BMW's X5 comes in three different models for 2009--the 30i, the 48i and the 35d. The 30i is powered by a 3.0L inline 6-cylinder engine making 260 horsepower; the 48i gets a 350-horsepower, 4.8L V8 engine. Both engines have sophisticated design features, including aluminum and magnesium construction and Valvetronic, which controls and varies valve lift to deliver full power when needed yet otherwise allows increased efficiency and smoothness. The 35d is new for 2009, and is powered by a 3.0L twin-turbo inline-6 cylinder diesel engine producing 265 hp and 425 lb-feet of torque. The diesel engine also allows the 35d to tow up to 6000 lbs.
The X5 is built with a very stiff body structure and has a 4-wheel independent suspension, including a double-wishbone setup in front and a multi-link arrangement in back; the setup is oriented toward a good ride and crisp handling on the road, yet it has the ruggedness for occasional light off-roading. The optional active steering system adjusts the effective ratio of the steering such that at low speed the steering wheel only needs to be turned twice to go from lock to lock, yet at high speeds the system has a long ratio for good stability. The system interfaces with AdaptiveDrive--part of the optional Sport Package--to coordinate the steering system's operation with active roll stabilization and electronic damping control.
All X5 models come with xDrive, a full-time all-wheel drive system that normally sends 60 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels but using a multi-disc clutch can steplessly vary torque to the front wheels, sending more as needed. XDrive interfaces with the stability control system to enhance handling safety.
The X5 comes with two rows of seating for a total of five adults, but a third row of seating is optional to seat seven. Third-row seating includes a self-leveling suspension feature, plus rear climate controls. Otherwise, dual-zone climate control is standard, while a 4-zone climate control system is optional.
Interior materials used in the X5 are especially distinctive. The standard upholstery on the 30i and 35d is leatherette, while the 48i gets Nevada leather. Dark Burl Walnut, Light Poplar Wood and Dark Bamboo trims are available.
A new revised version of the standard dynamic stability control (DSC) now includes brake fade compensation, brake stand-by and brake drying, to help increase overall brake safety in a wide range of conditions, plus the Start-off Assistant, which helps keep the vehicle from rolling backward when starting from a stop and facing uphill. Hill descent control, to help modulate speed while making steep descents off-road or on slippery surfaces, and a trailer stabilization program are also included.
Besides DSC, the X5 comes with a wide range of safety features including a rollover sensor that interfaces with the vehicle's air bag system. Front seat-mounted side air bags and a head-protection system for all outboard occupants are also standard. Both X5 models come with a run-flat tire system, with which the vehicle can be driven up to 90 miles at up 50 mph when the tire loses its inflation.
Climate control, navigation and entertainment functions, among others, are accessed through the iDrive controller, which now has six programmable memory keys for frequently used functions.
All three trims come very well equipped, yet they have expansive option lists that bring standout high-tech and luxury features, such as Active Ventilated Seats, heated rear seats, park distance control, a head-up display and a rear-seat entertainment system. An available Sport Package includes Sport seats, special trim, a sport steering wheel, active roll stabilization and electronic damping control. The Technology package includes a rearview mirror, park distance control and voice-activated navigation. The M Sport package includes unique 19" alloy wheels, sport seats, a sport steering wheel and other interior trim upgrades.
For 2009, the BMW X5 gains an optional 3.0L inline-6 diesel engine. It produces 265 hp and 425 lb-feet of torque. The diesel X5 is also capable of a 21 combined mpg and 6000 lbs of towing capacity.