The German auto manufacturer, BMW, has always been known for making some of the most beautiful luxury cars in the world. The X5 is their first foray into the lucrative SUV market. Though technically, it’s a midsize luxury crossover utility vehicle BMW branded it as a Sport Activity Vehicle, in a bid to emphasize its adaptability to roads despite its larger heft. The X5 was a pioneer of sorts, both helping herald the shift from exclusively full-bodied SUVs to the more versatile crossover platform, as well as being the first adapter of the unibody chassis platform.
1999-2006: Stamping out its mark
The very first X5s benefitted much from the fact that they were developed during the period when BMW owned the Land Rover marquee, and subsequently adapted the technology that came with it. Specifically, the X5 utilized the Hill Descent and Off-Road Engine Management system—this gave it the right equipment to tackle rougher terrains. There were many engine options available for the X5, covering a wide range of tastes: gasoline inline-6s for the more fuel-conscious, V8s for those that wanted raw power, and a hefty diesel engine for the more adventurous drivers.
The X5 was well-received when it debuted, allowing BMW to segue into what might have been wholly unfamiliar territory. Part of the reason for this acceptance was the fact that it managed to be a muscular, classy ride without tipping to deep into the “bulky” category. By the time 2006 had begun, the X5 was slated for many improvements—promising that the best was yet to come.
2006-present: Making good better
In November of 2006, BMW rolled out an even better version of the X5. This enjoyed a host of technological advancements that included BMW’s iDrive system as a standard. This amazing piece of technology allowed for a comprehensive and intuitive way to control and manage entertainment, information, communication, as well as navigation functions of the X5. Seating capacity was bumped up to seven with the addition of a third row.
Engine power on the newer X5 was nothing to scoff at. The biggest improvements came with the addition of two truly powerful workhorses: a hefty 4.8-L V8 and a more subdued 4.4-L V8 Twin Turbo. Both of these engines gave the X5 even more power (355 and 555 horsepower, respectively) to cement its reputation as a capable off-roader.