There is something to be said for being one of the first to enter a new classification of cars.  The Ford Explorer and its success can be at least partially attributable to the fact that it was basically the first family SUV.  The Beetle was hugely popular as one of the first fun-to-drive hatchbacks.  The same can be said about the success of the BMW X5, one of the first luxury SUVs.

For people with some money to spend, with the desire to handle all weather conditions, and with the need for excellent handling like a sport sedan, the BMW X5 delivered in the past and continues to deliver today.  If you are looking at the X5s main competition then you should test-drive the Acura MDX, the Infiniti QX60, the Range Rover Sport and the Porsche Cayenne.  All have some serious game and all are excellent choices.

The BMW X5 comes in three trim levels, the 35i, the 35d, and the 50i.  All three trims come with all-wheel drive.  The 35i and the 35d come with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower.  They are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.  The 50i comes with a 4.4-liter V8 engine good for 445 horsepower.  The 35d has an EPA estimate of 27 mpg, which is very, very impressive in this classification.  It was clocked from 0-60 in 6.7 seconds.  The 50i, meanwhile, is estimated at 17 mpg combined and was timed from 0-60 in a very fast 4.9 seconds.  In other words, there is no power shortage here.

In safety, the X5 earned top scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  It features stability control, traction control, automatic brake drying, a plethora of airbags, antilock brakes and active head restraints.  There are also features like Assist and Remote Services and rearview cameras that add to its safe history and reputation.  In braking tests, the X5 went from 60-0 in 122 feet, an average distance for luxury SUVs.

Standard features include 18-inch wheels, xenon headlights, LED foglights, power-folding auto-dimming mirrors, sunroof, power liftgate, roof rails parking sensors, heated seats and much, much more.

For close to fifteen years now, the BMW X5 has set the standard for luxury SUVs.  It’s very hard to ignore that kind of track record.  Great handling, a sporty drive, ample cargo space and a responsive engine…that is a winning combination.

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