2009 BMW X5 - Car Review

by under Review on 10 Dec 2009 05:28:10 PM10 Dec 2009
2009 BMW X5
Price Range
$104,900 - $212,900
Fuel Consumption
2.3L - 12.5L/100km


The Market Leader For Good Reason

BMW’s reputation for high performance coupes, sports cars and luxury sedans is well known, but the German marque is justifiably proud of its success in the world’s luxury SUV markets.

Here, the BMW X5, X3 and X6 account for more than one in four vehicles sold in that segment. Rivals Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Jeep, Land Rover, Porsche, Volkswagen, Lexus and Volvo combined fight for the remaining 75 per cent of sales.

Car Showroom spent a memorable week behind the wheel of the tremendous twin-turbocharged diesel X5xDrive35d and concluded this is indeed a remarkable vehicle.

What You Get

Without doubt, the X5xDrive35d is one of the world’s best.

While the first generation - launched 10 years ago - copped some flack for its small luggage space, the new, larger X5 lineup corrected that, tossed in some staggering new technology and luxury features..

2009 BMW X5

Entry to the X5 family is the 3.0-litre petrol, you can also have an X5 powered by a single turbocharged six cylinder diesel, the twin-turbo diesel we tested or the xDrive48i with V8 petrol power.

Under The Hood

The twin-turbo diesel is clearly a ‘wow’ factor with a Capital ‘W’.

This 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder masterpiece produces a whopping 210kW of power and 580Nm of torque. BMW’s engine brilliance delivers an ingenious interface between the two different size and specification turbochargers to get them working in tandem for exceptional performance right across the range from standing starts to brisk highway acceleration.

Drive is to all four wheels (40-60 front-rear) via a six-speed automatic transmission.

The twin-turbo model whips through zero to 100 km/h in just 7.2 seconds (8.1 seconds for the single-turbo model).

BMW says the combined cycle fuel economy for the twin-turbo X5 is 8.8l/100kms (8.7l/100kms for the single turbo version).

The Interior

The xDrive35d we tested was fitted with BMW’s M Sport package which adds a memory function for the drivers’ seat, a superb M leather-covered steering wheel, brushed aluminium trim finishes and an anthracite roof lining.

2009 BMW X5

The glorious leather seats are beautifully sculptured and combine with the electronically –adjustable steering wheel to deliver an excellent driving position.

A third row of seats can be ordered, taking the X5 to a seven-seater.

In five-seat mode as we tested, the trunk offers a handy 620 litres of capacity with the rear seats in place, up to 1,750 litres with the second row folded.

Instrumentation is BMW’s high standard, the center console storage bin has a handy split opening and a useful box at the rear for rear-seat passengers.

2009 BMW X5

The CD audio system includes a full color monitor for the navigation system and rear-view camera, voice recognition and is Bluetooh compatible.

Exterior & Styling

Glorious as standard, the M Sport package adds side skirts, colour-coded door protection strips and wider wheel arches to accommodate the 19-inch alloy wheels and this really gives the X5 a stunning on-road stance.

The new front grille included in the latest generation models is certainly an enhancement.

2009 BMW X5

4,854mm long, 1,933mm wide and 1,766mm high, the X5 has grown from the first generation design but is still easy to drive and park.

On The Road

As you would expect, the xDrive35D is simply stunning on the road.

The new electronic gear selector (push button for park) snicks into gear like a sports car. Shift times have been reduced with this new transmission and the X5 accelerates rapidly.

Handling is superb with BMW’s AdaptiveDrive anti-roll suspension keeping the X5 flat even at extreme cornering speeds. This system combines with BMW’s Active Steering and is governed by new FlexRay high-speed data transmission…all very high tech (just like Formula One).

Ride is typically European – a little stiffer than Japanese and American SUVs.

There’s ABS anti-lock brakes (with BMW’s Dry Braking Function to maximize stopping in wet conditions), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), Cornering Braking Control (CBC) and the Automatic Differential Brake (ADB).

2009 BMW X5

In addition there is Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Traction Control which alters the level at which it operates to allow some wheel slip in sand or snow (necessary to keep you moving).

Rear seat accommodation is spacious and comfortable (overcoming a criticism of the first X5s).


The enhanced iDrive control system for navigation, audio, climate control etc is faster and the eight ‘favorite’ buttons for preferred radio stations and destinations is a step forward.

While some members of the Car Showroom team were still confused, those of us familiar with the system maintain it’s a clever solution. Once you’re a BMW owner, familiarity with the system makes it straight-forward and (like the similar Lexus system) it’s certainly preferable to the multitude of buttons and dials found on some modern cars.


In our experience, the X5 xDrive35d mounts a compelling argument to be our favorite high performance diesel SUV. We love the V10 TDI Touareg too – especially the R50 – but the X5 xDrive35d has almost the same levels of technology and performance for less dollars.

The Competition

With a sticker of $105,490*, the X5 xDrive35d is more expensive than Volkswagen’s V6 TDI Touareg but more than $15K below the V10 model and a lot cheaper than the stunning R50 Touareg.

German rival Mercedes-Benz has the ML320CDI priced at $87,500* but it’s not a fair comparison for engine performance or vehicle specs. Of course there is the petrol-powered ML500V8 but it is a really a competitor for BMW’s xDrive48i.

You should also look closely at two Range Rover Sport models – the TDV6 ($90,900*) and the TDV8 ($118,900*).


Beautiful design and interior; brilliant performance, ride/handling; stunning technology; value-for-money


For some the ride may be too sporty (stiff)

Keep Reading

Share Your Thoughts On BMW X5