BMW X5 is fast, comfortable, and prestigious. It delivers superb handling and excellent performance. X5's straight-line and freeway manners are great. It feels stable, the steering is precise, and the ride is smooth. The V8 engines provide plenty of power, making the X5 faster in the race away from traffic lights than most cars. For 2003, X5 is more luxurious and better-equipped. Last year's new 4.6is model took SUV performance to new heights, with a powerful V8 that delivered 0 to 60 mph times in the 6.5-second range. That's quick, but 4.6is is also fast: On paper, it's capable of nearly 150 mph, though we don't recommend driving a vehicle this tall that fast. Massive tires contribute to impressive cornering grip and stopping power. Logically, the X5 makes little sense. It is not highly capable off road, at least not when measured against other sport-utilities. X5 offers less cargo capacity than a BMW 5 Series wagon and its high floor makes loading cargo more challenging. Though it handles well for an SUV, its weight means it does not offer the quick transient response of a sport sedan or sport wagon in the same price range. As compared to other BMWs, X5 is not the ultimate driving machine. Logic may not be a factor at here, however. X5 is sporty, stylish and upscale. That twin-kidney grille indicates a successful owner. It also indicates BMW's reputation for quality and driving excitement. It works well in foul weather, and easily negotiates muddy trails. Inside, it's luxurious and comfortable. It also offers the command seating position many people like. Perhaps those are among the reasons X5 sales are so strong. BMW sold 42,742 X5s in 2002, up from 2001. For 2003, all X5 models feature brake lights that illuminate quickly and more intensely under hard braking. Adjustable ride height is now available on 3.0i and 4.4i models with the Sport Package. The tires that come with the 4.4i Sport Package have been upgraded from H-rated to V-rated, and the electronic speed limiter is now deleted with this package, lifting top speed from 128 to 143 mph (though, again, we don't recommend traveling at those velocities). Interior leather is smoother for 2003. Onboard navigation is functionally improved and now features a DVD database. And the rear-seat Head Protection System (HPS) is now standard, a very important feature.