Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2002 BMW X5 Overview
Possibly the Best Performance-Oriented SUV on the Market
BMW calls the X5 an SAV or Sports Activity Vehicle. Whatever you call it, the X5 represents the opposite end of the rugged off-road SUV spectrum, choosing instead to appeal to its owners need for luxury, power and handling. For 2002, BMW ups the ante with the addition of the X5 4.6is, a 340- horsepower version of the X5 that clocks a 0-60 time of 6.2 seconds.
The X5 is available with your choice of a 3.0-liter V6, potent 4.4-liter V8 or a G-force inducing 4.6-liter V8. Although the V8 models are more expensive, they prove a better choice for moving the X5's 4800-pounds around town. Acceleration from a standing start is brisk and there is plenty of passing power on tap but it comes with a steep price in the form of poor fuel economy. In combined city/highway driving, we averaged between 13 and 15 mpg with four adults and gear onboard. The X5 also requires premium fuel, although if you can afford the high price of a fully loaded X5, the cost to fill the tank is probably not a concern.
On the open road, the BMW returns mixed reviews. The large tires (20-inch on the 4.6is) and heavy suspension easily make this one of the best handling SUVs on the road, but the trade-off is a noticeably rough ride. Unless the pavement below is country club smooth, the X5's ride dynamics are more akin to those of a solid axle truck rather than independent rear-suspension vehicle. Those same enormous tires contribute heavily to the high noise levels inside the cabin, again not something one would expect at this price. The X5's steering is heavily weighted and extremely tight, requiring only slight inputs to change direction. The 5-speed automatic transmission shifts flawlessly and includes a Steptronic clutchless manual-shift option for those that like to row their own gears.
Inside, the X5 surrounds its occupants with thoughtful touches and electronic assists. Even the tilt-steering wheel is electrically operated. The front seats are marvelously comfortable but the rear bench felt more like an afterthought than an extension of the comfortable front buckets. The X5 has one of the best sound systems we have heard to date and features, straight-forward controls that only posed a problem when exposed to sunlight, which caused them to fade from view. The tall rear-seat headrests and wide C-pillars make for poor rear visibility but the large side mirrors do have a wide viewing area and automatically angle down when the vehicle is placed in reverse.
To summarize, the X5 is stylish, powerful and fun to drive, but if you are expecting a luxury car ride more inline with a BMW sedan, you will be disappointed. If you go to test drive the X5, spend more than just a few minutes driving it around the block and really get a feel for what this vehicle can do.