Premium midsize SUV; Built in Germany
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $13,700 – $61,500*

2008 BMW X5

2008 BMW X5

2008 BMW X5

2008 BMW X5

  • Acceleration
  • Cargo room
  • Controls/Materials
  • Seat comfort
  • Steering/handling
  • Fuel economy (except diesel)
  • Instruments/controls (navigation)
  • Seat comfort (third row)

BMW’s X5 excels for its fine balance of ride quality and sporty handling. Credit BMW for simplifying key functions in its iDrive control system, inducing less frustration than systems in some other models. However, the navigation system is confounding, the available third-row seat is a mere token gesture, and X5s have been pricey when new, particularly in V8 form. That price premium has been partially offset by strong resale values-which is not necessarily good news for used-BMW buyers.


BMW redesigned the larger of its two sport-utility vehicles for 2007, making it bigger and adding the possibility of seven-passenger seating. Compared to the 2006 models, the 2007 X5 was 4.5 inches longer in wheelbase, 7.4 inches longer overall, 2.4 inches wider, and 2 inches taller. This premium midsize all-wheel-drive SUV was offered in two models. The 3.0si had a 260-horsepower inline six-cylinder engine, which replaced the 225-hp 3.0i. The 4.8i held a 350-horsepower, 4.8-liter V8, replacing the 315-hp 4.4i. Both came only with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Standard seating was for five, but an optional third-row seat expanded capacity to seven. Each X5 had all-wheel drive without low-range gearing, traction/antiskid control with rollover sensors, and hill descent control. Front side airbags were standard, as were curtain side airbags that covered the first two seating rows and included rollover deployment. All X5s had steering-linked xenon headlights and BMW’s iDrive that used a single knob to control entertainment, communication, navigation, and climate functions.

An available Sport Package included a driver-adjustable suspension and BMW’s Active Roll Stabilization, which countered body lean. BMW’s Active Steering, designed to quicken low-speed steering response, was optional. Other options included a navigation system, head-up instrument display, DVD entertainment, a rearview camera with front/rear obstacle detection, and BMW Assist concierge service with wireless cell phone linkage. With the X5, BMW competed against such premium SUVs as the Acura MDX, Cadillac SRX, Lexus RX, and Volvo XC90.

Yearly Updates

2008 X5
Only minor changes in equipment and options were applied to BMW’s larger SUV for 2008. A panoramic sunroof was standard, and a power tailgate became optional.
2009 X5
The 2009 BMW X5 lineup gained a new diesel model, as well as new trim-level designations. The xDrive30i replaced the 3.0si and carried a 260-hp 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine. The xDrive48i replaced the 4.8i and had a 350-hp 4.8-liter V8. Added midyear was xDrive35d, which had a 265-hp 3.0-liter turbodiesel that was emissions legal in all 50 states.
2010 X5
The 2010 BMW X5 lineup gained a high-performance M model with a 555-horsepower 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8.
2011 X5
The 2011 BMW X5 lineup saw several changes, including slightly freshened styling and a couple of new powertrains. The xDrive35i had a 300-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine. It replaced a 260-horsepower inline 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine. The xDrive50i had a 400-horsepower turbocharged 4.4-liter V8, which replaced a 350-horsepower 4.8-liter V8. Both these X5 models got an 8-speed automatic transmission.
2012 X5
There were no changes of note to the 2012 BMW X5.
2013 X5
There were no major changes to the 2013 BMW X5.


longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive

BMW’s X5 has come in several distinct flavors based largely on engine type. The 3.0si (later xDrive 30i) held a 260-hp, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine. The 4.8i (later xDrive 48i) had a 350-horsepower 4.8-liter V8. Added for 2009 was the xDrive 35d with a 265-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel. Added for 2010 was the M5, with a 555-horsepower 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. All models used a six-speed automatic transmission. For 2011, the xDrive35i got a 300-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine to replace the 260-horsepower inline 3.0-liter six. The xDrive50i got a 400-horsepower turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 to replace the 350-horsepower 4.8-liter V8. These X5 models got an 8-speed automatic transmission.

dohc I61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/182
Engine HP 260
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 225
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic


Turbodiesel dohc I6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0
Engine HP 265
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 425
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic


Turbocharged dohc I6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/182
Engine HP 300
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 300
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
8-speed automatic


dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.8/293
Engine HP 350
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 350
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic



Turbocharged dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.4/268
Engine HP 400
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 450
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
8-speed automatic


Turbocharged dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.4/268
Engine HP 555
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 500
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic


EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

We have not yet had an opportunity to drive the x35i or x50i. Earlier 3-liter sixes have more than adequate power for most needs. The 4.8 V8 is not fast off the line, but builds speed quickly for good high-speed response. BMW says the 4.8 can accelerate to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, but it doesn’t feel that quick. Testers have complained about nonlinear throttle response, but not the V8’s smooth, strong power-especially for high-speed passing. X5 M is one of the most potent SUVs you can buy, and throttle response of its turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 is much more linear than that of the 4.8 V8. The 35d diesel nearly matches the 4.8 V8’s power, plus enjoys more direct throttle response. Regardless of engine, the transmission shifts smoothly with alert downshifts.

A test X5 4.8i averaged 13.9 to 14.8 mpg in a mix of city/highway driving. All X5 gas engines require premium-grade gasoline. An xDrive 35d averaged a good-for-the-class 23.7 mpg on diesel fuel.

With the standard 18-inch tires, the ride is comfortable and controlled. The available Sport Package and 19-inch tires are borderline harsh, with much bounding over sharp bumps and jiggling over rough pavement. Despite its wide, high-performance 20-inch tires, X5 M is no more firm than other models equipped with the Sport Package. Indeed, some testers find the M has a better ride.

Outstanding balance, grip, and steering feel actually make the X5 seem more like a sport sedan than an SUV. Expect minimal body lean in turns, especially with the Sport Package. Curiously, models with Active Steering require surprising effort to turn the wheel at low speeds. Strong brakes have excellent pedal feel.

Though pleasantly quiet overall, some engine noise and coarse-surface tire thrum intrude on the X5 experience. The Sport Package’s 19-inch tires are not noticeably louder than the standard 18-inchers. BMW’s diesel is louder than competitors’ in acceleration, but fades into the background at cruising speeds.

Frequently-used audio and climate controls are thankfully separate from iDrive, but those functions governed by iDrive require a long look away from the road. Operation of the optional navigation system is a frustrating ordeal, with complex control and cryptic markings. Interior materials are a nice blend of durability and luxury, assembled with care. However, one test X5 had several squeaks and rattles in dashboard and rear-seat areas.

Front occupants enjoy great legroom, though taller drivers may be cramped for headroom beneath the sunroof’s housing. Seats with optional upgraded upholstery are harder and less comfortable than standard buckets. Adjustable thigh support is a comfort bonus, but some optional seats are overly firm. Rear headrests partially block the view astern, but visibility is good otherwise, aided by available front and rear obstacle detection (if installed). Some testers have complained that entry/exit was hindered by protruding lower door sills and small door openings.

When in use, the screen of the available DVD entertainment system rests atop the center console, which means elbows could bump against the raised screen. A lowered screen prevents the console lid from opening

Headroom is decent in the second row, but leg and knee space are unexceptional in five-passenger versions. Second-row seats recline on all X5s and slide fore/aft in seven-seat models, increasing leg space for those passengers. The third row suits kids only, and even they will be cramped unless the second-row seat is fully forward. Entry/exit to the third-row seat demands contortions.

With the third-row seat up, there’s enough room behind it for a row of grocery bags. When folded, space behind the second row is quite good. All seatbacks fold flat to further increase capacity. The X5’s liftgate has a clamshell design that creates a drop-down tailgate section. High liftover means the tailgate must be dropped to load even moderately sized items. Interior storage is nothing special.


Model Tested: 2008 X5 4.8i

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 7
Fuel Economy - 3
Ride Quality - 5
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
Cargo Room - 8


Value - 5

Total: 60


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
115.5 191.1 76.1 69.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
75.2 22.5 7.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.3 39.0 40.0 36.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 X5 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Coolant leak
Description: Coolant may leak near the 4.4L engine timing cover due to a failed seal. (2004-09)
Engine knock and oil leak
Description: Valve covers on 3.0-liter (M54) engine may crack in cold weather. (2007)
Engine noise
Description: Timing chain may wear prematurely. (2010-13)
Description: There may be wind noise or water leaks from sunroof as the seal ages and takes a set requiring replacement. (2007-09)
Suspension noise
Description: Models equipped with the sport package may make a knocking noise from the front suspension due to problem with sway bar. (2007-08)
Suspension problems
Description: Front universal joints may wear out prematurely. (2010-11)
Water leak
Description: Water may leak from the upper area of the tailgate due to hinge bolts becoming loose (2007-08) and/or the tailgate ajar warning or rattling may occur due to misalignment of the latch striker. (2007)
Windshield washer
Description: The washer fluid reservoir may empty itself due to a siphoning action created in the breather while driving; a redesigned reservoir is available. (2007)
Description: Optional LED headlights may flicker on and off. (2007)
Description: The glove box may not fully open, may not close or may pop open by itself due to problems with the latches. (2007
Description: The glove box won’t open or won’t stay closed or pops open by itself. (2007-09)
Electrical problem
Description: Several, seemingly unrelated, electrical problems may be due to a loose power connector to the power distribution box or electronics junction box. (2007)
Electrical problem
Description: The display from the rear (or top) view camera may flicker due to a bad electrical cable. (2007-10)
Description: In extremely cold weather, moisture in the PCV system may turn to ice, which can cause the valve cover to crack, or possible engine damage. (2007)

Recall History

2007 X5
Description: Switch that triggers warning for low brake-fluid level could malfunction at high temperatures.
2007 X5 4.8i with V8 engine
Description: The engine can stall in conditions of below-freezing temperatures combined with low humidity, due to electrostatic discharge. Dealers will attach two ground cables in the engine compartment.
2007-2010 X5 SAV
Description: Brake vacuum pump may leak oil into the hose, potentially resulting in a loss of power assist braking.
Description: These vehicles were equipped with a sports-suspension stabilizer (antisway bar) rather than a standard suspension stabilizer on the rear axle. In certain driving conditions, such as fast lane changes at high speed, the vehicle could experience an ‘over-steer’ behavior affecting vehicle handling and control. Dealers will replace the rear-axle stabilizer.
2008 X5 w/ 6-cylinder engines Manufactured from November 1, 2007-August 31, 2008
Description: Due to a manufacturing process fault, the fuel pump was not produced to specifications. Under specific vehicle operating conditions, the fuel pump’s commutator could experience an increase in wear. This wear could lead to fuel pump malfunction and engine stalling. Engine stalling could create a potential for a crash resulting in injury or death. The manufacturer has not yet provided a remedy or an owner notification schedule for this campaign.
Description: The rear brake discs may not have been manufactured correctly, resulting in a possible a reduction in braking performance. Dealers will repair the vehicles by inspecting the rear brake discs and, if necessary, replace them free of charge.
2009 X5 xDrive35d vehicles equipped with a diesel engine and manufactured from October 1, 2008, through June 12, 2009.
Description: The fuel filter heater, which is used for warming up the diesel fuel during vehicle operation at low outside temperatures, could experience an electrical overload condition and become permanently activated. The fuel filter heater could remain activated even when the ignition is off and lead to a dead battery. The unit could also overheat, possibly leading to a vehicle fire. BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel filter heater free of charge.
2009-2012 X5 xDrive 35d SAV
Description: Engine belt idler pulley bolt could loosen and break over time, which could cause loss of power steering.
2010 M models
Description: These vehicles were equipped with side marker lamps, but not the power supply cables leading to the lamps. As a result, the side marker lamps do not illuminate. BMW has not yet provided a remedy or an owner notification schedule for this campaign.
2010 vehicles manufactured from April 1 through May 8, 2010
Description: The vehicles are equipped with 20-inch wheels, but the label states that the vehicles were equipped with 19-inch wheels and the stated tire pressure is incorrect for the equipped wheels. Improper tire inflation can result in premature tire failure or reduced vehicle handling performance, either of which can increase the risk of a crash. BMW will notify owners and provide correct labels free of charge. The owners will have the option to affix the label themselves or they may take their vehicle to a BMW dealer who will affix the label for them at no cost.
2010 X5
Description: Insufficient bonding of the windshield could affect the stability of the roof in a rollover.
2011 X5 diesel-powered vehicles manufactured from March 31, 2011, through May 19, 2011.
Description: Due to a component manufacturing error at the supplier, the welds in the belt tensioner could have incipient cracks. Over time, this could lead a malfunction of the belt tensioner. If the belt tensioner fails, there could be a sudden loss of power steering assistance, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the engine belt tensioner free of charge. The safety recall is expected to begin during July 2011.
2012 X5 with turbocharged 8- or 12-cylinder
Description: Circuit board for the electric auxiliary water pump can overheat, leading the pump to smolder and/or start a fire.
2012 X5 with diesel
Description: Power steering fluid may leak from a defective steering gear surface and can cause a fire when it contacts hot exhaust parts.
2012 X5
Description: The automatic transmission parking lock may not engage when selector is in Park. The vehicle could roll while parked.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.