Sport "Action" Vehicle for a reason
December 4, 2018
The E70 Model BMW X5, its second generation, sets a standard that can only be copied, but not exceeded. It is easy to nit-pic at the various design shortcuts that new cars of today need to take to be light, efficient, affordable and profitable, such as plastic fasteners, trim and interior components; but in the realm of "performance," innovation and true driver's command of the road, BMW has always excelled as the best bang for the buck. The 2007-2013 X5 only builds on that reputation. Even without the Sport option, it does not handle like any other "SUV" -- which is one reason it justly deserves BMW's term "SAV" -- for Sport Action Vehicle. Its responsiveness to turns, acceleration and overall handling is unrivaled by any other brand. At nearly three tons, the only thing that could really stand to improve for a true gear head is braking. The brakes are more than "adequate," but when the suspension system that barely yields any sway on quick lane change or exit ramp maneuvers beckons its driver to perform with precision and speed that is available, then the brakes should match that temptation for those of us who indulge. The "M" option brakes, which unfortunately was not available on this model until 2010, does exactly that, but at a significant price if you are retrofitting as I have chosen to do. Yet, it is worth it. Stop on a dime; especially when done in concert with 20" wheels that are 10" wide on the front and 11" wide on the back. But even without going to the "M" option, or just the Sport option, out of the box this vehicle is the best bang for the buck for 100,000 mile performance action vehicle to serve as just a grocery getting truck, or off-road explorer, or downtown cruiser on Friday night. I will add, however, that it requires the planned maintenance be adhered to in protecting the engineering that is built into it. You can't skip oil changes; you can't skip brake line and transmission flushing; nor can you skip changing out the spark plugs, engine filters and cabin filters. You should take the vehicle in for timely, if not early, service maintenance whenever scheduled. And if you bought your X5 used, and out of warranty, INVEST in these things now, as well as fixing whatever is needed. Because fundamentally, this is a car to keep for a long time, and will pay back in dividends with performance, reliability and fun for many years. It's not a Buick.