2011 BMW X5: What's Changed

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  • Competes with: Acura MDX, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Audi Q7
  • Looks like: The old X5; most updates are under the hood
  • Drivetrain: 265-hp, 3.0-liter diesel six-cylinder with six-speed automatic; 300-hp, 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder; 400-hp, twin-turbo V-8 with eight-speed automatic; all-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Spring 2010

It doesn’t exactly take a Mensa certificate to predict that BMW’s latest turbocharged engines would make their way into the company’s relatively popular X5 crossover. Available at dealerships shortly after next month’s New York auto show debut — it hits the Geneva International Motor Show this week — the all-wheel-drive X5 also sports revised styling and more streamlined trim levels. Sans BMW’s $875 destination charge, the turbocharged, six-cylinder X5 xDrive35i starts at $45,800. That’s $1,800 less than the normally aspirated 2010 xDrive30i. The twin-turbo V-8 X5 xDrive50i, meanwhile, starts at $58,400, $2,100 more than the outgoing xDrive48i.
The 2011 X5 has more than 4,000 new parts, BMW says. We suspect most of them are drivetrain-related because the styling changes are fairly light. The fog lights have been moved inboard, and the grille and tail carry more body-colored elements than before. The interior looks the same; it continues to seat up to seven.
Ah, yes, those drivetrain bits: BMW’s new turbocharged six-cylinder — now with throttle-less Valvetronic actuation — is good for 300 horsepower and 300 pounds-feet of torque. Working through a new eight-speed automatic, the turbo six replaces last year’s 260-hp, normally aspirated six-cylinder and six-speed auto. BMW claims the resulting 6.4-second zero-to-60 mph time matches the outgoing X5 … with the V-8. Impressive.
That V-8, meanwhile, has also been put to pasture — some hinterland German meadow, no doubt — for a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V-8 that makes 400 hp and 450 pounds-feet of torque. The zero-to-60 scoot takes just 5.3 seconds, BMW estimates. Slotting between the xDrive35i and xDrive50i is the diesel-powered X5 xDrive35d, which runs the same $52,175 as the 2010 diesel X5. It carries the same six-speed automatic, with EPA gas mileage at a not-too-shabby 19/26 mpg city/highway. EPA mileage figures for the other drivetrains are still pending.

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

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