From the April 2000 subject of Automobile and Driver.
Our $55,315 Titanium Silver Metallic BMW X5 definitely regarded the a part of a way-business sport-utility car—square-shouldered, huge 19- inch tires jamming the wheel wells, the outstanding BMW twin-kidney grille. And as common readers know, we like BMWs.
However early feedback from staffers who drove this brand-new car elicited very un-BMW-like, one-phrase adjectives—resembling jerky, jumpy, and jiggly. It sounded as if we had been naming the solid of the “Seven Dysfunctional Dwarves.”
These feedback had been warranted particularly on southern Michigan’s grim washboard roads, the place our X5, geared up with the $2470 Sport bundle, offered a downright punishing trip. A number of of us questioned if someway the tires had been inflated to, say, 60 psi. (They hadn’t.) We questioned why the steering had such a stiff, sluggish, nonlinear really feel. We questioned why the drive-by-wire throttle, solely acceptable with this engine within the 540i sedan, had such an abrupt tip-in.
Then we thought: Hey, BMWs, presumably even its sport-utility car (referred to as by BMW a “sports-activity car,” for causes that may grow to be clear shortly), are highway warriors, so let’s take a highway journey!
4 days and greater than 2500 miles later, our first-impression complaints remained and had been joined by a handful of further shortcomings, though there have been simply as many practically stellar obtainments, as a result of most of the good issues concerning the X5 grow to be evident with seat time. Suffice it to say that the X5, which gamely makes an attempt to be all issues to all drivers, is not.
First, the good things.
The construct high quality of the unibody X5, manufactured solely within the BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, is on par with something the corporate makes. Match and end was wonderful. The X5 was drum tight on the roughest pavement and appeared it might nonetheless be so 75,000 miles down the highway.
Equally, there’s little to fault concerning the X5’s inside. Wooden trim is used liberally on the doorways, sprint, and console. The leather-based used on the seating surfaces, door panels, steering wheel, and shift knob is top of the range. The legible white-on-black instruments are correctly framed by means of the highest half of the steering wheel, which, by the way, is fitted with buttons on the left aspect of the hub that management the stereo and ears on the correct aspect that regulate the cruise control. There is a helpful, unobtrusive journey pc, a superb 10-speaker stereo, and three reminiscence settings that retailer seat, seatbelt-height, steering-wheel, and outside-mirror positions.
Though the rear seats are a bit upright and thinly padded, the dual entrance bucket sport seats are very good. The driving force’s seat has an eight-way energy adjustment; the passenger seat is six-way adjustable. That the motive force’s seat remained snug after a 24-hour stint behind the wheel is a major achievement on BMW’s half. Good, too, is a large lifeless pedal for the motive force’s left foot. As you’ll count on, security options abound, together with twin entrance and entrance aspect airbags, in addition to the inflatable, sausage-shaped Head Safety System. Door-mounted rear aspect airbags are non-obligatory. Maybe essentially the most severe grievance concerning the passenger compartment is a minor one: The console-mounted twin cup holders can deal with two cans however couldn’t take two medium-size cups that flared on the high with out tipping one in all them off to the aspect.
Transfer to the rear, although, and our complaints get a bit extra extreme. With the 60/40 rear seats in place, baggage capability is a modest 16 cubic ft—the identical as in a Hyundai Accent. If you’d like your cargo lined, capability is lowered much more by a flimsy sliding plastic cowl.
Beneath the cargo ground is, at the very least, a full-size spare tire—though it was an 18-inch Michelin in our X5 that was shod with the 19-inch Bridgestones that include the Sport bundle. The cargo door is a two-piece unit; the highest part raises, and as soon as it is up, you manually interact a swap (unattainable to search out at night time except the place it is positioned) that releases the tailgate.
On the highway, the X5 appeared most at dwelling on easy pavement at super-legal speeds. Whether or not it is within the 540i or the X5, the 282-hp, 4.4-liter V-8 is a gutsy, sophisticated engine. The VANOS variable valve timing is seamless and clear. Mated to the five-speed computerized ZF transmission, the powertrain is well-matched, downshifting intuitively when wanted, upshifting with out drama. It has the Steptronic characteristic that means that you can shift for your self, however to a few of us, it appeared extra a novelty than an enhancement.
As talked about beforehand, throttle tip-in from a standing begin calls for a really gentle contact on the accelerator—any extra pedal strain and also you lurch. As soon as beneath means, although, throttle really feel is okay.
Not so with the variable-assist rack-and-pinion steering, which is tiresomely stiff at sluggish speeds. Though the X5 tracks straight and true with little correction required on the interstate, it didn’t have the linear, exact really feel we have come to know and love from different BMWs.
The X5 has all-wheel drive, with energy delivered by means of a switch case that nominally sends 38 p.c of the torque to the entrance, 62 p.c to the rear, except differentclever suggested by the traction-control system. There isn’t any low-range gearing, and as an alternative of a limited-slip or locking differential, the X5 has Computerized Differential Braking, a traction-control-type system that sends energy to the wheels which have grip by individually braking the wheels that do not. These methods are inclined to prepare dinner the brakes in extended low-traction slogging.
The suspension that makes the X5 deal with like a car set decrease than its 67.2-inch top, and lighter than its 4933-pound weight, makes for a jarring trip on all however the smoothest blacktop. Even concrete highways in good restore have expansion joints, and the X5 finds each one in all them. For that reason, we might be tempted to move on the Sport bundle—thus saving $2470 however lacking out on these cool-wanting 19-inch tires and wheels—if it meant a smoother trip.
And the X5 does go round corners with authority. The massive four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock are wonderful (70 mph to 0 takes a sports-car-like 167 ft) and, together with traction management, are standard. The X5 circled the skidpad at 0.79 g, in contrast with 0.74 g for the Mercedes-Benz ML55 AMG we examined in December 1999. The X5 wasn’t fairly as fast in acceleration—a 15.4-second quarter-mile at 89 mph, in contrast with the ML55’s 15.3 seconds at 92 mph—however contemplating the X5 offers up 60 hp to the ML55’s 342-hp, 5.4-liter V-8, it is respectable. Their curb weights are shut, however their costs aren’t—our X5 listed for $55,315, about $10,000 lower than the ML55.
It is potential to discover a very good X5 for lower than ours value, however do not count on to see many on the $49,970 base value (you can maintain out for the upcoming six-cylinder X5, anticipated to start out at about 40K). Apart from the aforementioned $2470 Sport bundle, which included the large tires and wheels and a sport suspension with firmer shocks, springs, and anti-roll bars, our tester had an influence glass sunroof ($1050), xenon headlights ($500), tinted home windows ($275), an upgraded stereo with a CD participant ($200), and an $850 Exercise bundle, which included heated entrance seats and headlamp washers.
Normal stuff contains Hill Descent Management (like traction management for engine braking, it helps you creep down steep hills, braking to take care of about 6 mph), Dynamic Stability Management (combines ABS and traction management with information gathered by yaw, steering-angle, acceleration, and brake-pedal sensors), and Dynamic Brake Management (which “reinforces the motive force’s pedal effort in emergency braking”).
All that might not, nevertheless, make our X5 work properly within the snow, thanks largely, we suspect, to the huge Bridgestone Turanza radials. Clients who purchase a Sport-package-equipped X5 pondering they will play mountain goat on slick roads shall be disillusioned, as snow-covered roads, each round our Ann Arbor dwelling workplace and on 150 miles of Illinois interstate, had us wishing for a extra sure-footed snow car, resembling nearly any front-wheel-drive sedan available on the market. The traction management does what it could, but when the tires do not get traction, you are slipping and sliding.
Transient off-road stints steered that the X5 was not solely at dwelling there, both, regardless of satisfactory floor clearance and a decent turning circle. However once more, the absence of low-range gearing and people nice huge Bridgestones are sufficient to maintain us away from the wilderness.
So what, then, are we to make of BMW’s new X5? Nice appears, a virtually flawless inside, a commendable energypractice, and distinctive construct high quality, combined with a tough trip, restricted cargo capability, and marginal snow and off-road capabilities.
If you’d like a sport-utility car that emphasizes utility, we might suggest a Mercedes ML430 or a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Should you lean extra towards the “sport,” the BMW 540i station wagon holds greater than the X5 and performs significantly better on the highway.
Nonetheless, we predict the X5 shall be a significant gross sales success. And that is tremendous, so long as prospects acknowledge its limitations. However for the subsequent 2500-mile long-weekend journey, we’ll be driving one thing else.
Though sport-utilities and sports activities sedans have about as a lot in frequent as giraffes and gazelles, I’ve to confess that the X5 does the perfect job but of blurring the boundary between the 2 species. True, this rig is chubby for a unibody, and it is bothered with the identical traits that render all SUVs clumsy: a excessive floor clearance and a excessive middle of gravity. Nonetheless, with the Sport bundle it is arguably essentially the most nimble SUV but supplied, it stops faster than a number of passenger automobiles, and there is prodigious torque to offset its porcine mass. And if the Sport-package trip is gnarly on Michigan roads, properly, all of the extra purpose to maneuver to California. —Tony Swan
BMW promised us the X5 would set new dynamic requirements for SUVs. Positive sufficient, geared up with the non-obligatory Sport bundle, the X5 delivers cornering and braking grip far superior to any different SUV we have examined. Sadly, this adhesion comes with a brittle trip—one that’s a lot much less compliant than even an M5’s, or another SUV’s that I can recall. Maybe that is the value for making a 4933-pound machine with a excessive middle of gravity stick like a BMW. Throw in numb steering and fewer cargo capability than in a 5-series wagon, and the X5 takes the SUV idea in a course I do not beneathstand. —Csaba Csere
BMW at all times makes certain its providing in each automotive class is the motive force’s automotive of the bunch. And it not often lets us down. The X5 would not wallow by means of turns, sit on its rear when accelerating, or burn its brakes after quite a few stops. So I would need to say that amongst luxurious utes, the X5 is essentially the most satisfying to drive. However I nonetheless would not purchase one, because it has much less inside room than a 540i wagon and rides a lot rougher. What offers? It is as if BMW concentrated too onerous on the game half and forgot about utility. The revenue margin rung up by sport-utes was means an excessive amount of for comparatively small BMW to move up, however I would fairly see a extra helpful bundle. —Larry Webster
2000 BMW X5
Automobile Sort: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door wagon
Base/As Examined: $49,970/$55,315
Choices: Sport bundle (sport suspension, sport seats, 19-inch wheels and tires), $2470; energy sunroof, $1050; Exercise bundle (heated entrance seats, ski bag, headlamp washers, rain-sensing wipers), $850; xenon headlamps, $500; tinted home windows, $275; CD participant, $200
DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port gas injection
Displacement: 268 in3, 4398 cm3
Energy: 282 hp @ 5400 rpm
Torque: 324 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
Suspension, F/R: management arms/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.1-in vented disc/12.8-in disc
Tires: Bridgestone Turanza ER30
Wheelbase: 111.0 in
Size: 183.7 in
Width: 73.7 in
Peak: 67.2 in
Passenger Quantity, F/R: 51/45 ft3
Cargo Quantity, behind F/R: 54/16 ft3
Curb Weight: 4933 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 6.9 sec
1/4-Mile: 15.4 sec @ 89 mph
100 mph: 20.4 sec
130 mph: 49.0 sec
Rolling Begin, 5–60 mph: 7.3 sec
High Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.4 sec
High Gear, 50–70 mph: 5.1 sec
High Velocity (drag ltd): 137 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 167 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.79 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Noticed: 16 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Metropolis/Freeway: 13/17 mpg