2012 BMW X5 xDrive35d Diesel Six Month Review and Report

By David Goldes on 7 February 2013
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We usually see the 10,000 kilometer mark on our long-term cars just as we hit one year.  DSC_0939With the BMW X5 xDrive35d, we saw the 10,000 mile (16,000 kilometer) mark hit right around the six month point.  That alone says something about the car and how much everyone wants to drive it.

The X5 started off life with TDD editor Jonathan Spira and TDD European editor Christian Stampfer, who picked up the car at the factory, visited the plant where it was made, and spent most of the day driving a similar X5 xDrive35d around the track and off-road course.  They immediately took it on its first road trip, going from Spartanburg to Charleston, South Carolina, continuing on to Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia before returning to New York.  In fact, the car has gotten around quite a bit since then, and has been to most of the states in New England as well including Maine.

After driving it for the first two months, it was ready for the real challenge: my three kids, all under the age of ten.  They were the real car critics and I wondered, would they accept the X5 into their fold.


We specified our X5 to come with several packages including the Sport Activity Package, DSC_0434which includes an anthracite headliner, sports steering wheel, and 19” alloy wheels; the Cold Weather package, which has the very important heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, a ski bag, and retractable headlight washers; and the Premium Package, which comes with a rear-view camera with Top View, retractable window shades on the rear doors, navigation, and real-time traffic information.  An addition package was the Technology Package with head-up display, side-view camera, and automatic high-beams.

Other options included Comfort Access keyless entry, BMW’s awesome sounding premium hi-fi system, a panoramic sunroof, multi-contour heated front seats, Park Distance Control, Lane Departure Warning, BMW Assist, and BMW Apps.DSC_0448

All of these options are worthy of mention but a few stand out.  First and foremost, the BMW multi-contour (“comfort”) seats:  everyone here at Accura Media Group wants to borrow one of the seats and convert it to a desk chair, that’s how comfortable they are.  As Jonathan Spira reported to me after driving from Munich to Hamburg in one day in our long-term BMW 550i with the same seats, they are simply just that comfortable.

Park Distance Control is another feature that should not be overlooked.  In an age where many people simply don’t pay attention when they should (stop texting while you are reading my article, by the way), DSC_0040a technology such as PDC (which alerts you if you are too close to the bumper in front of you or behind you when parking) is a must.

BMW Apps.  This is more Jonathan Spira’s favorite than mine but then again he was the one listening to Internet radio in his car eight or nine years ago.  BMW executed this beautifully and has made it easy to bring a variety of apps and music into the vehicle without any programming or technical knowledge required.

Comfort Access keyless access is one of those features that you might think sounds silly until you have used it for a while.  The convenience of leaving the key in your pocket isn’t necessarily even noticeable until you have to drive a car that doesn’t have the feature.  Then you stop and think: “why do I have to reach into my pocket, take the key out, and insert it into the ignition slot?”  Dan Collins recently commented in a review of a car that did not have keyless start/top and access that it was the first car he ever drove that actually required a real key.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the BMW X5 xDrive35d and Fuel Economy

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