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2004-2006 BMW X5 I6
AssemblySpartanburg, South Carolina, USA
ClassMid-size crossover SUV
Body style(s)5-door SUV
LayoutFront engine, four wheel drive
ManualsService Manual

The BMW X5 is a mid-size crossover SUV sold by BMW since 1999, making it BMW's first SUV. It features all-wheel drive and is available with a range of gasoline inline-6s and V8 engines. Diesels are an option for models sold outside of North America. All X5s worldwide are manufactured in Spartanburg, South Carolina. BMW described it as a Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV)) rather than an SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle), to emphasize its on-road ability despite its size. Like the Lexus RX 300 and Mercedes M-Class, the X5 heralded the shift from truck-based body-on-frame SUVs to sedan-based crossovers that would come to fruition in the late 2000s.

4 years later, the BMW X3 was released, which used the "X" prefix applied to the BMW SAVs which were derivatives of the BMW number-series models.


First generation
2000-2003 BMW X5 3.0si
Model year(s)1999-2006
PlatformBMW E53
Engine(s)3.0L 225 hp I6

4.4L 282 HP (00-03) 315 HP (04-06)  hp V8
4.6L 347 hp V8
4.8L 350 hp V8

3.0L 193/218 hp I6 Diesel
Transmission(s)5-speed automatic

5-speed manual
6-speed automatic

6-speed manual
Wheelbase111.0 in (2819 mm)
Length183.7 in (4666 mm)
Width73.7 in (1872 mm)
Height2000-03 V8: 67.2 in (1707 mm)
2001-03 V6: 67.5 in (1715 mm)
2004-06 V8: 69.0 in (1753 mm)
2004-06 V6: 69.3 in (1760 mm)
Fuel capacity93 L (25 US gal; 20 imp gal)
RelatedBMW 5 Series
BMW X-Coupe

The history of the X5 begins in the late 1990s, when Chris Bangle drew the first sketches from his Designworks studio in California. In many ways, the current car closely resembles these initial sketches.

The takeover of Rover proved to be very beneficial for BMW in the development of the X5. BMW engineers were able to look at and use Range Rover technology and parts in the development of the X5 - one such example would be hill-descent control. In many respects, the design of the X5 was influenced by its British counterpart; for example, the X5 got the two-piece tailgate straight from the Range Rover. Many parts and electronics were also taken directly from the E39 5 Series parts bin to save costs.

In contrast to the Range Rover models, the X5 was designed as a sporting road car: its off-road capabilities are significantly less than those of Land Rover. BMW reportedly worked hard to ensure it was referred to as an SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) instead of an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle).

Even though the X5 was a four-wheel drive vehicle, BMW chose from the start to route 62% of the engine's torque to the rear wheels, making it feel as close as possible to the company's rear-wheel drive sedans. Many reviewers commented on its road and track "feeling" chiefly because this is essentially a jacked up 5-series with 4WD. As a result, its offroad prowess is limited to grass and gravel only. Because it's missing essential offroad components that upmarket SUVs like as the Porsche Cayenne and the Range Rover offer--such as a low-range case, locking differentials, 8-inch+ adjustable suspensions, and a waterproof intake just to name a few.

The X5, along with the BMW Z4 roadster, BMW X6, and soon BMW X3 are currently manufactured in BMW's South Carolina plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

A one-off version known as the X5 LM was equipped with the M70 S70B56 V12 engine from the Le Mans winning BMW V12 LMR. It was used by Hans Joachim Stuck to set a lap record at the Nürburgring in 2000.

A sporty model called 4.6is was released in 2002, having both exterior and interior decorations, including 20-inch wheels. The 4.6L V8 engine was derived from the 4.4L V8, tuned by M GmbH. A sporty model called 4.8is was also released a few years later replacing the 4.6 engine by a 4.8 liter and was labeled "fastest SUV in the world".

2004 refresh

For 2004 the X5 was refreshed with new headlights, a few new exterior colors, a new four-wheel drive system and upgraded engines. The exterior touches gave the X5 a more aggressive look. The grilles were enlarged, as well as their actual slats being modified in a 'flame surfaced' style. In keeping with the E39 refresh of 2001, the 2004 X5's headlights got "angel-eyes" (rings or halos around all front headlamps). The taillights also received a refresh treatment similar to the BMW E39, and the exterior glass went from a "dotted" pattern to a cleaner "line" pattern. BMW invented a new four-wheel drive system dubbed xDrive shared both in the X5 and X3 in 2004. Instead of using the previous X5 system which consisted of power being split 62-38 (rear wheels-front wheels) and DSC to brake wheels losing traction, xDrive could vary power to the front or rear axles in milliseconds, transferring up to 100% of engine power to either axle, thus allowing the vehicle to regain traction quickly.

In terms of engines, the X5 got the new 4.4i engine which debuted in the 2002 7-Series; engine output rose from 290 to 315 hp (242 kW). Also from April production onwards, a new X5 4.8is was offered (see below), giving the driver 265 kW (355 hp) and making it the third fastest SUV.

Several new extras were added to the 2004 X5 such as:

  • Soft-boot close feature (the top part of the trunk pulls itself closed)
  • Trailer Stability Program (making it an ideal tow vehicle)
  • Adaptive Headlights (available only with xenon HID headlamps; these swivel with the direction of travel of the car)

Originally announced in the end of 2003 along with the rest of the X5 refresh, the X5 4.8is first started shipping in April 2004. In had a new larger 4.8 L engine (which replaced the 4.6 L engine), and was also later used in the 2005 750i/Li. It also included a slightly modified bodykit (parts of the bottom bumper became painted the body color), 20" wheels, and along with the 4.6is, were the only X5's ever to have a large chrome-tipped exhaust which hid the quad pipes.


Along with the rest of the BMW lineup (apart from the 7 E65 series), the X5 got Bluetooth kits straight from the factory if ordered with the Premium Package.

Specifically, the 4.4i & 4.8is models got xenon HID headlamps as standard equipment in the United States.


The X5 was not fitted with the new BMW R6 engine, which increased power for both the 2.5i and 3.0i versions of the 2006 X3 and Z4 significantly. It is rumored that BMW held back deploying the engine in the 2006 X5 so as not to waste development costs in retooling the assembly line, and to make way for a more dramatic unveiling of the all new 2007 BMW X5. In fact, 2006 also marks the end of the E53 X5 as well.


Second generation
2008 BMW X5 4.8
Model year(s)2007-present
PlatformBMW E70
Engine(s)3.0L 260 hp I6

3.0L 235 hp Diesel I6

4.8L 350 hp V8
Transmission(s)6-speed automatic with tiptronic
Wheelbase2933 mm (115.5 in)
Length4854 mm (191.1 in)
Width1933 mm (76.1 in)
Height2007-08: 1766 mm (69.5 in)
2009-: 1776 mm (69.9 in)

The BMW E70 automobile platform is the development name for the current X5 Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV). It replaced the BMW E53 in November 2006. The new generation BMW X5 is 60 mm (2.4 in) wider, 165 mm (6.5 in) longer; with a 110 mm (4.3 in) longer wheelbase, but remains at the height of the previous generation X5 at 1766 mm (69.5 in). It is manufactured alongside the new, 2008 BMW X6 at BMW's Spartanburg, South Carolina plant in the USA. The xDrive AWD system updates previewed in the facelifted X3 have continued with further detail improvements for the E70. It uses a double wishbone suspension at the front.[1]

The E70 features many new technological advancements for this class as standard equipment including BMW's iDrive system, electronic 'joystick' gearshift (no mechanical connection to the gearbox to win space in the console), LED taillamps, and options such as head-up display HUD, active steering, active damping, and Dynamic Drive which uses active anti-roll bars which use a hydraulic servo in the middle to actively counteract body roll.[1]

The interior of the new, larger, X5 is completely new. It has a large center-mounted display screen and the simplified iDrive, a man-machine interface system also found in the rest of the BMW model range. The E70 further incorporates many comfort options such as a glass panorama-roof, and, for the first time in a BMW, an optional third row seat which has increased the seating capacity in E70 to 7 passengers, addressing criticism of the E53 model which had been regarded as being slightly too small for this market segment.

The E70 is also the first production vehicle to use FlexRay, a new extremely fast electrical bus system; it is only used for the control of the chassis damping system. The new 'joy-stick'-style electronic space-saving shifter has since been adopted in the new 2008 BMW 5 Series.

There was disappointment that neither the BMW night-vision system nor the radar-controlled cruise-control were offered at job-1.

The E70 has also incorporated two new engines to the X5 lineup. BMW has begun a shift of replacing engines from the 2006 7-Series. The E70 will adopt the powertrains that were launched with the X6 coming in spring 2008.

Petrol models currently include:

  • X5 3.0si 3.0 L 272 hp (200 kW) N52B30 inline-6 62 mph (100 km/h) in 8.0 sec
  • X5 4.8i 4.8 L 355 hp (261 kW) N62B48 V8 62 mph (100 km/h) in 6.5 sec

Diesel models include:

  • X5 3.0d 3.0 L 235 hp (173 kW) M57TUD30 inline-6 62mph (100 km/h) in 8.1sec
  • X5 3.0sd 3.0 L 286 hp (210 kW) M57TUD30 inline-6 62mph (100 km/h) in 7.0sec

A 3.0sd model based on the award-winning M57 3.0 liter twin turbo diesel engine has been available outside the USA since autumn 2007. A 50-State Diesel version of this power unit will form the basis of BMW's late 2008 diesel introduction into the USA as it seeks to reduce fuel consumption of this large (for BMW) SUV as fuel prices rise, while offering an attractive performance-economy compromise. It is contended by BMW and Mercedes Benz that in most (i.e. extra-urban) conditions, such modern diesel engines will offer better mileage than full-hybrid vehicles in the same vehicle weight/performance category.

On November 15, 2007, the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) announced that the current X5 and X3 models were the top safety picks for all mid-size SUV models.

X5 Security

An X5 variant with safety glass, heavy-duty material and ballistics-resistant steel.[2] debuted at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show.[3]


  • Winner Australia's Best Luxury Four Wheel Drive in 2001.
  • Winner Australia's Best Luxury Four Wheel Drive in 2002.
  • Winner Top Safety Pick 2008 by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

See also


External links