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2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i Rocky Mountain Review By Dan Poler

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By Dan Poler
Rocky Mountain Bureau
The Auto Channnel

2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i

The BMW X5 has been around in its current form since the 2007 model year and represents the standard for on-road luxury SUV performance. We had an opportunity to spend an enjoyable week with this trendsetter and found that it still retains the same comfort and luxury – and some of the very same quirks – we’ve seen in prior model years.

On the outside, not much has changed for 2013. Our X5 did come equipped with the M Sport and Performance packages – we’ll talk about the M Performance package in a moment – the M Sport package adds some minor stylistic changes to the exterior, but the X5 generally retains its boxy shape and distinctive nose.

Inside we find that things are generally the same, and as they should be. The X5 has always had a pleasing, spacious cabin that seats five comfortably, The optional third-row seats will let you add two more in the way-back – as long as they’re children, and small ones at that.

The X5 provides for an enormous array of technological gizmos and gadgets. Top-down cameras? Check. Cameras built into the front corners to check side clearance? Check. Soft-close doors that provide power assistance to close? Check. Power adjustable seats, of course – would you like power adjustable headrests with those, as well? Even the radio preset buttons are a wonder of technological advancement, popping up information on the display for the assigned station if one simply hovers a finger over it without pressing.

A few of the gadgets seem like a great idea but we found that they did not work well in practice, such as automatic high beams which seem to become confused by bright reflectors along the edge of dark mountain roads, and a heads-up display which disappears completely if the driver is wearing polarized sunglasses. One challenge we did encounter was the placement of the cruise control stalk – just below and similarly shaped to the turn indicator stalk, yet hidden by the steering wheel – it’s far too easy to confuse them and accidentally cancel cruise control when reaching for a turn signal.

On the road, the X5 truly acts as a BMW should – calm, composed, exceptionally stable, great handling. Our test vehicle was equipped with BMW’s Active Steering, which provides for an exceptionally soft steering feel. Not bad, per se – just different than the heavier but more engaging steering feel we’ve come to expect from BMW – and there are certainly times when the reduced effort is appreciated.

As mentioned before, our test vehicle came equipped with the M Performance package, which adds 15 horsepower and 30 lb-ft of torque to the base 3.0 liter turbo inline 6, bringing total horsepower and torque to 315 horsepower and 330 lb-ft, respectively. While the additional power is most welcome, the vehicle does not live up to its M badging – unfortunately the engine feels somewhat overwhelmed by the weight and size of the vehicle. At highway speeds the X5 handles well but the combination of the engine, turbo, and transmission make the X5 feel hesitant and sluggish at low speeds or from a stop, no doubt just due to the amount of weight that the powerplant is asked to propel. If you are considering the X5, no doubt the models powered by the larger V8 setup would be worth a look.

On the safety front, the X5 includes all of the expected features like stability and traction control, antilock brakes, front side airbags, and side curtain airbags. There are some welcome and unexpected features like adaptive brake lights which flash the taillights under sudden extreme braking as a warning to trailing motorists. Also standard is the BMW Assist emergency communications system, which provides crash notification, vehicle recovery and roadside assistance.

Despite its minor quirks, the X5 continues to be an excellent people-and-stuff hauler. Expect an all-new model in the near future, but until then the 2013 edition continues BMW’s legacy of sporty SUV’s.


2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i

Base Price: $47,500.00

Price as Tested: $74,595.00

Engine Type: Dual-overhead cam, 24-valve inline 6-cylinder with TwinPower turbo technology, Valvetronic, piezo direct fuel injection, and Double-VANOS steplessly variable valve timing

Engine Size: 3.0 liter

Horsepower: 315

Torque (lb-ft): 330

Transmission: 8-speed Automatic

Wheelbase / Length (in): 115.5 / 191.1

Curb Weight: 4,960 lb

Pounds per HP: 15.75

Fuel Capacity (gal): 22.5

Fuel Requirement: Premium Unleaded

Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport (RFT); F: 275/40WR20, R: 315/35WR20

Brakes, front/rear: Ventilated disc

Suspension, front/rear: Double wishbone / Multi-link

Ground clearance (in): 8.3

Drivetrain: xDrive all-wheel drive system

EPA Fuel Economy - MPG
city / highway / observed: 16 / 23 / 21

Towing capacity (lb): 6,000

Base Trim Price: $57,700.00

Options and Charges

Convenience Package: $3,500.00 (Universal garage-door opener, Comfort Access keyless entry, Rear view camera with top view, Rear manual side window shades, Interior mirror with compass, 4-zone climate control, Navigation system with voice command and real-time traffic information)

Cold Weather Package: $750.00 (Heated steering wheel, Ski bag, Heated rear seats, Retractable headlight washers)

M Sport Package: $2,500.00 (Sport suspension, 20” alloy double-spoke wheels, Aluminum roof rails, Dark burl walnut wood trim, Shadowline exterior trim, Anthracite headliner, M exterior parts in body color, M steering wheel with paddles)

M Performance Package: $1,600.00

Premium Sound Package: $950.00 (Satellite radio with 1-year subscription, premium hi-fi system)

Technology Package: $1,700.00 (Automatic high beams, Side-view camera, Head-up display)

Multi contour seats: $900.00

Active Steering: $1,550.00

Soft-close automatic doors: $600.00

3rd-row seat: $1,700.00

BMW Apps: $250.00

Delivery: $895.00

Price as tested: $74,595.00