I test drove it and I knew I had to buy it
April 14, 2019
I have owned this car for 2 years now and I have driven it for 25,000 miles. I am overall pleased with the car. In fact, I test drove it by chance, more out of curiosity than anything else, and I was immediately won over and decided to buy it after trying a shortlist of about other 10-12 SUVs. Is it perfect? No, but it is not half bad either.
FUEL ECONOMY. I have the 6-cylinder, 4 wheel drive model. I drive about 30% city and 70% hwy. From LA to SF I have achieved 25.6 mpg on all hwy by exploiting the coasting ability of this heavy vehicle. Overall, at 25,000 miles, my average is at 22.2 mpg. Pure city driving is painful and I do not think one can achieve more than 16 mpg. Definitely not more than 17mpg. The tank is large and the range is excellent at over 500 miles of pure freeway/highway. I do not drive slow. In fact, I have taken it to over 100mph and I like to drive it in sport mode on the local canyon roads as well. However, I do not accelerate and brake all the time.
COST OF MAINTENANCE SO FAR. So far $0 as it is still under warranty. Brakes... at 25k miles, according to the computer, I have still 18k miles left on the front brakes and 28k miles left on the rear brakes. So, you do the numbers. Tires, I am afraid that the Pirelli run flat tires it came with will probably not last for more than 40-45k miles. That I am disappointed. I was hoping for at least 60k miles, frankly. In 2 years I have never burned rubber as, frankly, I could not care less. 2 oil changes (free). According to BMW my driving is much better than average and the computer asks me to change the oil every 11.5k miles instead of the more typical 10k miles.
COMFORT and RIDE. I do not like the standard seats one bit. Ugly and uncomfortable. I immediately went for the luxury seats which allow for seat extension and multiple contour controls. BMW should be ashamed to sell a car in that price range with those cheap standard seats. That cost me an additional $2k, but I have not regretted it, not even for 1 second. The ride is comfortable, but on bumps the car is not very pleasant, not at all. My old Honda CR-V is way more comfortable going over bumps and I can even take the bumps at higher speeds than with my X5. Noise insulation is excellent though. Not like a $100k+ car, but excellent. The Jaguar F-Pace, for a comparison was 2x noisier than the X5 when I test drove it. Beautiful car, but too noisy, frankly. Passenger seats excellent and so are the back seats. Sometimes when I need to work on my computer in between meetings I seat there and it is very comfortable (I am 6'2"- 240). Cargo space is not huge, but more than adequate for me. Third row of seats is of no use to me and so I cannot comment on that.
ISSUES. Nothing mechanical or electrical, thankfully. During the first year, on several occasions, we experienced an extremely unpleasant smell coming through the A/C or ventilation system. In a few occasion it was so bad that we had to open the window. I am not dreaming it as my wife and, in one occasion even a passenger in the back seat, reported it. I felt ashamed to have a passenger experiencing that. It was bordering the nasty. Of course, when I reported to BMW, they had no idea, but other people I know with the same or different BMW models reported a similar issue. Is it condensation during the hot days of Summer? We do not know although we experience it mostly in the hot days. Another issue is with the stop and go. No complaining about the feature, but when starting uphill, even slightly, often the car produces a short cranking noise. Never happens on flats or downhill, though.
BIGGEST SURPRISE. It is not a cheap car to use, but I was surprised by the cost of the license plate sticker which, in California, comes to almost $600/year. Insurance was also a surprise, although I was kind of prepared for it. I carry a good amount of insurance but, even with a clean driving record, I am shelling out around $2,400/year. When I compare it to my Honda CR-V, the only huge difference is the collision entry. AAA told me that X5 are very expensive to fix and therefore the high price.
FUN FACTOR. I will not deny that it is a fun car to drive. Besides, I had to buy it after test driving it for 1 week (car rental). However, the 0-60 in 6 seconds is nothing to brag about. With the bigger engine it would be a different thing, but that model has many more issues and fuel economy is horrendous. In sport mode it is quite a bit of fun!