The BMW X5 or E53 is a mid-sized crossover" SUV that combines features of a truck and a sedan. However, in BMW parlance the X5 is not an SUV, but an SAV a Sports Activity Vehicle. With the X5 series, BMW emphasizes their vehicles' sporty road handling instead of their more obvious sports utility. The successful series is now in its second generation and gets great consumer reviews despite having a less-than-spectacular reputation for the reliability of it electronics. The BMW X5's MSRP has been slightly lowered for the 2011 model year.
The X5 was initially manufactured at BMW's plants in Greer, South Carolina and Toluca, Mexico. As of 2009, the X5s have also been assembled by the Russian carmaker Avtotor in Kaliningrad, Russia. All versions of the BMW X5 have four doors, feature all-wheel drive, and can tow up to 6,000 pounds. Seating capacity is up to seven when a third row is added. The X5 SAVs are sold with manual and automatic transmissions. A variety of gasoline inline-6s, V-8s, and diesel engines can be factory-installed.
The BMW X5 is now in its second generation. The first generation, which includes the 1999-2006 model years, features the same radio, navigation system, rear television option, and telecommunications system found in its Land Rover contemporaries and the BMW E39. The second generation of X5 has BMW's iDrive as standard equipment plus it offers an optional third row of seating. New safety features including a reinforced frame help protect third-row passengers. Additionally, in 2009 a special high-performance BMW X5 M was introduced. The 2010 model year saw minor cosmetic changes to the X5's exterior with the alteration of the air intake system.
Five trims are available for the 2011 model year BMW X5s. They vary by engine type, luxury packages, and iDrive systems. The X5 xDrive35d offers the best fuel economy with an estimated 26 mpg for highway driving. However, it has the least horsepower (256) of any current X5. In contrast, the X5 xDrive50i has a 400 HP engine but has the poorest fuel economy with just 20 mpg on the highway.
For 2011 the X5 Series includes innovative safety features such as Dynamic Stability, a lane departure warning system and Active Cruise Control in addition to more familiar standards including airbags and anti-lock brakes. With its innovative safety package, high passenger capacity and sporty handling, the X5 is a unique option in BMW's lineup. It won a J.D. Power award for consumer satisfaction.
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