2007 BMW X5 - Introduction
BMW X5 – Photo Gallery: When it arrives in late November, the 2007 BMW X5 will up the ante for the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) segment with a more powerful, 260-horsepower inline six, an available 350-horsepower V8, a new six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission, a newly third-row seat that pushes seating capacity to seven, enthusiast goodies like Active Steering and AdaptiveDrive, and a more muscular appearance. What buyers won't find is last year's manual transmission, a third-row seat that's terribly spacious, or what would seem to be a must on any SAV – paddle shifters. Even so, those few points aren't enough to dull the shine of this remarkable vehicle, one that starts between at $46,595.
2007 BMW X5 – Made in America
Whatever you do, don't call the 2007 BMW X5 an SUV. No, it's an SAV, or Sports Activity Vehicle, a leader in its segment that's built right here in the U.S (Spartanburg, South Carolina to be precise). Since making its debut seven years ago, BMW has gone on to sell nearly 600,000 of these home-built SAVs, attracting a range of buyers with six- and eight-cylinder engines, manual and automatic transmissions, a promise of the brand's Ultimate Driving Machine character, and amenities expected from a premium vehicle.
2007 BMW X5 – 3.0si features
BMW sells the 2007 X5 in two variations: 3.0si and 4.8i. Starting at $46,595 (including destination), the 2007 BMW 3.0si offers buyers a 260-horsepower six-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive traction, a heated washer system joined with rain-sensing wipers, 18-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tires, a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel with memory, dual front power seats with memory and leatherette upholstery, and BMW's much-discussed iDrive central control. However, the $46,000+ price also delivers dual-zone climate control, a 205-watt sound system with an MP3 player and dual subwoofers, six airbags, and possibly the vehicles best selling point – free scheduled maintenance spanning four years or 50,000 miles.
2007 BMW X5 – 3.0si options
Options on the 3.0si include ventilated front seats with massage; a Cold Weather Package; a Premium Package; a Rear Climate Package; a power liftgate; various interior wood treatments; a navigation system with real-time traffic information; high definition radio; third row seats; a heads-up display; and a host of other goodies you'd expect on a premium SU…uh, sorry…SAV, like a rear DVD system, a camera-assisted parking system, Bluetooth connectivity, and more. All great stuff, but most impressive might be the Sport Package with its 19-inch wheels, sport seats, and BMW's AdaptiveDrive sophisticated sport suspension. Plus, the Sport Package is your ticket to the Active Steering option, which is a must-have for any X5.
007 BMW X5 – 4.8i
With all that's offered on the X5 3.0si, there would seem to be little reason to consider the 4.8i model, especially considering its $55,195 base price. That's true, until you consider the 4.8i's 350-horsepower V8 and additional standard features such as a rear automatic air suspension, premium leather seats, walnut interior accents, and larger brakes. Options generally mirror those of the 3.0si, with the exception of no-cost poplar or bamboo wood trim (swapping out the standard walnut) and optional 20-inch alloy wheels.
2007 BMW X5 – 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine
With the 2007 X5 3.0si, BMW carries on with an engine that countless fans have come to associate with the brand – the inline six. In this case, it's a 24-valve, dual overhead cam engine composed of magnesium and aluminum and featuring variable-valve timing. The use of relatively light materials helped engineers shave 22 pounds versus the 3.0-liter engine used in the 2006 X5, and also provided for marginal fuel economy gains (EPA-rated 17 mpg city, 23 mpg highway). Horsepower has jumped from 2006's 225 to 260 for 2007, achieved at 6,600 rpm. Torque has also increased, measuring 225 lb.-ft. at 2,750 rpm versus last year's 214 lb.-ft. at 3,500 rpm.
2007 BMW X5 – Six-speed Steptronic transmission
Last year's six-speed manual transmission, a rare treat for enthusiasts in a segment almost completely dominated by automatics, has been dropped for 2007, as has the five-speed automatic. The only available transmission this year is a six-speed Steptronic automatic, which features regular, manual, and sport modes, though paddle shifters are absent. As with the BMW 7 Series and various products from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, the X5's shifter isn't moved down through the gears in a traditional way. Instead, it's a drive-by-wire system, with slight clicks of the knob serving to electronically change gears. It takes some getting used to, and seems like another possible case of technology for the sake of technology.
2007 BMW X5 – 4.2-liter V8
Fit under the X5 4.8i's hood is a 32-valve, dual overhead cam V8 with variable-valve timing that pushes 350 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 350 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,400 rpm. EPA-rated fuel economy measures 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway (during our evaluation we recorded 14 mpg). The 315-horsepower 4.4-liter V8 offered for 2006 has been dropped, and the six-speed Steptronic automatic is the sole transmission, which has been designed to provide quicker shifts and works with the drive-by-wire throttle to lessen lag.
2007 BMW X5 - Performance
BMW estimates a 7.8-second 0-60 mph run for the 3.0si, and a very respectable 6.4 seconds for the 4.8i, with top speeds maxing out at 130 and 150 mph, respectively. Not bad for a rig that tows up to 6,000 pounds and weighs about two and a half tons. That portly figure is part of the reason the X5 wears capable disc brakes (larger and vented for 2007) which are upsized about 15mm for the 4.8i. They're backed by ABS, electronic brake distribution and brake assistance systems, as well as all of BMW's leading edge brake technology – cornering brake control, brake fade compensation, brake standby, and brake drying.
2007 BMW X5 - Suspension
BMW engineers are obviously focused on braking and acceleration, but they've also spent plenty of time on the 2007 X5's ride and handling. All versions benefit from xDrive all-wheel drive, traction control, hill descent control, and BMW's Dynamic Stability Control system (DSC-X). Hardware includes a speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering assembly, 18-inch alloy wheels rolling on 255/55 run-flat tires, an all-new double-wishbone front suspension, and a multi-link rear setup including coils on the 3.0si and air springs on the 4.8i with its automatic load-leveling suspension.
2007 BMW X5 – Active Steering
Available, though not standard hardware includes Active Steering and AdaptiveDrive. Active Steering is an electronic system that gives responsive steering a whole new meaning. When ordered without this technology, the X5 driver may need to rotate the steering wheel a full turn to get the intended result; with Active Steering, the response is more direct, meaning the wheel must be turned just a fraction of the original distance elicit the same result. As speeds top 55 mph, when too much steering input could be hazardous, the system becomes less direct. Similarly, AdaptiveDrive, operated by a button next to the shifter, gauges current driving conditions and adjusts stabilizer bars and shock stiffness as necessary.
2007 BMW X5 – Third row seat
Most notable among the design changes for 2007 is the X5's new optional third row seat, which bumps total passenger capacity up to seven. It's suitable only for kids or small adults, and despite the inclusion of a second row passenger seat that slides and tilts forward for easier access as well as an overhead grab handle, one that requires some finagling to reach. Our five-foot-eight-inch editor had enough head room, but was rubbing his knees against the second row's hard seatback. However, he did praise the third row for its contoured shape and sufficient padding, not to mention the adjustable headrests and small armrests.
2007 BMW X5 – Front and second row seats
The front and second row seats were expectedly better than the optional third row, with the driver and front passenger getting supportive and spacious buckets, padded armrests, and triple-setting heat. Above, the optional glass sunroof opens wide, and may be the next best thing to a convertible SAV. Getting into the second row requires a small hop for shorter riders, though once seated they'll appreciate the comfort. The driver benefits from a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel and a shifter that is within perfect reach when resting an elbow on the armrest. With the new electronic transmission, engineers were able to make the shifter smaller, thus allowing room for larger console-mounted cupholders.
2007 BMW X5 - Specs
To accommodate the optional third row seat, the 2007 BMW X5's length has been extended about seven inches over the 2006 model. Furthermore, the wheelbase has grown by more than four inches, the width by more than two inches, the height by two-tenths of an inch, and the front and rear tracks by three and 2.2 inches, respectively. Curb weight has jumped up about 300 pounds. That equates to 4,982 lbs. for the 3.0si and 5,335 lbs. for the X5 4.8i.
2007 BMW X5 - Controls
Standard equipment on the 2007 BMW X5 includes iDrive, which incorporates controls functions for primary components like the radio and climate control system. It's been simplified, but is still often too complicated to focus on while driving, and is best considered a time-killer for bored passengers. We prefer the basic radio controls on the instrument panel and steering wheel, which are blessedly simple and get the job done. Same goes for the climate control – we'll use the archaic dash buttons, thank you very much. Technology is great when it's beneficial and intuitive – from our perspective, iDrive continues to fall short on both counts.
2007 BMW X5 - Exterior
Of course, the BMW X5's appearance has also been tweaked for 2007. The front fascia has been massaged and sits below revised headlights, which in turn feed into fenders featuring more aggressive flares. Flanks are accented by a distinct crease, updated mirror housings, a sharp inward curvature at the bottom of the doors, and muscular rear wheel wheels. Out back is another reworked fascia and a split tailgate comprised of an upward-swing lid and a lower folding tailgate. There's less space between the taillights and lower edge of the rear glass, and the fold-down tailgate has eliminated the need for a pronounced bumper step.
2007 BMW X5 - Interior
Inside the 2007 BMW X5 is a new three-spoke steering wheel, updated door panels that lose the big grab handles, and a less blocky dash design. Most of the materials are of high quality, including rich leather, a mesh material on the headliner and upper pillars, soft-touch plastics on areas most often touched, alloy and rubber on the dials, and premium carpeting. The visors, wrapped in cheap plastic, are the only parts that appear out of place.
Photos courtesy of BMW