2011 BMW X5 xDrive35d Review and First Drive

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While the petrol variants get new powerplants and drivetrains, the X5’s engine remains the same as the original 2009 model, which is a good thing.  Under the hood is an all-aluminum, twin-turbo, 3.0-liter oil-burning I-6 that uses Bosch common-rail direct fuel injection (feeding fuel at up to 26,000 psi) with a compression ratio of 16.5:1.

Thanks to the massive torque developed by the engine, passing slower traffic on highways is effortless and I didn’t notice any turbolag.  The engine is apparently very well insulated; as a result, there is little if any diesel noise audible in the cabin.

With the introduction of the second generation X5, BMW moved from a damper-strut front suspension to control arms, leaving a multilink setup in the rear.  Adaptive Drive (active damping) is now a standalone option at $3500.  The X5 now has smarter and more energy efficient braking, with computers compensating for brake fade, drying wet brakes, holding the vehicle in place on hills, and prebraking if the driver were to abruptly lift his foot off the accelerator.

In my week with the X5 diesel, I averaged 21.5 mpg (10.9 l/100 km) in a mix of city, suburban, and highway driving.  On the winding parkways of New York, especially the tight curves of their exit ramps, the X5 was in its element.   It may be large but BMW kept the “sport” component first and foremost in its DNA.

The X5 diesel is manufactured in Spartanburg, South Carolina. For the first six months of 2011, 25% of buyers chose the X5 xDrive35d versus the petrol X5 xDrive35i variant.




2011 BMW X5 xDrive35d
Base price/price-as-tested $51,800/$63,775
Drivetrain Front engine, all-wheel drive
Engine 3.0-liter turbocharged I-6
Horsepower/Torque 265 / 425
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Curb weight  (lbs) 5192
Wheelbase  (inches) 115.5
Length x width x height  (inches) 191.1 x 76.1 x 69.5
0-60 mph (seconds) 6.9
City/Highway fuel economy (mpg) 19/26






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