Tag Links: BMW, X5, Diesel, AWD, LCI


Let me start by saying that I appreciate reading Autospies.

com and have learned a great deal from this site. My previous BMWs have been an E36M3 and E83 X3 3.0 sport.

Now on the review... I've broken it by mostly options and features so here goes:

Base sound
If you were born on an island and only ate coconuts, you would think that coconuts are the tastiest, best food out there. That's how I feel about having the base sound package as I never had the opportunity to hear either sound packages. I don't find the base sound to be terrible. I do wish there were more adjustments on the frequencies instead of treble or bass only. I'm ready to buy the Bavarian Sound Works Stage I if it happens in the next three years :-)

This is my first diesel car and all I can say is Wow! Diesel + SAV is a great combination. I get good gas mileage (about 22 city/hwy combined), gobs of torque, and towing capability. I realize that the price of diesel vs. premium petrol may offset any savings but I don't really care. I like the fuel efficiency and the throw-you-in-the-back torque. I do wish there was a mated 8 speed automatic but maybe next time.

I have a theory why BMW is discounting diesel models - it's because they are more fuel efficient and will increase BMW USA overall fuel efficiency as a car maker. Promoting higher gas mileage as a car maker is good for marketing and probably to the politicians, IMO.

The third iteration of software or electronics always seems to be the sweet spot and the iDrive falls under this category. Although I've never owned iDrive 1.0 or 2.0, I did read a lot of reviews and the complaints were always the same. I really like the iDrive system and prefer it over a touch screen format. Touch screens have the obvious issue of dirty fingerprints on the screen. I also feel it is a greater distraction from your eyes on the road b/c you must ensure your finger touches the right screen choice.

No auto-switching for night/day mode especially with all this technology in our BMWs is shameful at best. Fortunately, the night mode (black) theme works great in daytime. I haven't figured out how to program night/day switching but have programmed different range settings (800ft, 1mi, 2.5mi, etc). I really enjoy the widescreen view of the navigation and although it doesn't compare with a Garmin, I don't think the X5 looks right w/o navigation and a small iDrive display.

Where are the LED Corona Rings?
The 2011 X5 is a Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) and has been marketed to have the LED corona rings AKA Angel Eyes yet they are still being built with standard halogen ones. I'm thinking some part supplier has excess inventory of regular AEs or the BMW penny pinchers are saving the pennies. What pisses me off the most is that in all the marketing pictures and blog reviews of the X5s they had in Miami had the LED AEs. Someone on a forum said they saw LED AEs in their build list but they are clearly not being built with them yet.

Non-Sport package
I seriously considered the sport package with the 20" wheels but decided against it (big regret, trying to save the pennies). I think the 20" wheels make the X5 look the best but I am happy with 18s with non-run flats for now.

Rear Entertainment
We have a two month and two year old and my oldest loves watching DVDs and it keeps her quiet plus our sanity. The screen quality is good and I'm sorta glad it's on the center because my oldest likes to kick the back of the seats. If there were LCD screens on the seats (maybe not headrest) they would be broken by now. My interest was piqued with the two iPad thing but I want true system integration with BMW and not jailbreak/3rd party.

One thing I dislike about the RE is you cannot control the movies from the front. This means I have to either use the remote or my wife controls the thing in the back. I wish iDrive could control things from the front.

Rear Climate
The rear tint is not that dark (seems lighter than my last X3 factory tint) so I had an additional layer of tint put on the rear [URL="http://picasaweb.google.com/rpollak/Zaino#"]pics here[/URL]. I have two little children so the rear climate knobs will probably become more of a toy than functionality. Fortunately, I can lock the settings via iDrive. In hindsight, I probably could have skipped rear climate and used the savings for the sport package.

Comfort access
Why is it $500 on other models and $1,000 on the X? When a Nissan Altima comes with keyless start, it should be time BMW simply has this as standard especially for a $50k plus car. Seriously, I don't think any of us would cry if BMW raised the MSRP by $500 and had CA as standard.


* Excellent fuel efficiency for a 5K pound SUV
* iDrive 3.0 is great
* Excellent handling even w/o sport package


* Some options should already be standard
* 3rd row seats are worthless for adults.
* Where are the LED AEs?

What I would like to see in a future X5

* Comfort Access should be standard.
* Real 3rd row (do an X7 if it makes the vehicle too large) with spare tire option availabe
* Roof rails and spare tire should be a no cost delete.
* Offer 4.0 diesel similar how there are two different petrol models.

2011 BMW X5 xDrive 35d Review

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