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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 BMW X5

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Expert's Rating


MPG 16 City / 23 Highway
  • Powerful and efficient diesel option
  • Smooth ride
  • Good handling for an SUV
  • Luxurious and refined cabin
  • Wide turning circle
  • Questionable reliability history
, Automotive Editor -
Copious amounts of power and torque coupled with BMW's renowned suspension combine to make the X5 feel like a luxury sports sedan--with a commanding view of the road.


BMW took a huge risk in 2000, as it chose to dip its proverbial toes into the SUV pool by releasing the X5. This model afforded customers an alternative to big and bulky SUVs that were simply wrapped in a nice tuxedo, like the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. The X5 combined SUV performance with the refinement that BMW buyers expected. This tradition carries on as the X5 journeys into the 2013 model year.

In 2013, the BMW X5 line comes in five trim levels and they are: xDrive35i, xDrive35i Premium, xDrive35d, xDrive35i Sport Activity and xDrive50i. The entire X5 range comes with all-wheel drive, so buyers never have to worry about getting out of the driveway in bad weather, but the trim levels do change in terms of what’s under the hood and what kind of creature comforts they include.

The xDrive35i starts out the range, featuring a six-cylinder engine, a 6.4-second sprint to 60 mph and basic features expected of a Bimmer. The xDrive35i Premium ads in a few extra goodies inside and outside, but has the same engine and acceleration time as the base model. The xDrive35d adds in a fuel-sipping diesel engine and sees it 60 mph sprint increase to 6.9-seconds. The xDrive35i Sport Activity regains the gasoline-powered six-cylinder engine and 6.4-second sprint to 60 mph. The xDrive35i Sport Activity also adds in some aesthetic features to make it sportier, as well as a few extra comfort items. Finally, the xDrive50i comes in featuring a V-8 engine that gets the X5 to 60 mph in only 5.3 seconds.

In the SUV world, the competition is plentiful. A main competitor of the X5’s is the 2013 Audi Q7, which lacks the top-end punch of the X5, but its lower-end models are more than competitive. Following up the Q7 is the 2013 Mercedes-Benz M-Class, which has the range of engines needed to compete, but gets very pricey when approaching the AMG model. Finally, the Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in as a lesser priced alternative. While the Grand Cherokee SRT8 has the performance to match the xDrive50i, it does, however, lack the refinement of the X5.

The X5 finds itself in a pool of competitors looking to drive X5 buyers to their showrooms, so BMW has to come out swinging to keep customers in its showroom.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 BMW X5
Starting price

2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i

Recommended for: Buyers looking for a luxury SUV at a competitive price

The 2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i starts the X5 lineup off with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower and carries a $47,500 base MSRP. The X5 xDrive35i delivers this power to all four wheels, via BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed automatic transmission. On the outside, the X5 xDrive35i features a Xenon adaptive headlight system with auto leveling, LED headlight rings, intermittent, rain-sensing wipers, matte black roof rails, chrome exhaust tips and 18-by-8.5-inch star spoke wheels wrapped in 255/55R18 tires. Inside the 2013 X5 xDrive35i there are a 10-way power front seats with driver seat memory, split-folding rear seats, leatherette upholstery, three-spoke, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic climate control, and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo system with 10 speakers and a 200-watt amplifier.

2013 BMW X5
Starting price

2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i Premium

Recommended for: Buyers that want extra bells and whistles on the inside

The 2013 BMW X5 xDrive35d replaces the gasoline engine in the previous two trim levels with a 265-horsepower, 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel unit. This adds an extra 3 mpg to the X5’s city and highway fuel economy, bringing it up to 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. With this new engine also comes a new six-speed automatic transmission, but it does boast the same AWD system as the previous trim levels. On the outside of the xDrive35d it features the 18-by-8.5-inch rims wrapped in 255/55R18 rubber, Xenon adaptive headlights with automatic leveling, LED headlight rings, Intermittent rain-sensing wipers, matte black roof rails and chrome exhaust tips. On the inside, the xDrive35d borrows the xDrive35i Premium’s 10-way power driver and passenger seats, power mirrors, and power tilting, telescoping steering wheel. It also features four-way lumbar support, split-folding rear seats, Nevada leather upholstery, panoramic moonroof, automatic climate control, tinted rear glass and ambient lighting.

2013 BMW X5
Starting price

2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i Sport Activity

Recommended for: Buyers that want a sportier look without a huge price increase

The 2013 BMW X5 xDrive35i Sport Activity comes with the same packages and driveline as the xDrive35i Premium, but BMW increased its electronically controlled speed from the 130 mph found on the xDrive35i and xDrive35i Premium to 150 mph. On the exterior of the X5 xDrive35i Sport Activity it features Y-spoke 20-by-10-inch wheels with 275/40R20 rubber on the front and 20-by-11-inch wheels with 315/35R20 tires on the rear, shadowline exterior trim, and titanium-colored air inlets. Inside the xDrive35i Sport Activity tosses in a two-way thigh support to the x35i Premium’s power seats, anthracite headliner and a three-spoke sport steering wheel with all of the same features as the xDrive35i Premium.

2013 BMW X5
Starting price

2013 BMW X5 xDrive50i

Recommended for: Buyers that are looking for peak performance from a family-friendly crossover SUV

The 2013 BMW X5 xDrive50i is the range topper within the X5 lineup. It comes with a 400-horsepower, 4.4-liter V-8 engine that hooks up to the same transmission and driveline as all of the other X5’s, except the xDrive35d. This trim level features star spoke 18-by-8.5-inch wheels with 255/55R18 tires, xenon adaptive headlights with auto-level, LED headlight-rings, intermittent rain-sensing windshield wipers and matte black roof rails on the outside. Inside of the xDrive50i trim features 10-way power-adjustable driver and passenger seat with driver side memory system, power steering wheel, power mirrors, four-way lumbar support, Nevada-leather-wrapped interior, burled-walnut trim, panoramic moonroof, auto climate control and the same stereo system as the rest of the X5 range.

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