2011 BMW X5 xDrive35d: Livin’ up to the legend

15 Aug 2011 | 1,993 views | No Comment
      By Don Hammonds      If you have never driven a BMW, it's very easy to scoff at the sterling claims made about the performance, quality and superb handling of this legendary brand's products.    How can any car be that good? skeptics might ask.  Two words: Drive it.  And you'll be a scoffer no more.      The latest example of our theory is the  BMW X5 xDrive35d, an all wheel drive,turbo diesel powered version of BMW's largest SUV.     There are plenty of sports cars that would run out of breath--and power before the X5 will. It is, without a doubt one of the most exciting rides on the market, never mind the SUV segment. Sure it's heavy. Yes, some of its more advanced technology--especially the electric shifter--might drive you crazy until you get used to it. And it can have its niggles just like any other car you buy. Ours had a balky hatch that simply didn't want to open sometimes. But the lusty sounds coming from the engine--something like the roar of a jet plane coming at you--along with the absolutely pitch perfect,m balanced steering, and the remarkable acceleration, among many other things,  win you over in an instant. Oure tester was a deep sea blue metallic example with a bse price of $51,800. Stndard equipment included a 3.0 liter, 265 horsepower, 24 valve inline six cylinder dual oerhead cam "Twin Power Turbo" diesel which was rated at 19/26, which, as it turns out, is the mileage that Automobile Journal got out of it. The estimated annual fuel cost for the car ios $2,116, based on 15,000 miles of driving at $3.10 a gallon.   Other standard features include dynamic stability control, including brake fade compensation, start off assistant, brake ddrying and brake stand-by features with dynamic traction ontrol and dynamic brake control.  Also standrd: Hill descent control, cruise control, panoramic moonroof, iDrive system with on-board computer and controller and front and rear compartment Hed Proteftoin system with front side impact airbags.        Options on BMW products tend to be quite expensive, and the X5 was no exception.  A premium package, premium sound package, Adaptive Drive, BMW Apps, technology package and a lot of other opptoints brought our final price to a loty $68,025. Expensive, but we would add, "Worth every penny." Handling wise, the X5 goes precisely where you want it to go, with no untoward behavior or body lean. It has to be one of the top handful of SUVs in terms of road-going performance, and the end result is that you have complete confidence in the safety, security and handling aspects of it. For 2011, there are two new gasoline powered engines for the X5. One is a twin-turbo 400-hp V8 shared with the 5 and 7 Series sedans. The other is a  300-hp straight-6 with a  single, twin-scroll turbocharger  that you can also find on the  2011 335i.   Backing up these engines is a new eight-speed automatic. Which reminds us--that electronic  shifter.  The gear change movements you make with it will not necessarily be familiar to you, and you will want to be sure you're in the right gear before you pull away. But the X5 practically has illustrated tutorials on its information center screen, and the explanations for shifting and other matters are more than easy to understand, using words andpictures to gently show you what you did wrong and how to make things work with the next try.  It comes in very handy. There's another thing that BMW gets right on the X5, and we'd be willing to bet it's not something you'd expect from a performance car maker.  The seat belts in the rear seat provide more than ample room to be able to reach over a baby seat and get the belt to go smoothly into its notch.   Any parent who's spent countless minutes trying to get a fussy, squirmy child into a baby seat while you keep trying to reach the belt receptacle--which slips out of your hand in a second in most other cars, or is too close to the sides of the baby seat to be attached smoothly--will deeply appreciate BMW's thoughtfuless here. Overall, hats off to BMW for bringing a fantastic product to the market in the BMW X5 xDrive35d.

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