Monday, April 03, 2006

BMW X5 4x4 review

BMW X5 4x4 review

The performance and handling of a BMW saloon within a roomy but reasonably compact 4x4 package. Quite capable in the mud, too.

Ride is unrelentingly choppy and the fit and finish of the interior are way below usual BMW standards. Petrol engines are big, thirsty and costly to run.


In petrol you can choose between a 2.0-, 2.5- or 3.0-litre unit; the larger has an auto gearbox as standard. The 3.0 gives the X3 decent pace and towing strength, but needs working hard off the motorway and extracts a heavy toll on economy. There is a cheaper and more frugal 2.0 diesel, and a new 3.0 diesel.

Ride & handling
Choose from standard or sports suspension. The latter stiffens the car, but it’s not a set-up we’d recommend because even in standard form the ride is firm and fidgety. The handling, on the other hand, is so crisp and free of normal 4x4 roll that you’re largely unaware you’re in an off-roader.

Apart from a more throaty engine note at high revs, often necessary to maintain pace away from motorways, the X3 is a haven of peace. The engine and transmission are as smooth as in an executive saloon, and road and wind noise are negligible at speed.


Buying & owning
Not only is the X3 expensive to buy; it will also be expensive to run in petrol form due to its high fuel consumption. Both petrol models sit in the top tax bracket as a company car, too. The good news is that its desirability will keep resale values high and therefore leasing rates relatively low.

Quality & reliability
The X3 is the first BMW not built in a BMW factory, and it is one of the most shoddy we can recall. While we have no fears about it holding together or running reliably, we are disappointed by the quality of the plastics (some of the worst examples are the dash, door handles and seat frames), and the way they fit together.

Safety & security
There’s an impressive list of both active and passive safety equipment, with electronics to prevent skids or brake lock-up, and to keep you moving if you venture off road or need to tow. In our 2005 security tests we couldn’t break into the X3.


Behind the wheel
You get the high-level driving position that’s part of the attraction of a 4x4, and a wide range of seat and wheel adjustment in a spacious cabin. However, visibility when cornering or reversing is badly obstructed by the screen pillars and the height of the tailgate. The dash is tidy, but many of the switches are confusingly alike.

Space & practicality
There’s so much room in the back of the X3 that it makes the bigger X5 seem unnecessary, especially as the smaller car also manages to have a bigger boot. However, the big transmission tunnel running down the spine of the car leaves no foot space for a third rear passenger. Disappointingly, the rear seats don’t fold totally flat when carrying oversize loads.

The X3 comes with a premium equipment package – alloy wheels, a sophisticated new four-wheel-drive and hill descent control system, climate control and a CD player – but it also comes at a premium price. The optional Sport pack adds bigger wheels, special seats, revised suspension settings and tyres with a higher speed rating.

BMW X5 4x4 specifications

  • Make: BMW
  • Model: X5
  • Variant: 4.8is steptronic
  • Price R 759,000
  • Release Date 2004-06

Styling and Look

  • Rear Spoiler yes
  • Body Coloured Mirrors yes
  • Metallic Paint option
  • Leather yes
  • Body Style station wagon
  • Body Coloured Bumpers yes


  • Fuel Supply electronic fuel injection
  • Fuel Type unleaded
  • Fuel Consumpsion - Urban 0
  • Quarter Mile Sprint 0
  • Towing Capacity (KG) 2300
  • Auto Traction Control yes
  • Fuel Capacity 85
  • Top Speed Final 246
  • Torque 500nm@3500
  • Consumption Annual Average 17.7
  • Power Output 265kw@6000
  • Limited Slip Diff no
  • Turning Circle (Meters) 12.1
  • Acceleration 0-100 Final 6.1
  • Fuel Consumpsion - Highway 0
  • Turns Lock to Lock 0

Wheels, Brakes and Steering

  • Alloy Wheels yes
  • Steering Type rack and pinion power assisted
  • Handbreak Position between front seats
  • Brake Hydrolics abs,cbc,dbc,asc-x,dsc,adb-x,hdc
  • Front Track 1576
  • Front Suspension tie-bar, double joint spring-strut axle, anti-roll bar
  • Tyre Size - Front 275/40 r20 w
  • Tyre Size - Rear 315/35 r20 w
  • Front Brakes 356mm ventilated discs
  • Rim Size - Rear 10.5j
  • Rear Brakes 324mm discs
  • Rear Suspension integral axle, multi-dimensional, self-levelling, anti-roll bar
  • Steering Column Height / Rake Adjust electric, memory
  • Full Time 4x4 yes
  • ABS yes
  • Rim Size - Front 9,5j
  • Drive Wheels all
  • Rear Track 1576
  • Wheel Base 2820
  • Number of Wheels Driven 4
  • Steering Column Reach Adjust electric, memory

Engine and Gearbox

  • Capacity 4799
  • Compression Ratio 10.5:1
  • Hybrid / Clutchless yes
  • Ignition Type electronic
  • Manual / Automatic automatic
  • Valve Gear dohc 4 valves per cylinder
  • Bore / Stroke 88.3x93.0
  • Cylinders 8
  • Gearbox Details 6 speed automatic with sequential manual mode
  • Aspiration natural
  • Engine Layout longitudinal v 8
  • Number of Gears 6

Peripherals and Accesories

  • Automatic Air conditioner yes
  • Auto Headlamps option
  • Auto Windscreen Wipers option
  • Electric Seat Adj Detail 8-way driver memory
  • Electric Seat Adjustment yes
  • Climate Control yes
  • Electric Windows yes
  • Remote Electric Mirror Memory yes
  • Park Distance Control - Front option
  • Sliding Rear Window (LDV) n/a
  • Central Locking remote
  • Code Start yes
  • On Board Computer yes
  • Rear Screen Demister yes
  • Remote Side Mirrors Electric electric
  • Electric Window Detail all
  • Electric Window One-Touch all
  • Fog Lamps - Front yes
  • Headrests - Front active
  • Multi Function Steering Wheel yes
  • Park Distance Control - Back option
  • CD Shuttle yes
  • Rear Seat Split ?
  • Remote Fuel Cap Release yes
  • Tinted Side Windows yes
  • Xenon Headlamps yes
  • Auto Dip Mirrors interior std, exterior option
  • Electric Seat Memory driver
  • Cruise Control yes
  • Cup Holders yes
  • Fog Lamps - Rear yes
  • Headrests - Rear yes
  • Hands-Free Phone Pre-Wiring yes
  • Radio And / Or Tape yes
  • Remote Side Mirrors yes
  • Tape no
  • Number of Sliding Roofs 1
  • Air conditioner yes
  • CD Player yes
  • Rev Counter yes
  • Heated Seats option
  • Keyless Entry yes
  • Hands-Free Phone option
  • Sliding Roof electric slide/tilt
  • Satelite Navigation option
  • Radio yes
  • Rear Screen Wiper yes
  • Remote Boot Opener yes
  • Tinted Windscreen yes

4x4 Specific

  • Diff Lock auto
  • Altimeter no
  • Decent Control yes
  • Diff Lock Position auto
  • Self Leveling Suspension yes
  • Approach Angle 30
  • Compass option
  • Compass Detail opt.satnav
  • Departure Angle 31
  • Ramp Angle (Break Over) 164
  • Ride Height Control option
  • Gradient (Incline) 32
  • Low Range no
  • Rollover Angle (Slant) 48
  • Wading Depth 500

Security and Safety

  • Air Bag - Number 8
  • Air Bag - Side yes
  • Gearlock no
  • Hi Level Brake Light yes
  • Immobiliser yes
  • Security System yes
  • Side Impact Protection yes
  • Air Bag - Detail intelligent front driver and passenger, front + rear side, front+rear head
  • Roadside Assistance Time 60
  • Alarm yes
  • Impact Tensioning Seat Belts front
  • Air Bag - Driver yes
  • Air Bag - Passenger yes
  • Incline Meter no
  • Power Steering yes
  • Maintenance and Warranty
  • Maintenance Distance 100000
  • Maintenance Plan Time 60
  • Maintenance / Service Plan m
  • Warranty 2 year unlimited km, 5 year / 100000 km motorplan, 5 year on-call
  • Oil Change Intervals 15000 km
  • Warranty Distance 0
  • Maintenance Exclusions
  • Service Intervals 30000 km
  • Warranty Period 24
  • Service Indicator yes
  • Dimensions and Weight
  • Ground Clearance 182
  • Boot Capacity 465
  • Load 1550
  • Height 1707
  • Width 1872
  • Lenght 4667
  • Gross Laden Mass 2700
  • Licencing Mass 2275


  • Wipers yes
  • Stability yes
  • Seats 5
  • Class l
  • Doors 5
  • Type recreational


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