As luxury SUVs go, the BMW X5 was one of the first to combine the height and versatility of an SUV with the ride and handling of a performance sedan. While other manufacturers may have improved on the concept, the 2013 X5 remains relevant, offering a wide variety of models, engines and features, all with that unmatchable BMW driving edge.
You'll Like The 2013 BMW X5 If...
If you crave the kind of handling BMW sedans and wagons offer in spades, but you need it in a larger, more accommodating package that can also tackle winter's worst, the 2013 BMW X5 has you covered.
You May Not Like The 2013 BMW X5 If...
The BMW X5's aggressive ride and handling come with a price, namely the forfeiture of a smooth ride. You can find the same electrifying performance specs from the newly-released Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 and a more luxurious ride from Audi's Q7.
Changes to the 2013 BMW X5 consist mainly of a reshuffled optional-equipment list. The M Performance Package is now available on the xDrive35i Sport Activity and xDrive50i with M Sport Package. The Premium Sound Package is reduced to $950, while the Active Ventilated Seat Package is renamed the Luxury Seating Package.
In "growing" the brand, BMW expanded X5 cargo capacity via a longer and higher body in combination with a lower cargo floor. Rear seats fold flat, and an optional third row is available. That third row is best reserved for children; BMW's target demographic for the 2013 X5 SUV is young families. The cockpit is oriented to the driver, while a generous greenhouse provides excellent outward visibility. Regrettably (given its starting price), leatherette is the standard seating material for both the xDrive35i and xDrive35d. The handy 2-piece tailgate provides easy access to the rear compartment.
The 2013 BMW X5 somehow manages to hide its bulk with a series of clever angles and rounded edges. These cues, in combination with a longish wheelbase and short overhangs, give the new X5 a visual athleticism not evident on the previous generation. Eighteen-inch wheels (standard) contribute to a planted stance, while both 19-inch and 20-inch wheels are available for those wanting an even more aggressive look – and more aggressive on-road capability.
With a sophisticated suspension, excellent braking, communicative steering and at least 300 horsepower, the 2013 BMW X5 – in any of its iterations – provides a compelling testament to BMW's engineering prowess. No amount of engineering, however, can completely disguise the X5's mass, some 5,000 pounds in basic xDrive35i form. This remains a Sport Activity Vehicle and not, notably, a sport sedan; care should be given to operate an SUV in a more conservative manner than a sport sedan or Sports/GT. If you demand a combination of "sport" and "utility," few will deliver that combo more credibly than BMW's X5.
The 2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $48,000. The X5 Premium begins at roughly $56,000, while the X5 Sport Activity is over $58,500. Adding V8 power elevates the window sticker some $7,000 (to over $65,000), and the X5 M is above $89,000 and easily surpasses six figures with all options. A random showroom sampling revealed an xDrive35i Premium with $4,200 of optional equipment; with destination, the MSRP was around $60,000. The competitors include entries ranging from Acura's MDX to Audi's Q7. At the performance end, the Infiniti FX and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 also give the BMW X5 a run for its money. In most instances, the X5 SUV reflects both good value and excellent resale. Be sure to check Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price to see what consumers are actually paying in your market area.
All X5 models enjoy a generous level of standard equipment. The 2013 X5 xDrive35i includes xDrive all-wheel drive (no 2WD variants offered), Hill Descent Control, 18-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, 3-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel, 10-way power-adjustable driver's and passenger's seats, iDrive system with on-board computer and controller and AM/FM stereo with 205 watts transmitted through 10 speakers. This, of course, is above and beyond the dynamic capabilities standard on every BMW. The X5 xDrive35d brings to the table 4-cylinder efficiency, prodigious torque and a third-row seat. Finally, both the X5 xDrive50i and X5 M have stupendous performance.
The base X5 xDrive35i is notable for the number of options not available. A Convenience Package includes the panoramic moonroof, while navigation, heated front seats, a third-row seat and satellite radio can be ordered separately. Choose the X5 xDrive35i Premium model and your variables expand exponentially. A Luxury Seating Package, Cold Weather Package, Premium Sound Package and Convenience Package are just a few of the options you can include on your new X5. The M Performance Package adds 15 horsepower to the 6-cylinder trim and 40 horsepower to the V8 model.
Offering 265 horsepower and a stump-pulling 425 lb-ft of torque, BMW's Advanced Diesel is the perfect engine for the times. It delivers acceleration from zero to 60 mph in under seven seconds and has an EPA highway fuel-economy number of 26 mpg.
xDrive FULL-TIME ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
With limited ground clearance and all-season tires, the 2013 X5 has few off-road aspirations, but it does have one of the best all-weather, all-wheel-drive systems available, which electronically varies front-to-rear torque and traction control to optimize grip.
Under the Hood
As with most purchases, the decision is finalized by balancing your needs, your wants and your budget. The great thing about BMW's engine mix is that not one of them sacrifices performance; even the slowest, BMW's 3.0-liter turbodiesel, accelerates from a stop to 60 mph in under seven seconds. If you should want to stretch the envelope to its max, opt for the X5 M. This variant (of the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8) offers no less than 555 horsepower.
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (xDrive35i)
300 horsepower @ 5,800-6,250 rpm
300 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg
3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-6 (xDrive35d)
265 horsepower @ 4,200 rpm
425 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (xDrive50i)
400 horsepower @ 5,500-6,400 rpm
450 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 mpg
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (X5 M)
555 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
500 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-5,650 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/17 mpg
Although no longer the only sport-oriented SUV on the market, the 2013 BMW X5 remains true to its original formula. Where others have grown larger, the X5 retains its modest size and seating arrangement. And, while many SUVs have moved to deliver a softer ride with compromised handling, the BMW X5 for 2013 retains, for better or worse, the same firm steering, aggressive handling and notoriously stiff ride. The X5's various trims cover a wide range, from the entry-level 6-cylinder X5 xDrive35i to the performance oriented xDrive50i with the M Performance Package to the tire-smoking X5 M. Due to a late introduction last year, the diesel-powered xDrive35d will continue as a 2012 until late in the 2013 model year.