The 2011 BMW X5 is a class-leading luxury crossover SUV when it comes to driving prowess and performance. Toss in its comfortable cabin, luxurious and high-tech features, powerful yet fuel-efficient engines, and you've once again got a vehicle with plenty of appeal for those shopping in this upscale segment.
And this year the X5 gets a new 300-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder as the base engine, while V8 models now get the 7-Series' 4.4-liter twin-turbo. Also new is a more fuel-efficient standard 8-speed automatic transmission that's offered on all models except the diesel xDrive35d, as well as some minor styling revisions and a larger iDrive display screen.
Trims, Standard Features And Options:
The 2011 BMW X5 is classified as a midsize luxury crossover SUV with standard five-passenger seating and an optional third-row that can accommodate two more "smallish" passengers. It's offered in a choice of five trims: xDrive35i, xDrive35d, xDrive35i Premium, xDrive35i Sport Activity and xDrive50i. (A separate article will provide an overview of the high-performance X5 M model).
Standard features on the xDrive35i include leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, cruise control, 10-way power front seats, 18-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic and adaptive xenon headlights, foglights, automatic wipers, a tilt/-telescoping steering wheel and a 12-speaker audio system with a CD player, HD radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
The xDrive35d, the diesel version of the X5, is equipped the same, but also gets a standard panoramic sunroof as well as a longer list of available options.
The xDrive35i Premium then ups the 35d's features with leather upholstery, roof rails, 19-inch wheels, a power-adjustable steering wheel, privacy glass and an iPod/USB audio interface (all of these features are available options on the xDrive35d).
The xDrive35i Sport Activity adds a higher top speed, an upgraded suspension, a thicker steering wheel, sport seats, darker exterior trim and 20-inch wheels.
The Sport Activity's features above are optional on the xDrive50i, which also comes with a V8 engine and an upgraded 16-speaker audio system, but reverts back to the 18-inch wheels.
Also available on the xDrive35i is a Convenience package which adds a panoramic sunroof, Bluetooth, BMW Assist telematics and auto-dimming mirrors. Stand-alone options for the 35i include navigation, satellite radio, heated front seats and an iPod interface.
These and many other options are offered on the higher trim models either grouped into packages or as stand-alones, including a rear entertainment system, sideview cameras, a multiview parking camera, a power tailgate, active steering, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, four-zone climate control, parking sensors, an adaptive suspension, a third-row seat, heated rear seats, 14-way "multicontour" front seats, automatic high beams, Comfort Access keyless entry, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, satellite radio and the 16-speaker premium audio system.
There's also an M Sport package offered on both the xDrive35i Sport Activity and xDrive50i that includes the adaptive suspension, unique 20-inch wheels, a body kit, parking sensors and an M steering wheel.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
All 2011 BMW X5s are all-wheel drive (called xDrive), while there is a choice of three engines. Powering the xDrive35i is the 3.0-liter inline-6 turbocharged engine that's good for 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. The new 8-speed automatic transmission comes standard with this engine as well as on the xDrive50i. BMW's performance testing has clocked the 35i from a standstill to 60 mph in an impressive 6.4 seconds. Not only is this faster than the old V8 engine, but its EPA-estimated gas mileage of 17 mpg city and 25 mpg on the highway is better than the previous six-cylinder.
Under the hood of the X5 xDrive50i is the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 that produces 400 horsepower and a healthy 450 lb-ft of torque. It covers the same 0 - 60 mph challenge in just a scant 5.3 seconds. Its EPA-rated at 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.
Powering the X5 xDrive35d is a 3.0-liter inline-6 turbodiesel that generates 265 horsepower and a robust 425 lb-ft of torque. Coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission, its been timed in the 0 to 60 run in 7.2 seconds. The gas mileage for this diesel is 19 city and 26 highway.
Standard safety features on all 2011 BMW X5 models include stability control, a rollover sensor, antilock brakes (ABS), brake drying and standby features, front side airbags and first- and second-row side curtain airbags.
In government crash testing, the X5 earned a perfect five out of five stars in side-impact front and rear side protection. It also earned five stars for frontal-impact driver protection and four stars for frontal-impact passenger protection.
The X5's cabin is well-designed, refined and pampering, consisting of high quality materials and solidly constructed. The seating is comfortable and supportive both front and rear (generally), while the front seats are particularly versatile due to a wide range of adjustments (even moreso with the optional comfort seats). And the new iDrive system, introduced in last year's model, is much more user-friendly and intuitive.
On the downside, however, the second-row seats are mounted fairly low, forcing the knees upward in a more uncomfortable position for taller passengers, although providing plenty of headroom. In addition, the optional third row is really only suitable for children. Cargo capacity is about average, coming in at 75 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
When it comes to handling and performance, the 2011 BMW X5 sits atop its class. Whether cruising down the highway or traveling back twisty roads, the X5 is at its best. While there are some rivals with better off-road credentials, the X5 is blessed with BMW's exemplary handling abilities that are hard to match in the SUV market.
Nomatter the engine, performance is strong and confident, while wind and road noise remains impressively insulated. Potential buyers should be aware, however, that the X5's superior athleticism is in no small part due to its stiffer suspension, which results in a firmer ride. In addition, while the vehicle's heftiness normally lends to added precision on the road, it can also cause somewhat heavy steering at very low speeds (such as in parking lots).
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the best price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try Bank Repo And Government Auction Possibilities in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them at no cost in your own area.
2011 BMW X5 SUV:
xDrive35i, AWD: list price: $45,800, invoice price: $42,135
xDrive35d, AWD: list price: $51,300, invoice price: $47,195
xDrive35i Premium, AWD: list price: $51,600, invoice price: $47,470
xDrive35i Sport Activity, AWD: list price: $54,100, invoice price: $49,770
xDrive50i, AWD: list price: $58,400, invoice price: $53,730