MotorTrend First Drive: 2011 BMW X5 xDrive35i

BMW X5 | September 17th, 2010 by 0
2011 BMW X5 xdrive35i rear three quarters

BMW’s top seller SAV, the X5, went through an extensive review with the folks over at MotorTrend. As we reported in our own test drive …

BMW’s top seller SAV, the X5, went through an extensive review with the folks over at MotorTrend. As we reported in our own test drive back in April, the new X5 received a mild facelift for 2011.

The exterior changes are subtle to the “regular eye”. The 2011 X5 features full LED corona rings that serves as daylight runners as well. Subtle, but still noticeable is the new position of the fog lamps that have now been placed higher on the bumper to allow better light emitting when off-roading, or in darker conditions. And to continue following the lead of all new BMWs, the rear taillights are now available with two banks of LEDs, L-Shaped as seen in the other models.

The most important changes though can be found under the hood where the engines from the X6 SAC make a lateral move onto the X5 family. The times of naturally aspirated gasoline engines are long gone and turbocharged powerplants are back in business. The X5 comes to the North American market with two offerings, a choice between the 300 horsepower twin-scroll turbocharged model or a 400 horsepower twin-turbo V8.

2011 BMW X5 xdrive35i front end 655x409

Without any further ado, let’s have a look at their review.

No matter how good BMW makes the X5-and, as we’ll explain in a second, the 2011 model is better than ever — some people will never be able to get past one little point. Wouldn’t you rather have a 5 Series wagon? The answer, as the market has born out, is a resounding Nein! Americans seem to want absolutely nothing to do with a proper station wagon.

2011 BMW X5 xdrive35i rear three quarters 655x409

Like everyone’s always said about the X5, for such a big, heavy vehicle, the handling’s pretty great, and seems to just keep getting better as the years roll on. Braking from 60 mph takes place in a very good 113 feet, and it clobbered our 200-foot figure eight in 26.3 seconds. Back to the Cadillac for comparison: The SRX took a lengthy 128 feet to stop from 60 mph and nearly a full second longer to scoot around the figure eight. Again, the Cadillac’s a six-footer lighter.

So yeah, the X5 xDrive35i is quite the athlete. And while the more potent xDrive50i (with its 407 hp, 450 lb-ft of torque motor) might be faster in a straight line, the six-cylinder X5 feels more balanced, more finely tuned. It’s the variant to get (unless you crave the slower, fewer-trips-to-the-gas-station, though more-expensive, low-rpm thrills of the diesel xDrive35d). Remember, you also get a fair amount of passenger room and BMW’s elegant, if not a touch Scandinavian, take on modern luxury appointments. Not bad at all, especially considering you can’t have the wagon.

Read full review at MotorTrend