2007 X5 New Car Test Drive
SUVs began life as trucks. Trucks are bouncy and push a lot of air, which requires a lot of gas, and they're hard to maneuver. No fun. So SUV makers with sports car genetics, such as BMW and Porsche, have tried to marry fun driving with truck utility.
The BMW X5 is a V8-powered SUV aimed to provide the driving fun of a sport sedan. A mid-size luxury SUV, the first X5 was introduced for the 2000 model year. It was a trim-looking, tightly handling, tall-riding wagon. We drove this model with its 4.4-liter engine several thousand miles. It was short on utility, which is these days described as the ability to carry bikes and boards (sand, surf, sail, skate and snow), which the original short X5 could barely accommodate. In fact, it had less cargo space than a 5 Series wagon. A bigger BMW X5 would better meet the requirements of luxury SUV buyers, more in line with SUVs from Cadillac, Mercedes, Acura, Audi, and Volvo.
For 2007, BMW stretched the X5 seven inches, while preserving its ability to handle well and be nearly as fun to drive as BMW's sport sedans. BMW also expanded the height and width of the wagon two inches each dimension. This bigger X5 is known as the second-generation X5, same name, bigger body.
A BMW X5 adds a dimension to its intended tasks, traveling to places where active, fun sports take place, for example. Instead of hauling equipment and gear, the X5 gives sensitive automotive connoisseurs the top equipment they want to enjoy the activity of driving as much as possible. That's why BMW is trying to get its SUVs to be called SAVs, for sport activity vehicle. In other words, it's better for driving than hauling. This is not the wagon you fill with mulch for the garden and lumber to finish the basement. This is the car you take to the resort, and enjoy the drive, no matter the weather.
Powerful, smooth engines propel the X5 and exhilarate the driver with quick reflexes. Handling is intuitive, like a sculpted water ski, and ride is supple, like a freshly adjusted and tuned full-suspension titanium Merlin mountain bike. If you enjoy the sport of driving, you'll like the dynamics of the X5 every bit as much as the nimble old X5. That's a tough feat to pull off, since the new X5 outweighs the old one by about 400 pounds. A new suspension design and special variable ratio steering contributes greatly to the ride and handling.
Like other BMWs and the previous X5, the 2007 BMW X5 is pretty, with swoopy sheetmetal, a trademark double-grille fashionable nose, and deep, shiny metallic paint. Now this new version of the SUV fashion statement will hold more of the gear and boards that active folks use.
The 2007 BMW X5 comes in a choice of two models, distinguished by engine.
The BMW X5 3.0i ($45,900) is powered by a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that makes 260 horsepower.
The BMW X5 4.8i ($54,500) is powered by a newer 350-hp 4.8-liter V8 engine. The 4.8-liter model also makes available a host of extra high-tech gizmos, such as headlights that move with steering inputs, multiple variable electrically operated front seats, and both models include the iDrive control for the navigation, climate, entertainment, and personal preference functions.
Options include a premium sound system with a six-CD changer ($1,800); rear privacy glass and front and rear climate zones ($700); driver's massage seat and front seats with fan-powered ventilation and multiple adjustable contours ($2,100); DVD rear-seat entertainment system ($1,800); satellite radio ($595); rear-view camera with parking assist system, satellite navigation, voice activation for some functions, and traffic information ($2,600); integrated garage opener and light switches, full-roof sunroof and power shade, auto dimming mirrors, adjustable lumbar supports, cargo cover, compass, vanity lights, and a live service assistance with Bluetooth phone function ($2,650); front seat heaters, headlight washers, heated wheel, and ski cover for luggage compartment pass-through ($900); leather steering wheel, 19-inch wheels, run-flat tires, anti-roll-over stability system, electronic damping control, larger seat bolsters ($3,600).
Safety features include the mandated dual front airbags which have two-stage threshold activation, plus side-curtain airbags for head protection and side-impact airbags built into the front seats. Active safety features include anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, all-wheel drive, traction control, front seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters, adaptive headlights and cornering lights. Optional safety features include a rearview camera and parking assist as part of a Technology Package ($2,600), and anti-roll stability system and run-flat tires as part of a Sport Package ($3,600).