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2013 BMW X5 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 BMW X5 was new.


Performance: 8.5

Overall, reviewers say the 2013 BMW X5's performance is one of its high points, adding that it has great handling and plenty of power. Testers write that the X5 has sportier handling than almost any other SUV, although its firm ride may not be comfortable enough for drivers looking for a plush driving experience. The X5 M turns performance up even further, with a powerful turbocharged V8 engine and even better handling.

  • "Piloting the X5 is a lot like driving a BMW sedan that is wearing platform shoes. Solid, powerful, with handling that will shame many cars." -- Car and Driver
  • "It's in these extreme circumstances when the X5 really proves itself, demonstrating a staggering degree of stability and handling prowess for something so big and heavy. It may not be the sort of SUV that ad agencies will show fording a river or climbing a rocky mountain trail, but the X5 has a toughness and solidity all its own." -- Edmunds
  • "With a sophisticated suspension, excellent braking, communicative steering and at least 300 horsepower, the 2013 BMW X5 - in any of its iterations - provides a compelling testament to BMW's engineering prowess." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The base BMW X5 xDrive35i comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. The xDrive35d has a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engine makes 265 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque. The xDrive50i's turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine makes 400 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque and the range-topping X5 M's turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine makes 555 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. According to the EPA, fuel economy ranges from 19/26 mpg city/highway in diesel trims to 12/17 mpg city/highway in the X5 M. The X5 xDrive35i and xDrive50i come with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the xDrive35d and the X5 M both come with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Overall, reviewers say most BMW X5 trims have plenty of power. One reviewer notes that its engines are louder than competitors', which may sound sporty to some drivers but could get tiring for shoppers who prefer a quieter, more isolated cabin.

  • "The X5 M has a sporty exhaust note. Some of our testers like it, while others find it annoying and unrefined. Most other noise sources are kept well in check, which is quite an accomplishment given the M's otherwise overt personality. BMW's diesel is louder than competitors' in acceleration, but fades into the background at cruising speeds." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Engine performance is strong throughout the lineup, even with the base six-cylinder." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Reviewers love the way the 2013 BMW X5 handles, saying it's one of the sportiest SUVs on the market. They say its body lean is minimal, even when taking turns at a high speed. Many test drivers say that shoppers looking for a smooth, comfortable ride may want to look elsewhere. The X5's sporty demeanor translates into a ride that's firmer than most. All-wheel drive comes standard on all trims.

  • "The 2013 BMW X5 is one of the best-handling midsize luxury crossovers around. Whether driving on back roads or on an endless expanse of interstate, the X5 is a champ. Some competitors offer more utility and off-road capabilities, but the X5 ably brings BMW's legendary handling prowess to the SUV arena. You'll notice the elevated ride height and considerable curb weight on tight roads, though." -- Edmunds
  • "Outstanding balance and grip make the X5 feel more like a sedan than an SUV. There's minimal body lean in turns. Braking is strong, with good pedal feel. X5 M has sharper moves all around." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The BMW X5's aggressive ride and handling come with a price, namely the forfeiture of a smooth ride." -- Kelley Blue Book

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