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Average User Score
4.5 ⁄ 5 stars
Based on 20 reviews
2008 BMW X5 Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 20 reviews
BMW's X5 "Sport Activity Vehicle" entered the market in the 2000 model year. The second generation arrived in 2007. Based on customer feedback and engineering analysis, the second-gen vehicle grew 7.4 inches in length (with 4.5 inches added to the wheelbase) and 2.4 inches in width. The 2008 model has only minor changes.
The X5 offers a 3.0-liter inline six with 260 hp as standard or an optional 4.8-liter V8 that produces 350 hp. Both engines feature BMW's variable cam (double VANOS) and variable valve timing (VALVETRONIC) and are backed by BMW's excellent six-speed automatic Steptronic transmission. Reviewers like it so much they criticized BMW for not offering paddle shifters! According to BMW, the inline six gets from 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds, while the V8 does it in 6.4 seconds. Top speed for both engines is governed to 130 mph. Passing the gas pump, however, is not so easy. The EPA estimates 15/21 mpg for the six and 14/19 mpg for the V8, with both using premium-grade fuel. Consumer Guide Automotive averaged 13.9-14.8 mpg in mixed city/highway driving with the V8.
With the second generation, the X5's front suspension was redesigned. For the first time since 1961, a double-wishbone suspension was fitted to a BMW's front end, and the body structure was 15% stiffer than the first generation's. While the ride is smoother, reviewers find it a bit firm for most American tastes. Reviewers rave about the handling, though, comparing the X5 to a sports sedan in grip, steering feel, and aggressiveness. Some even suggest ordering the optional sports suspension to get the full "BMW experience."
The full-time xDrive all-wheel-drive system has been improved since the first generation. It provides a 60% rear-wheel torque bias under normal operating conditions, but can vary power distribution between axles and even send all power to a single wheel, if necessary. The system is also integrated with the yaw sensors in the standard Dynamic Stability Control system and can thereby counteract over- and understeer in corners.
The interior receives high praise from reviewers as "a perfect mix between luxury and sport." Leather is standard, and the front seats are very supportive. Even the second row has good leg- and headroom. Interior materials are a good mix of durability and luxury and exhibit BMW's traditional attention to fit and finish. As expected, no one had a favorable comment on BMW's iDrive system, which controls climate and entertainment functions.
One of the main reasons for the increase in the size of the second-gen X5 was the addition of an optional third-row seat, which raises seating capacity from five to seven. However, every reviewer was dissatisfied with the head- and legroom provided for the third row; BMW itself claims it's for folks 5'5" or under. Reviewers claim that even children will be cramped. With the third-row seat up, the X5 offers 7.1 cubic feet of cargo space, or enough room for "a row of grocery bags." With that seat folded flat, it has 18.5 cubic feet, or room for "a week's worth of luggage for a family of four." And with both rear rows folded flat, you'll find 61.8 cubic feet, or "enough to take a kid, and all of their stuff, to college."
The X5 receives the highest safety ratings and comes standard with Dynamic Stability Control, which incorporates rollover sensors, four-wheel disc antilock brakes, electronic brake assist, all-wheel drive, hill descent control, a tire-pressure monitor, and front-seat active head restraints. In the cabin there are dual front airbags, front side airbags, and front- and 2nd-row curtain side airbags with rollover deployment.
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