News Column

BMW X5 3.0si

August 2, 2007

Ralph Gray

BMW X5 3.0si

The BMW X5 3.0si is almost one of BMW's Ultimate Driving Machines. All it needs is 4.8i in its name instead of 3.0si.

That's the difference between a six-cylinder X5 and a V-8 X5. So the tested X5 3.0si is a penultimate driving machine.

That makes it very good, indeed. The X5 is one of the very few sports utility vehicles that actually know its way around a curve. It finds the right approach and the X5 zips around.

Drivers don't have to negotiate with the hard turns. There's a fair amount of lean but it's well controlled. Both seats and suspension are firm with the ride less on the athletic side than previous models.

A BMW, of course, never, ever wallows. A lot of that comes from BMW's xDrive, an all-wheel drive and traction system.

Driving power always goes to the rear wheels and most of the time to all four wheels. xDrive also thinks. If the system senses oversteer (too much) it diverts power to the front wheels. When in excessive understeer (the desire to go straight in curves) the front wheels get nothing.

The tested X5 lacked the sport package, which includes active steering and active roll stabilization. It also was bereft of the 4.8L V-8 and its 350 horsepower. That zooms the X5 to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds.

The penultimate 3L inline six cylinder comes with 260 horsepower. It gets to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, a difference of a mere 1.4 seconds. The 3L is BMW's newest six with an increase of 35 horsepower. It's also higher revving. Significantly, the fuel economy is up, too -- plus 1 in the city to 17 and up 2 highway to 23. The V-8 lops 2 mpg from both.

The two engines drive the wheels through a faultless six-speed automatic transmission.

BMW X5 3.0si BMW X5 3.0si

•Engines: 3.0L I-6; 4.8L V-8

•Dimensions: 115.5" wheelbase; 191.1" length

•Base price: $45,900; As tested $55,175

•Fuel economy: 17/23 mpg

Performance is what BMWs are all about and that's why BMW calls its sports utility vehicles SAVs -- Sports Activity Vehicles. The 2007 X5 is mid-sized but has grown. Wheelbase is up 4.5 inches to 115.5 inches and length up 7.4 inches to 191.1. It's wider. Seven-passenger seating is optional.

The traditional BMW twin grille front end is maintained with a few twists. Headlights are adaptive, steering around curves. Foglights project an angled beam at low speeds and hard turnings. And there are luminous rings around all four headlights that function as parking lights and daytime running lights.

Then there's the "BMW Assist Concierge" plan. Its services range from travel planning to dinner reservations, shopping assistance and event tickets.

Now, that's ultimate.

Source:, Copyright (c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

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