$11,265 - $12,622

2010 BMW X5 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2010 BMW X5 was new.


Performance: 8.3

The X5's excellent performance is its trump card. It handles like a sport sedan and has power to spare. Though fuel economy isn't one of the X5's high points, the diesel-powered xDrive35d model is a good option for those looking to save at the pump.

  • "Compared with the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the new X5 is still a little firmer, edgier and more aggressive in the way it translates driver inputs." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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

Acceleration and Power

The 2010 BMW X5 is available in three trims which all feature a different engine. The xDrive30i model comes with a 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder engine that makes 260 horsepower, while the xDrive48i comes with a 4.8-liter V8 that makes 350 horsepower. The xDrive35d comes with a 3.0-liter, 265-horsepower six-cylinder turbodiesel engine. All engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. Test drivers find power impressive with either gasoline engine, though a few aren't as impressed with the diesel X5's acceleration.

The EPA rates the 2010 X5 xDrive30i at 15/21 mpg city/highway, while the xDrive48i model achieves 14/19 mpg. The diesel model substantially increases fuel economy with 19/26 mpg, making it one of the more fuel-efficient SUVs in the class. For even better fuel economy without shelling out for a diesel model, consider the Lexus RX 350. It will save you $10,000 or more compared to the cost of the X5 and boasts an 18/25 mpg rating.

  • "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
  • "Engine performance is strong with either the turbodiesel or the V8; the diesel is actually our preferred choice considering its impressive low-end torque, capable acceleration (it's just as quick as the V8) and superior fuel economy." -- Edmunds
  • "30i has more than adequate power for most needs. We appreciate the V8's additional smooth, strong power, particularly in high-speed passing, but not its non-linear throttle response. 35d diesel nearly matches the V8's power, plus enjoys more direct throttle response. Regardless of engine, the transmission shifts smoothly with alert downshifts." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Shift quality is excellent, and the transmission kicks down rapidly when necessary. In Sport mode, kickdown is swifter still, and the transmission doesn't upshift as readily, providing decent engine braking with the V-8." -- 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." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

The X5 is an excellent handler, and comes standard with BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system. Still, some reviewers say the X5 can be a bit harsh for those unaccustomed to German driving dynamics.

  • "With the standard 18-inch tires, the ride is comfortable and controlled. The available Sport Package and 19-inch tires are borderline harsh, with much bounding over sharp bumps and jiggling over rough pavement." -- 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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