In the crossover luxury SUV segment, the 2007 BMW X5 sets the standard for handling and performance. In terms of utility, however, many competitors are still better.
When BMW introduced the X5 seven years ago, many viewed it as a betrayal of the company's spirit. \BMW,\ those many asked, \the company that invented the sport sedan, is building a truck? That can't be good.\ Today the only question is whether or not the second-generation X5 is at least as good as the first.
All evidence points to the new 2007 BMW X5 being significantly better in almost all categories. This second-generation crossover SUV is 7.4 inches longer than the original and rides on a 4.5-inch longer (115.5-inch) wheelbase. That's enough room for BMW to shove in a third-row seat -- albeit one that's strictly for small children only. The steel unibody chassis is all-new and features a robust new front suspension with aluminum upper and lower wishbones rather than BMW's traditional MacPherson struts. The payoff is increased handling agility, says BMW.
For power, the X5 is once again equipped with a six- or eight-cylinder engine. The inline six-cylinder is BMW's latest magnesium-and-aluminum 3.0-liter DOHC 24-valve engine, and it's rated at 260 horsepower. The 350-hp, 4.8-liter V8 is largely a carryover from last year's 4.8is model.
As wonderfully as the first X5 drove, this new one drives even better. There's more suspension compliance over bumps and harsh pavement, yet the vehicle is still quite agile and responsive when driven aggressively on curvy roads. The interior is also larger and even better-looking.
Overall, we're impressed with the new 2007 BMW X5. For Bimmer-philes and driving enthusiasts needing a midsize luxury SUV, it's the obvious choice. But other SUV shoppers will want to consider all their options. When the original X5 debuted, it was pretty much the only game in town if you wanted an SUV that felt even remotely sporty when driven on pavement. Now the crossover SUV segment is full of impressive machines, including the new Acura MDX, Audi Q7, Cadillac SRX, Infiniti FX35\/FX45 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class. Many of them cost less and offer better utility.
A midsize luxury SUV, the 2007 BMW X5 is offered in two trim levels: the 3.0si with the six-cylinder engine and the 4.8i with the V8. Both models come standard with 18-inch wheels, adaptive xenon HID headlights, rain-sensing wipers with heated washer jets, power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, the iDrive system control interface and a glove-box-mounted CD player. The 4.8i also has leather seating and burl walnut wood trim as standard.
Additional equipment is offered through a variety of option packages. The Sport Package adds an active suspension system, 19-inch wheels and sport front seats. The Premium Package includes a panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity and the BMW Assist emergency communications system; on the 3.0si, it also includes leather upholstery. The Technology Package features park distance control, a rearview camera and a navigation system with real-time traffic updates. Other significant options include 20-inch wheels, a power liftgate (late availability), upgraded front seating, a separate rear climate control system, active steering, a premium audio system, a rear entertainment system and the third-row seat.
The 2007 BMW X5 is simply one of the best-handling midsize luxury SUVs you can buy. Some competitors offer more utility and many are more adept off-road, but the X5 does an amazing job of taking the sensations and talents of BMW's legendary sport sedans and translating them over to the SUV world.
Read our BMW X5 Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test
The 2007 BMW X5 3.0si is powered by a 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine good for 260 hp. It's backed by a six-speed automatic transmission (with a manual-shift mode) feeding BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The X5 4.8i uses a 4.8-liter V8 rated at 350 hp and features the same transmission and AWD system. BMW claims the 3.0si will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds, while the 4.8i will do the same trick in 6.4 seconds.
All 2007 X5s come equipped with front seat-mounted side airbags and head-protecting side-curtain airbags for the first and second rows. Antilock disc brakes and a stability control system with a rollover sensor are also standard. Front and rear parking sensors are optional on all BMW X5s.
The new X5's interior is one of the most elegant BMW has ever built. The dash is gently curved, with elegant wood inlays, generously sized air vents, oversized instrumentation and a truly gorgeous soft-feeling top that unifies the whole design. The only sour notes are the all-in-one iDrive controller and the optional third-row seat. Despite recent improvements, the iDrive system still annoys many drivers with its complexity, and the third-row seat is acutely lacking in spaciousness, even compared with those in other midsize crossover SUVs. With the second- and third-row seats folded, the X5 has 75 cubic feet of cargo space available, which is about average for this class of vehicle.
Nimble on-road handling for this class of vehicle, powerful engines, interior's premium look and design.
Some may still find the ride too firm, impractical third-row seat, high price, iDrive still more hassle than it's worth.