By Cars.com EditorsAugust 31, 2011
About the video
Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2012 BMW X5. It competes with the Audi Q5 and Acura MDX.
<v Announcer>Cars.com auto review. Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for cars.com here with the 2012 BMW X five. This is the final year or so of the second generation of the X five, which has been around since late 2006.
It's a powerful SUV with a roomy, handsome cabin, but it gives up some of BMW's trademark fun to drive qualities in the process. We'll show you why. Our test car is X drive 35 I, that means it's got a 300 horsepower turbocharged, six cylinder engine and an eight speed, automatic transmission. Plenty of reserve power getting up to highway speed is not a problem, even from a metered on-ramp. The problem is getting to all that power, especially around town. The drive train responds really gradually to the gas pedal. You throw the transmission over into its sport mode, and it's a bit better kicking down the gears when you need it to at speed, but still getting off the line kind of slow. You leave it in drive and the transmission is really indecisive. It doesn't kick down to the right gears when you need it to. Not really great, especially in traffic. The foggy reflexes carry over to steering the X fives 42 foot turning circle means you're going to have to be making a lot of three-point turns and the steering feels heavy and artificially weighted throughout the whole process. It doesn't want to return to center naturally. And at higher speeds, the feedback is pretty numb. We do like the X five's interior. Not a whole lot has changed with this model over the years and materials are pretty good. Soft touch all the way down past knee level with a nice kind of low gloss graining along the dash, it looks good. Even in direct sunlight. Our test car has a lot of options. Things like four zone, climate control, and even a rear entertainment system. It goes right here, unfortunately, to stow the screen. Well, now you can't open the center console. Lots of room in the backseat. I've got inches to spare here in front of my knees and there's no center floor hump that robs foot well space. Still I wish the seat were an inch or two higher off the ground. My knees are kind of up in the air here. Other adults may feel the same way and the seat back doesn't recline. There's no forward or backward adjustment either. Some of BMW's competitors offer adjustments for the back row. I've never been wild about the way the X fives lift gate tailgate combination kind of works. This section comes up and then there's another section here that comes down. Without the optional third row. There aren't any handles here to facilitate folding down the second row. So it's a bit of a long reach here to kind of get them down. If you've got this thing down, it's almost impossibly far to get in there. Still 36 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the second row. 75 cubic feet of maximum volume with the seats folded. Pretty decent numbers there. Not as good as the X fives, Japanese competition, but comparable to its European competitors. So the X five has decent utility in a premium cabin and it rides pretty well too, but we wish BMW had sharpen some of its reflexes. Here's hoping that some of that comes our way when a redesign shows up. (upbeat music) <v Announcer>For more car related news, go to cars.com or our blog kickingtires.net.