For years BMW used the advertising slogan “The ultimate driving machine”, so when it introduced the X5, its first SUV, in 2000, many enthusiasts were dismayed at such a betrayal. How could BMW build a car so at odds with all it stood for? But of course we shouldn’t have worried; BMW’s new 4×4 was virtually as great to drive as the car maker’s class-leading 5-series.
The X5 was launched in March 2000 with a 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine only; within six months there was also a 3-litre straight-six petrol but it wouldn’t be until March 2001 that the 3-litre six-pot diesel would arrive. The latter powerplant would become the unit of choice for the model’s duration but if you’re looking to buy a used X5, don’t be too hasty to take the diesel route. The petrol V8 offers more relaxed cruising, better towing ability and not necessarily massively inferior fuel consumption, as the 3.0d has to work hard in the heavy X5.
Engine: 2993cc, 6 cylinders
Power: 218bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque: 369 lb ft @ 2000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed auto
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 8.3sec
Top speed: 130mph
Fuel: 32.8mpg combined
Dimensions: L 4665mm, W 1870mm, H 1715mm