The original BMW X5 brought up a brand-new type of vehicle. Now the second BMW X5 is here to raise the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) experience to an even higher standard. Featuring BMW high performance V8 and straight six engines, an unique suspension mixing dynamics and comfort, enhanced BMW X-Drive four-wheel-drive technology, as well as a light and extremely torsional stiff chassis interact to ensure excellent agility and dynamic performance.
The second BMW X5 has all the qualities that made the first SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) such an innovative concept, and raises them to new standards. Being sold in approximately 580,000 units worldwide since the 1999 launch, the E53 BMW X5 has become an exceptional global success and still enjoys great attractiveness to this day. Of course the United States is the market where the X5 has had the maximum impact. Over 240,000 units form the E53 BMW X5 have been purchased in the U.S. alone.
The aim of the SAV is to offer the customer a generously sized, luxuriously fixed and, at the same time, highly vigorous premium vehicle. With BMW ’s new X-Drive four-wheel drive and increased ground clearance the E70 X5 possesses all the necessities for venturing out on hard terrain. By combining these characteristics with its outstanding on-road driving capabilities the new car excels at polyvalency.
The new BMW X5 will be offered in the U.S. with either a 4.8-liter V8 boasting 350 bhp or a 3.0-liter straight-six with 260 horsepower. The new X5 is the only car in its segment available with both Active Steering system developed by BMW, and Adaptive Drive (a mixture of Active Roll Stabilization and Electronic Damping Control). It is also the opening SAV to be fitted with run-flat tires in standard.
The dynamic character of the new BMW X5 is beautifully underlined by the muscular elegance of the exterior design, just like the adaptable and elegant interior. The inside of the E53 X5 was one of its trademarks. The interior of the new X5 combines highly sophisticated materials with abundant innovative options, offering a first-class ambience.
The new X5 maintains the emblematic proportions of BMW’s outstanding SAV, as well as the generally sporting character of the vehicle, although it is 7.4 inches longer than its predecessor is. The extra size is obvious at a first glance only within the interior of the new vehicle.
A considerable ground clearance and an elevated driving position continue to characterize the unique driving experience this vehicle offers. All at once the interior is more flexible than before and, allows now the addition of an optional, third row of seats. Just as with the original, the inside of the E70 X5 is characterized by premium finesse and a wide range of equipment which set new standards for the automobiles in this segment.
The history of the original BMW X5 begins at the end of the 1990s, when Chris Bangle drew the first sketches of a BMW SUV. In many ways, the first BMW X5 closely resembled to those initial sketches.
The purchase of Land Rover proved to be very beneficial for BMW in the development of their X5. The BMW engineers were able examine and use Range Rover technology in the development of the X5 (one such is Hill Descent Control). As the X5 was based on the E39 5 series, many parts and electronics were taken directly from that platform to save costs.
In contrast to the Land Rover models, however, the X5 was designed as any other BMW to be a sporting car. BMW created a new bread of vehicles with the X5, the so called SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) in contrast with the regular SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle).
Even though the X5 was a 4WD vehicle, it featured a road-oriented transmission and directed 60% of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels, making it feel as close as possible to the company’s rear-wheel drive sedans. The X5 had limited off-road capabilities, but was highly appreciated for its road and track "feeling", and as time passed many other manufactures have caught onto the SAV (e.g. Porsche Cayenne).
The first BMW X5 was criticized for having low interior volume for its size, especially as both the smaller BMW X3 and the 5 Series (Touring) had greater interior volume. Apparently the new X5 has rectified this problem.
Thenew BMW X5 is set to reinvent the vehicle category it has originally created with its previous installment, that of the SAVs (Sports Activity Vehicles). With a dynamic, road oriented conception it is aimed at the other high performance luxury SUVs, such as the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 or Mercedes ML. The first X5 was a great success and still selling well before the launch of the new model. The E70 with all its novelties is expected to be a smashing hit.
The original BMW X5 become an emblematic style. The new car was built on the original’s look of powerful elegance and presence. The proportions of the previous model have been cautiously developed and enhanced. The general appearance of the vehicle conveys a strong touch of agility despite even larger dimensions (length up 7.4 inches, width by 2.4). Measuring 191.1 inches in length and 76.1 inches in width, the new X5 succeeds in being an elegant and sporting vehicle to behold from every angle.
This special style is guaranteed by the BMW trademark front and rear short body overhangs, as well as the large wheels. The reduced distance between the front axle and the dashboard guides the eyes of the driver even more directly to the front end of the new X5. The effect is an ideal optical balance of the front and rear section.
With an elongated wheelbase, the new X5 achieves a significantly higher standard of stability and presence. The lines of all the pillars meet to form a consequently shortened roofline supporting the general impression of elegance and athleticism.
A characteristic of the BMW design is the side contour line positioned at the same level as the door handles, rising slightly towards the rear. In that area the vehicle’s convex and concave surfaces come together. The outline line starts behind the front wheel arches and encircles the whole rear section completely interrupted, passing through the rear light clusters.
The strong headlight units integrated in the side panels, The powerfully curved contour of the engine compartment lid and the three-dimensional bars on the kidney grille act together to give the front fascia of the new X5 a particularly powerful expression. The overall lines and contours project a sense of urgency and motion. The dual round angel eyes headlights appear to be slightly cut off at the top and give the entire front a lucid and vibrant focus.
Power and elegance blend is also the name of the recipe used at the rear end of the new SAV. The elevated upper edge of the rear shock absorber accentuates the utter width of the vehicle and, as a result, its sturdy and constant stance on the road. This impression is further enhanced by the horizontal arrangement of the rear light blocks. Shaped in BMW’s classic L-design, they enfold far around into the rear of the car . The new rear light units featuring four LED light rods give the new BMW X5 a powerful and outstanding appearance from behind, night or day.
A striking quality of the body design of the new X5 is the unusually low drag coefficient. Lift forces being kept to a minimum enhance both driving dynamics and safety. And, the Cx of 0.34 (for the X5 3.0si) is an outstanding achievement in this class.
The new BMW X5 is the first production car ever to feature a roof spoiler with integrated aerodynamic edges for a precisely distinct cut-off of airflow. In addition to that, the rear lights feature cut-off edges for improved airflow.
BMW’s expert engineers and designers have succeeded to provide the new X5 with an even stiffer body. For additional space and extra firmness without a major increase in mass, the engineers have focused consistently on intelligent lightweight technology.
The selection of materials and the positioning and geometry of the support bars, arms and strengthening members are based on an overall concept designed for utmost safety in a crash combined with superior suppleness. The torsional stiffness in comparison with the former model is up approximately 15% from 23,500 to 27,000 Nm/degree.
Engines & transmissions
It is a clear fact that a premium SAV requires and deserves a choice of power-units which provide remarkable torque and power combined with outstanding running refinement. And the BMW i s the manufacturer to be able to offer such engines. For the U.S. line-up there will be two models, an L6 and a V8.
The V8 will power the BMW X5 4.8i and will offer a high level of performancee. It is the upgraded and renewed previous top-of-the-line engine and develops a peak power of 350 bhp from a displacement of 4,799 cubic centimeters. The new V8 features an even more complex and efficient engine management system in addition to the well known double-VANOS variable camshaft adjustment and VALVETRONIC fully variable valve drive.
The eight cylinder power plant of the new BMW X5 4.8i provides maximum torque of 350 lb-ft from 3,400 to 3,800 rpm and offers efficient dynamics of the highest standard. , This top-end model will not let down the true driving aficionado as it accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in only 6.4 seconds. Despite the excellent performance, the new V8 in the BMW X5 4.8i fulfils the exhaust emission regulations of the ULEV II classification in the US.
The straight six in the new BMW X5 3.0si similarly reflects the latest state of the art in engine development. This new 3.0-liter engine combines even and linear response with superior refinement and harmony. The maximum output is 260 bhp and the peak torque of 225 lb-ft comes at 2,750 rpm. The BMW X5 3.0si can sprint to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds.
Double-VANOS and VALVETRONIC are also featured in this engine for optimum output and efficiency. The weight of the power plant has been reduced at the same time due to the magnesium/aluminum crankcase. This new element reduces the overall weight of the new L6 by 22 lbs to just 355 lbs – allowing the achievement of near-perfect weight balance and reduced weight.
The new X5 SAV comes in standard with a six gears STEPTRONIC automatic transmission enhanced to an even superior stage than before. The new six-speed automatic changes with beyond compare speed, for outstanding precision and effectiveness. It offers not only the driving comfort but, above all, the dynamic recital expected of a BMW. And, the new transmission helps the power unit to achieve a high standard of all-round fuel economy.
The new automatic is offered in two distinct versions customized specifically to the torque of the two available engines. Both versions are equipped with a new converter technology and predominantly efficient, high-performance software to reduce reaction and shift times in comparison to a conventional automatic transmission by up to 50%. And, the direct detection of the desired gear allows the driver to skip one or even several gears when shifting down, without needing any additional time.
With a curiously dynamic gearshift and particularly straight connection to the engine, the new six-speed STEPTRONIC automatic transmission is a rewarding associate for either engine. And, simultaneously ensures smooth and fuel-efficient cruising at low engine speeds.
The new BMW X5 is even more sure-footed and than it’s predecessor on every surface due to BMW’s intelligent, permanent X-Drive all-wheel-drive system. In normal driving conditions, the torque is spread out front-to-rear in a 40 : 60 split. With an extremely quick and precise reaction, X-Drive ensures a variable power distribution between front and rear as soon as a specific driving situation or surface conditions require it.
In order to achieve this, BMW X-Drive includes a center differential with an electronically controlled multiple-plate clutch to feed the power of the engine to where it most required. This 4WD system works to counteract any over-steer or under-steer tendency immediately by switching power to the front or the rear as required to help stabilize the vehicle.
The BMW X-Drive supports another specially implemented for the X5 to ensure maximum traction on difficult surfaces. For that, variable control instantly shifts torque to the axle with better grip thereby ensuring utmost stability and traction under all conditions.
The new X5 features a noteworthy double wishbone front suspension, quite rare for this type of vehicle. It optimizes tire contact on the driving surface and makes the new X5 capable of reaching remarkably high cornering forces.
The rear suspension features the integral IV, BMW patented architecture, which also helps to give the X5 truly outstanding potential on the road. Through its layout, the rear suspension is better able to split the driving and shock-absorbing functions. The suspension sub-frame, as well as no less than four other control arms, take up drive and dynamic forces fed into the suspension. Finally, soft swing mounts on the rear suspension sub-frame, optimize the longitudinal travel of the wheel guidance elements and enhance ride comfort substantially.
Such a fast vehicle must posses an equivalent braking system. The new BMW X5 features in standard Automatic Differential Brake, a highly sophisticated electronic system that allows the driver to be in control by robotically applying the brakes on a wheel about to lose grip.
BMW’s DSC (electronic stability control) system further enhances safety through different additional functions. The Brake Fade Compensation system works by counteracting any decrease in brake power at extremely high temperatures. That is achieved by increasing brake forces accordingly (anti-fading support). Brake Standby is a system that provides a moderate build-up of brake forces for emergency situations that may require sudden deceleration. Brake Drying, is an already familiar system to BMW drivers, that optimizes the performance of the brakes in the wet. The parking brake of the new BMW X5 uses both electro-mechanical and hydraulic functions activated or released at the touch of a button.
The steering is a rack-and-pinion but features variable transmission ratio to meet the requirements of different driving situations at all times. The new steering keeps the driver safely in control of his vehicle even at higher speeds by offering an outstanding directional stability. On the other hand, in bends the driver will receive a more direct steering response with the steering ratio geared to the steering angle which provides a dynamic style of driving.
The E70 BMW X5 is the first vehicle in its class to offer Active Steering as an option. This advanced system developed by BMW offers the adequate steering ratio at all speeds. Up to a speed of 55 mph the steering behavior is more direct and meets the requirements of sporting and active driving. Another noteworthy thing is that the driver only has to turn the steering wheel twice from lock to lock. At higher speeds, the Active Steering transmission is more indirect, enhancing the directional stability of the vehicle and, accordingly, driving comfort.
Tires & wheels
The new X5 is the first automobile in its class to feature runflat tires standard. These tires are the fourth generation of runflats. Runflat tires allow the driver to keep on driving even after a complete loss of tire pressure. The car can continue up to 90 miles at a speed up to 50 mph even with the vehicle fully loaded.
Both BMW X5 models come standard with 18-inch light-alloy wheels with 255/55 all-season tires. The optional sports package offers larger 19-inch light-alloy wheels with all-season tires. For the X5 4.8is with Sport Package, 20 inch wheels with 275/40 front and 315/35 rear performance runflat tires may be ordered.
Another important feature of the wheels is the standard Tire Pressure Monitor which warns the driver of a gradual loss of air pressure. This system registers any deviation from normal pressure by continuously monitoring the tires. A graphic symbol in the dashboard display informs the driver whenever the system detects a loss of pressure.
The interior of the new BMW X5 offers a higher driving seating position and an arrangement of the driver-oriented instrument panel to convey the impression of uninhibited control. All the functions and the displays in the comfort zone in the middle of the dashboard are clear and easy-to-read. The main Display for the BMW iDrive operating system is located on the instrument panel at the same level as the circular instruments putting it straight in the line of vision of both the driver and front passenger.
Stylish design and pleasant transitions extending into the door linings give the instrument board powerful and elegant finesse all in one. Interacting with the load-bearing element of the center console and extending down to the bottom, the instrument panel appears to be hovering freely in space.
Apart from the classy design, high-quality materials, refined color combinations, comfortable seats and padded armrests ensure a truly stylish ambience. The munificent space available, the wide range of storage boxes and compartments, and premium finish all reflect the typical character of an outstanding and versatile BMW.
There are two leatherette upholsteries available for the X5. The leather alternatives include four Nevada leathers, with two perforated leather for the available ventilated seat package. There are also other three Napa leather options available for both models. In all there are four trims offered for the X5 3.0si and three for the X5 4.8i.
In order to properly operate and mastermind the navigation, entertainment and communication functions, the new BMW X5 features BMW’s trendsetting iDrive control and operation concept. By pushing, turning and pressing the iDrive control on the center console comfort and communication settings are adjusted. The selected functions and the adjustment options are presented on the Control Display.
The new monitor features an auto-dimming function, which automatically adjusts brightness to ambient light conditions It is positioned in perfect ergonomic arrangement in the instrument panel an enables the driver to read the information displayed at any time without turning his or her head while keeping eyes squarely on the road.
The new automatic gear-box is controlled by a new electronic gear selector featured for the first time on the new BMW X5. The new electronic gearshift uses drive-by-wire technology and moves back to its starting position after each use.
The parking position, is activated by pressing the “P” button on the top of the selector lever. Then, to manually select a drive gear, all the driver has to do is press the selector lever to the left and is now able to shift gears sequentially by hand. To shift up the selector most be pulled and to shift down, it must be pushed forward. A display in the selector lever itself and in the instrument cluster shows which gear is currently engaged.
A very usefull addition for the BMW X5 is the option of third row seats. This offers adequate space for two more passengers comfortably accommodating occupants up to approximately 5´ 6´´ in height.
These two rear seats come complete with three-point inertia-reel seat belts and adjustable headrests. In order to ensure convenient access to this third row of seats, the second row can be moved forward with their backrests upright, while grab recesses in the inner lining on the C-pillars help to ensure easy access.
To optimize passive safety, the design and construction engineers focused from the start in developing a maximum stability passenger cell. The forces acting on the vehicle in the event of an accident pass via the engine supports and chassis along various load paths, preventing extreme loads on any individual bearing structures.
The new BMW X5 provide not only frontal and hip/thorax airbags, but also curtain Head Protection System as standard features. These airbags inflate out of the A-pillar covers and roof lining to help protect the occupants in the first two rows.
Another safety feature are the three-point inertia-reel belts on all seats. These restraints come with belt force limiters. The front seats also have belt latch tensioners. And last but certainly not least, ISOFIX child seat fastenings are standard on the second row of seats.
In the event of an imminent rollover, rollover sensors in the new BMW X5 are linked with DSC in order to make active the curtain airbags and belt latch tensioners when needed. To help prevent collisions from the rear, the new BMW X5, like BMW’s other models, is equipped with two-stage adaptive brake lights. Whenever the driver applies the brakes particularly hard, this enlarges the size of the lighted area, creating a clear signal for motorists following from behind to brake hard as well.
The new BMW X5 will be covered by BMW’s Limited Warranty, which includes:
· New-vehicle warranty – 4-year/50,000-mile coverage of the vehicle.
- Rust-perforation warranty – 12-year/unlimited-mileage coverage.
TopSpeed artists tuning recommendation
The E70 X5 turned out to be a very good looking car, with a very well balanced design between sporty character and elegance. We tried by our tuning to increase the athletic part of the car without loosing too much of the elegance. We replaced the front bumper with a new more aerodynamic one featuring large air intakes and a more on-road feel. We took the wheels up to Gargantua sizes using 24” rims with the design inspired by those shoed by the BMW X5 LM prototype. The body is painted in two tones, lighter and a darker tint of the same color, to gain some contrast but in a subtle manner. The engine hood is made from carbon-fiber to save some more weight. Best served while it’s hot!