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2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i Review

The BMW X5 was one of the first premium Sport Utility Vehicles on the market, and it’s still one of the most successful -- even if BMW would prefer you call it a Sports Activity Vehicle or SAV.

What’s in a name anyways?

My tester wore the “xDrive35i” badge indicating the presence of its automatic all-wheel drive system and entry-level, 3.0L engine. Key competitors include the Audi Q7, Lexus RX, and Mercedes ML.

What is a BMW X5?
With one-of-a-kind looks, there’s a sense of occasion and undeniable presence to the X5 on the road. When you roll up, you’ll be doing it in one of the most instantly recognizable machines in its segment.

The X5 exists within that segment in much the same way as most of its competitors: with 5- or 7-passenger seating, 6- or 8-cylinder power, four-wheel drive, an available diesel engine, and a slew of upscale, high-tech features designed to enhance safety and the driving experience itself.

2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i Price and Specs
Power came from BMW’s 3.0L straight-6 engine with twin-power turbo technology good for 300 horsepower in standard form. An optionally installed “M Performance Upgrade” package pushed that figure slightly upwards, turning in 315 horsepower and a robust 330 lb-ft of torque.

A variety of fuel-saving implements from the BMW engineering department were on board as standard, including an 8-speed automatic, on-demand oil and water pumps, direct injection and extensive use of lightweight aluminum construction. It all helped me measure a real-life average consumption of 11.2L/100km overall. I’m familiar with burning fuel at similar rates in smaller and less-powerful sport ute models.

The 2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i starts at $61,800 and with my M Sport Package upgrades stipped the scale at $72,200.

Driving the 2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i
On the highway, the X5’s ride stays largely quiet and feels firm and locked-on. Add in the commanding forward view, generous all-around space, and slew of automatic and voice-activated features and you have a confident, relaxed driving experience that’s perfect for long-haul highway travels.

In tighter quarters, the multi-angle parking cameras with dynamic guidelines help make finding and entering a parking space a cinch for the parking-challenged, though the amusingly tight turning circle should prove adequate for most.

The 3.0L engine in the 2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i turns out plenty of sauce for a jaunt down a camp road, highway, boulevard or anything in between. It’s gentle and almost imperceptible when you use the output numbers sparingly, and it hauls the big X5 around in a jiff with lovely sounds when you don’t.

Primarily, my tester’s M Sport package fits a sport-tuned suspension calibration alongside larger wheels and high-performance, low-profile tires. This makes for some entertaining handling on off-ramps and winding highway stretches. It also robs the X5 of a decent ride on rough surfaces. As expected, my tester often proved uncomfortable, jarring, and harsh when driven down my cottage road, which is covered in gravel and washboards. Skip the M Sport package if you’re planning on regularly taking on similar driving conditions.

Second, the heavy, dense and locked-on steering feel is present at all speeds -- even the sort you’ll use in a parking lot. As a result, the easy steering manipulation you’ll find in comparable models while parking is not present here.

Other notes? The performance from the xenon lights in after-dark driving is magnificent. Combined with the easy-to-read Head-Up Display (HUD), eye fatigue on a number of lengthy, late-night drives is virtually eliminated.

Inside and Out of the 2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i
Owners and their families should have no issue with storage space thanks, in no small part, to the generous cargo area, the hidden storage bin beneath it, and the assortment of cubbies and compartments within the cabin that help occupants stay organized on the go. I loved the massive glove-box which had plenty of room to keep my beloved SLR camera secure and out of sight.

I also appreciated the tester’s formal, laid-back interior design. Simple luxury, no display screens and control consoles that take the visual centre stage here. Flashier, more high-tech cabins exist, though drivers after a calm and peaceful interior design should be happy in a 2013 BMW X5.

Finally, some drivers may find entry and exit slightly awkward due to the shape of the 2013 BMW X5’s door opening, the height of its seat, and the thickness of its floor and door-sill.

Comparing the 2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i
When the X5 first hit the market, only a handful of premium sport utes existed. Today, the posh-ute marketplace has become one of the most competitive in the premium vehicle scene.

The X5, compared with much of its competition, stands out primarily for its confident and stable handling, distinctive looks and presence, and availability with a slew of remarkable features.

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Review Highlights

    2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i
    bmw x5 2013
    2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i
    Review this Vehicle
    Styling
    Accessories
    Space and Access
    Comfort
    Performance
    Driving Dynamics
    Safety
    General Appreciation
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    Email
    Comment
    Password
    Forgot your password? Click here
    Cancel