Buying an E53 BMW X5 is always a bit of a gamble. While great looking and lovely to drive, the E53 X5 was always a bit of a reliability nightmare, especially if you bought the V8. So that’s exactly what Carwow’s Mat Watson did. He drive an E53 X5 with the 4.4-liter V8 engine for a recent video and liked it so much that he decided to buy one, despite its reputation for poor reliability.
In this video, Watson decided to take his new X5 to a BMW specialist shop, to have them give his car a once over to see just how reliable it’s been over its many years. Watson and a longtime BMW specialist go through the entire car; its exterior, its interior, its mechanical components, and they even go for a drive. Then, after they check everything over, and each section gets a score out of ten, Watson gets an estimate of what it would cost to make it perfect.
Starting with the outside, the Watson’s X5 isn’t actually in bad shape, considering it’s 20 years old and he only paid £2,700 for it. Sure, there are some paint issues, like the rear bumper that looks like it was repainted with spray paint, but it’s mostly pretty good. And it has shockingly little rust, if any at all, which is a common problem for E53s.
The inside was also in good shape, with no major issues to speak of. It wasn’t perfect, of course, but for a car of its age and with 130,000 miles, it’s in damn good shape inside. The only annoyance was the aftermarket speaker that someone screwed into the footwell. Hopefully Watson took that out. Aside from that, though, everything was in order and it even has a full-size spare wheel with the cleverest spare wheel removal assist I’ve ever seen. I never knew E53s had that and it’s genius.
Mechanically, it wasn’t perfect, though. None of its issues were frightening but it certainly needed some work. Those issues were also confirmed by the test drive they took together. After it was all looked over, the specialist gave Watson a price, one that was shockingly high but potentially still worth doing. If you own an E53 X5, or are thinking of buying one, check this video out because it can teach you what goes wrong and how much it will cost to fix, giving you the best information possible.