$8,321 - $8,841

2009 BMW X5 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 BMW X5 was new.


Performance: 8.2

It's in the X5's performance that BMW gives its unique take on the SUV. It has power to spare and handles like a sport sedan. For 2009, fuel efficiency increases with the new xDrive35d diesel model.

  • "Technical details aside, what you really need to know is this: 265 horsepower and an eye-popping 425 pound-feet of torque (the latter at just 1750 rpm), accompanied by roughly 25-percent-better fuel economy [from the diesel engine] than that of a comparably powerful gasoline engine." -- Car and Driver
  • "Without a low range, all-terrain tires or adequate ground clearance, the X5 is still a soft-roader." -- Motor Trend
  • "The X5 is a kick to drive, with such items as precise new variable-ratio steering and remarkably sharp handling for such a big fella. The firm ride is supple and better than the stiffer ride of the first-generation X5. Improved brakes provide quick, sure stops and are controlled by a firm brake pedal." -- MSN
  • "Outstanding balance and grip make the X5 feel more like a sport sedan than an SUV. There's minimal body lean in turns, especially with the Sport Package. Models without Active Steering required surprising effort to turn at low speeds. Test vehicles exhibited strong braking with excellent pedal feel." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The X5 diesel debunks any theories about diesel-powered cars being smelly and loud; it's neither. While the engine did have a little extra purr to it, the cabin is so well-insulated I almost couldn't hear it. This all-wheel-drive car drives like the luxury SUV it's supposed to be." -- Mother Proof

Acceleration and Power

The xDrive30i comes with a 3.0-liter in-line six that makes 260 horsepower, while the xDrive48i comes with a V8 that makes 350 horsepower. According to the EPA, the 30i achieves 15/21 mpg city/highway, while the 48i achieves 14/19 mpg. The new diesel model substantially increases fuel economy -- it achieves 19/26 mpg.

  • "The X5 xDrive35d should take about a second longer to hit 60 [than the 335d diesel-powered sedan] but is expected to deliver similarly impressive-for a big ute-mpg of 19 city and 25 highway." -- Car and Driver
  • "This is an impressive bump in efficiency, especially when you consider that the twin-turbo 3.0-liter diesel in the xDrive35d also delivers better performance. Its 265 horsepower is only a five-notch increase over the gasoline engine's output, but the diesel's 425 pound-feet of torque nearly doubles the 225 lb-ft you get with the 3.0si." -- Edmunds
  • "Testers complained about non-linear throttle response but not the V8's smooth, strong power, particularly in high-speed passing. BMW says the 4.8i does 6.4 seconds 0-60 mph. The transmission shifts smoothly, with alert downshifts." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Shift timing, quality and firmness are what you'd expect from a BMW -- nicely aggressive when driving aggressively, but smooth as glass when you're just cruising along." -- Cars.com
  • "Creeping through city streets, the X5 xDrive35d 's engine sounded like farm machinery, and acceleration was hardly quick, showing noticeable lag before it got up and went. The steering also felt a little loose, something surprising in a BMW." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

X5 passengers will enjoy a ride that most reviewers said is similar to BMW's sedans. For the most engaging driving experience, consider upgrading to the sport package with BMW's adaptive drive. This enhances the X5's handling on curves at any speed

  • "The 4.8i exhibits a surprisingly firm ride with the base suspension; some testers complained of harshness and bounding over sharp bumps and jiggling over rough pavement. A brief test showed little comfort difference with sport suspension and 19-inch tires vs. the base suspension and standard 18s. We've had no opportunity to test an X5 with the available 20-inch tires." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The ride is a bit harder than Americans typically prefer, but you want road feel in a BMW." -- BusinessWeek
  • "BMW's active steering is an acquired taste. It makes maneuvering the X5 nearly effortless, but expect a learning curve before you're able to dial in precisely the appropriate amount of lock at any given speed." -- Automobile Magazine

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