2000 BMW X5: Master of None

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From the April 2000 concern of Automotive and Driver.

Our $55,315 Titanium Silver Metallic BMW X5 definitely regarded the a part of a way­-business sport-utility car­—square-shouldered, monumental 19- inch tires jamming the wheel wells, the outstanding BMW twin-kidney grille. And as common readers know, we like BMWs.

However early feedback from staffers who drove this brand-new car elicited very un-BMW-like, one-­phrase adjectives—similar to jerky, jumpy, and jiggly. It sounded as if we had been naming the forged of the “Seven Dysfunctional Dwarves.”

These feedback had been warranted particularly on southern Michigan’s grim washboard roads, the place our X5, geared up with the $2470 Sport package deal, supplied a downright pun­ishing journey. A number of of us puzzled if someway the tires had been inflated to, say, 60 psi. (They hadn’t.) We puzzled why the steering had such a stiff, gradual, nonlinear really feel. We puzzled why the drive-by-wire throttle, fully acceptable with this engine within the 540i sedan, had such an abrupt tip-in.

Then we thought: Hey, BMWs, pre­sumably even its sport-utility car (known as by BMW a “sports-activity car,” for causes that can turn into clear shortly), are street warriors, so let’s take a street journey!

HIGHS: Glorious engine and transmission, excellent bucket seats, best-in-class styling.

4 days and greater than 2500 miles later, our first-impression complaints remained and had been joined by a handful of further shortcomings, though there have been simply as many practically stellar obtain­ments, as a result of most of the good issues concerning the X5 turn into evident with seat time. Suffice it to say that the X5, which gamely makes an attempt to be all issues to all drivers, is not.

First, the good things.

The construct high quality of the unibody X5, manufactured completely within the BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, is on par with something the corporate makes. Match and end was glorious. The X5 was drum tight on the roughest pavement and seemed it will nonetheless be so 75,000 miles down the street.

Equally, there’s little to fault concerning the X5’s inside. Wooden trim is used liberally on the doorways, sprint, and console. The leather-based used on the seating surfaces, door panels, steering wheel, and shift knob is top of the range. The legible white-on-black instru­ments are correctly framed by means of the highest half of the steering wheel, which, by the way, is fitted with buttons on the left facet of the hub that management the stereo and ears on the correct facet that regulate the cruise con­trol. There is a helpful, unobtrusive journey laptop, a superb 10-speaker stereo, and three reminiscence settings that retailer seat, seatbelt-height, steering-wheel, and outside-mirror positions.

Though the rear seats are a bit upright and thinly padded, the dual entrance bucket sport seats are excellent. The motive force’s seat has an eight-way energy adjustment; the passenger seat is six-way adjustable. That the motive force’s seat remained snug after a 24-hour stint behind the wheel is a major achievement on BMW’s half. Good, too, is a big useless pedal for the motive force’s left foot. As you’d anticipate, security options abound, together with twin entrance and entrance facet airbags, in addition to the inflatable, sausage-shaped Head Safety System. Door-mounted rear facet airbags are elective. Maybe probably the most critical criticism concerning the passenger compartment is a minor one: The console-mounted twin cup holders can deal with two cans however couldn’t take two medium-size cups that flared on the prime with out tipping certainly one of them off to the facet.

Transfer to the rear, although, and our complaints get a bit extra extreme. With the 60/40 rear seats in place, baggage capability is a modest 16 cubic ft—the identical as in a Hyundai Accent. If you’d like your cargo lined, capability is diminished much more by a flimsy sliding plastic cowl.

Beneath the cargo flooring is, at the least, a full-size spare tire—though it was an 18-inch Michelin in our X5 that was shod with the 19-inch Bridgestones that include the Sport package deal. The cargo door is a two-piece unit; the highest part raises, and as soon as it is up, you manually interact a swap (inconceivable to search out at evening until you understand the place it is situated) that releases the tailgate.

On the street, the X5 appeared most at house on easy pavement at super-legal speeds. Whether or not it is within the 540i or the X5, the 282-hp, 4.4-liter V-8 is a gutsy, sophis­ticated engine. The VANOS variable valve timing is seamless and clear. Mated to the five-speed computerized ZF transmis­sion, the powertrain is well-matched, downshifting intuitively when wanted, upshifting with out drama. It has the Steptronic function that lets you shift for your self, however to a few of us, it appeared extra a novelty than an enhancement.

LOWS: Tough journey, stiff steering, traction compromised on something however dry pavement, modest baggage area.

As talked about beforehand, throttle tip-­in from a standing begin calls for a really gentle contact on the accelerator—any extra pedal strain and also you lurch. As soon as below means, although, throttle really feel is ok.

Not so with the variable-assist rack-­and-pinion steering, which is tiresomely stiff at gradual speeds. Though the X5 tracks straight and true with little correc­tion required on the interstate, it didn’t have the linear, exact really feel we have come to know and love from different BMWs.

The X5 has all-wheel drive, with energy delivered by means of a switch case that nom­inally sends 38 p.c of the torque to the entrance, 62 p.c to the rear, until different­sensible suggested by the traction-control system. There isn’t any low-range gearing, and as an alternative of a limited-slip or locking differ­ential, the X5 has Computerized Differential Braking, a traction-control-type system that sends energy to the wheels which have grip by individually braking the wheels that do not. These programs are inclined to prepare dinner the brakes in extended low-traction slogging.

The suspension that makes the X5 deal with like a car set decrease than its 67.2-inch top, and lighter than its 4933-pound weight, makes for a jarring journey on all however the smoothest blacktop. Even con­crete highways in good restore have expan­sion joints, and the X5 finds each certainly one of them. For that reason, we might be tempted to go on the Sport package deal—thus saving $2470 however lacking out on these cool-­trying 19-inch tires and wheels—if it meant a smoother journey.

And the X5 does go round corners with authority. The massive four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock are glorious (70 mph to 0 takes a sports-car-like 167 ft) and, together with traction management, are stan­dard. The X5 circled the skidpad at 0.79 g, in contrast with 0.74 g for the Mercedes-­Benz ML55 AMG we examined in December 1999. The X5 wasn’t fairly as fast in acceleration—a 15.4-second quarter-mile at 89 mph, in contrast with the ML55’s 15.3 seconds at 92 mph—however contemplating the X5 provides up 60 hp to the ML55’s 342-hp, 5.4-liter V-8, it is respectable. Their curb weights are shut, however their costs aren’t—our X5 listed for $55,315, about $10,000 lower than the ML55.

It is doable to discover a very good X5 for lower than ours price, however do not anticipate to see many on the $49,970 base worth (you possibly can maintain out for the upcoming six-cylinder X5, anticipated to begin at about 40K). Apart from the aforementioned $2470 Sport package deal, which included the large tires and wheels and a sport suspension with firmer shocks, springs, and anti-roll bars, our tester had an influence glass sunroof ($1050), xenon headlights ($500), tinted home windows ($275), an upgraded stereo with a CD participant ($200), and an $850 Exercise package deal, which included heated entrance seats and headlamp washers.

Customary stuff contains Hill Descent Management (like traction management for engine braking, it helps you creep down steep hills, braking to take care of about 6 mph), Dynamic Stability Management (combines ABS and traction management with information gath­ered by yaw, steering-angle, acceleration, and brake-pedal sensors), and Dynamic Brake Management (which “reinforces the motive force’s pedal effort in emergency braking”).

All that might not, nonetheless, make our X5 work nicely within the snow, thanks principally, we suspect, to the large Bridgestone Turanza radials. Prospects who purchase a Sport-package-equipped X5 considering they’ll play mountain goat on slick roads will likely be dissatisfied, as snow-covered roads, each round our Ann Arbor house workplace and on 150 miles of Illinois interstate, had us wishing for a extra sure-footed snow car, similar to nearly any front-wheel­-drive sedan available on the market. The traction management does what it may possibly, but when the tires do not get traction, you are slipping and sliding.

Transient off-road stints advised that the X5 was not fully at house there, both, regardless of sufficient floor clearance and a good turning circle. However once more, the absence of low-range gearing and people nice huge Bridgestones are sufficient to maintain us away from the wilderness.

So what, then, are we to make of BMW’s new X5? Nice seems, an almost flawless inside, a commendable energy­prepare, and distinctive construct high quality, com­bined with a tough journey, restricted cargo capability, and marginal snow and off-road capabilities.

If you’d like a sport-utility car that emphasizes utility, we might advocate a Mercedes ML430 or a Jeep Grand Cher­okee. For those who lean extra towards the “sport,” the BMW 540i station wagon holds greater than the X5 and performs a lot better on the street.

VERDICT: Take note of the SAV moniker, as a result of for those who’re on the lookout for a do-it-all SUV, you could be dissatisfied.

Nonetheless, we predict the X5 will likely be a serious gross sales success. And that is wonderful, so long as clients acknowledge its limitations. However for the subsequent 2500-mile long-weekend journey, we’ll be driving one thing else.


Counterpoint

Though sport-utilities and sports activities sedans have about as a lot in widespread as giraffes and gazelles, I’ve to confess that the X5 does the very best job but of blurring the boundary between the 2 species. True, this rig is chubby for a unibody, and it is with the identical traits that render all SUVs clumsy: a excessive floor clearance and a excessive middle of gravity. Nonetheless, with the Sport package deal it is arguably probably the most nimble SUV but provided, it stops faster than loads of passenger automobiles, and there is prodi­gious torque to offset its porcine mass. And if the Sport-package journey is gnarly on Michigan roads, nicely, all of the extra cause to maneuver to California. —Tony Swan

BMW promised us the X5 would set new dynamic requirements for SUVs. Certain sufficient, geared up with the elective Sport package deal, the X5 delivers cornering and braking grip far superior to any different SUV we have examined. Sadly, this adhesion comes with a brittle journey—one that’s a lot much less com­pliant than even an M5’s, or some other SUV’s that I can recall. Maybe that is the worth for making a 4933-pound machine with a excessive middle of gravity stick like a BMW. Throw in numb steering and fewer cargo capability than in a 5-series wagon, and the X5 takes the SUV idea in a course I do not below­stand. —Csaba Csere

BMW at all times makes certain its providing in each automotive class is the motive force’s automotive of the bunch. And it not often lets us down. The X5 does not wallow by means of turns, sit on its rear when accelerating, or burn its brakes after quite a few stops. So I might must say that amongst luxurious utes, the X5 is probably the most sat­isfying to drive. However I nonetheless would not purchase one, because it has much less inside room than a 540i wagon and rides a lot rougher. What provides? It is as if BMW concentrated too onerous on the game half and forgot about utility. The revenue margin rung up by sport-­utes was means an excessive amount of for comparatively small BMW to go up, however I might somewhat see a extra helpful package deal. —Larry Webster

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Specs

Specs

2000 BMW X5
Automobile Sort: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door wagon

PRICE

Base/As Examined: $49,970/$55,315
Choices: Sport package deal (sport suspension, sport seats, 19-inch wheels and tires), $2470; energy sunroof, $1050; Exercise package deal (heated entrance seats, ski bag, headlamp washers, rain-sensing wipers), $850; xenon headlamps, $500; tinted home windows, $275; CD participant, $200

ENGINE
DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port gas injection

Displacement: 268 in3, 4398 cm3

Energy: 282 hp @ 5400 rpm

Torque: 324 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm 

TRANSMISSION
5-speed computerized

CHASSIS

Suspension, F/R: management arms/multilink

Brakes, F/R: 13.1-in vented disc/12.8-in disc

Tires: Bridgestone Turanza ER30

F: 255/50VR-19
R: 285/45VR-19

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 111.0 in

Size: 183.7 in

Width: 73.7 in
Peak: 67.2 in

Passenger Quantity, F/R: 51/45 ft3
Cargo Quantity, behind F/R: 54/16 ft3
Curb Weight: 4933 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS

60 mph: 6.9 sec

1/4-Mile: 15.4 sec @ 89 mph
100 mph: 20.4 sec
130 mph: 49.0 sec

Rolling Begin, 5–60 mph: 7.3 sec

High Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.4 sec

High Gear, 50–70 mph: 5.1 sec

High Pace (drag ltd): 137 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 167 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.79 g 

C/D FUEL ECONOMY

Noticed: 16 mpg

EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Metropolis/Freeway: 13/17 mpg 

C/D TESTING EXPLAINED

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