perfect vehicle for the enthusiast driver, who wishes to combine the excellent handling and drive characteristics typical of BMW with a high seating position and the ability to master a wide range of driving situations, including off-road. However, do not expect it to perform like a Land Cruiser on the toughest of dunes deep in the desert.
The front of the car has been completely revised right up to the A-pillar. The character lines in the hood are wider and higher and meet the double kidney grille, which is a typical BMW design. The kidney-shaped air inlets have also been redesigned; they have been enlarged and as a result they lend the X5 increased presence. Xenon low and high beam headlamps, standard on higher models, provide outstanding road illumination. At the rear, the new transparent tail light lenses give a fresh appearance to the new BMW X5.
The best-selling X5 3.0i of course continues with its 3.0L, 231 hp and 300 Nm, in-line six-cylinder engine for the 2005 model year. In traditional BMW fashion, those who prefer to shift for themselves will find a manual transmission as standard equipment.
Another option is the relatively new BMW 4.4L V8 engine with VALVETRONIC valve control, Double VANOS and fully variable intake system has already used in the current BMW 7 Series. This engine, adapted to meet the requirements of a Sports Activity Vehicle, will now power the X5 4.4i. The 4.4L V8 generates 320 hp and 440 Nm, and accelerates from 0 to 100 kph in 7 seconds. The new X5 4.4i is equipped with the new six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission, with six perfectly spaced gear ratios to ensure that there is always plenty of power on tap, while providing maximum efficiency.
The X5 4.8iS features an enlarged version of the VALVETRONIC 4.4L engine featured in the X5 4.4i. This new 4.8L V8 power plant produces 360 hp and a massive 500 Nm of torque, and is coupled with a 6-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission. This abundant power is driven through W-rated performance tires.
In order to make the most of the new powertrain updates, BMW’s newest all-wheel drive system helps to ensure optimum performance in all driving situations. The xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system is a completely new design, and it sets new standards among all-wheel drive vehicles for road holding and agility. The xDrive system performs stepless and variable distribution of drive forces between the front and rear wheels at an unprecedented speed.
xDrive reacts faster than other systems because it is able to think further in advance. It not only makes use of the information obtained from the wheel sensors, which signal when any of the wheels are spinning, but also data collected from Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system sensors. Yaw rate, the information regarding rotational movement of the vehicle itself, and the steering wheel position both supply important data concerning the current situation. This enables xDrive to distribute drive power ideally and at any given moment between the front and rear wheels, for instance during cornering, thereby significantly minimizing chances of skidding.
In hard driving, the X5 performs very much like a basic sports sedan. Cornering abilities on the road far exceed those of competitors like the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Toyota Land Cruiser and Range Rover, even beating more traditional cars like the Toyota Camry. This four-wheel-drive system, however, cannot overcome the X5’s offroading deficiencies, as the entire undercarriage can be ripped apart by a tall enough rock. The X5 is more of a soft-roader than an off-roader.
At 100 kph, the X5 is just coming into its own. The fully independent, aluminum-intensive suspension, which feels firm at slow speeds, is stable on the highway, and the brakes will kill speed in a short time, repeatedly. Large 14-inch front and 12.8-inch rear disc brakes bring BMWs most potent SAV to a quick and sure-footed stop. The automatic and manual gearboxes shift like any BMW, which is quite well.
In addition to the clear increase in agility and driving enjoyment, xDrive also provides great safety benefits. As a result of its fast reaction time, the new system provides greatly improved road holding characteristics. Whether the driving surface is rough or smooth, it only takes a few milliseconds once friction is lost between the wheel and the road surface for the drive forces to be redistributed to the wheels that still have traction. The electronically controlled multi-disk clutch loses no time and reacts immediately. Thanks to xDrive, starting off on a slippery iced surface or climbing steep uphill slopes proves to be a simple exercise for the new X5.
As far as safety is concerned, the new X5 again scores extra points, profiting from the extensive revision. The new xDrive all-wheel drive system has raised active safety to a new level, offering the driver an extra measure of security in virtually every driving situation. The X5 has successfully proven its passive safety qualities in one of the most stringent crash tests in the world. The BMW Sports Activity Vehicle was the first so-called “Large Off-Roader” to be awarded a score of five stars in the Euro NCAP Test. For those who use the special performance features of the X5 for towing, there is a further unique safety feature – the trailer stabilization control of the new X5, which prevents dangerous rocking movements. Additional sensors that are able to recognize potentially dangerous pendulum motions are included with the DSC system, which can apply braking forces to help return the trailer to safe motion.
The long list of standard features include rain-sensing windshield wipers and adaptive headlights with automatic headlight control and self-dimming mirrors. Also included with this package are adjustable and heated rear seats, a ski bag, and a digital compass mirror. For the audiophile, an in-dash CD player is included as is a 6-CD changer. The interior is luxurious yet simple in typical BMW style, but the luggage area at the back could have been a bit bigger, considering the astronomical prices of every X5 model.
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