Owner Review

2011 BMW X5 xDrive 30d Review

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Just to let you, the reader, know: I've never actually driven this car. I am just 13, so I can’t legally drive and am writing this from the perspective of someone whose family has been fortunate to have had two X5s, and who loves reading car magazines and watching YouTube clips about cars.

We have had our E70 X5 for about 4.5 years now, and every time we have driven it, it has truly been ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine'.

We purchased it brand new from the factory with the following key options:

⁃ M Sport Package
⁃ Innovations Package
⁃ Panoramic Glass Sunroof
⁃ 3rd Row Seats (which includes self levelling rear air suspension)
⁃ Carbon Black Metallic Paint
⁃ Dakota Oyster Leather

The Drive:

This X5 is a true ‘sports car’ at heart, despite being a diesel-powered SUV. According to the drivers, the steering is lovely - precise, and with a good connection between you and the road. The power from the turbo in-line six is pretty frugal, it has a whopping 540Nm of torque on offer and has been masterfully mated to the ZF 8-Speed automatic. The gearbox is a standout - it is always in the correct gear and instantly drops into the lower gear on kick down. Last year we took our X5 on a trip from Brisbane to Canberra, and the thrill of overtaking trucks was amazing – even from the back seat! So much power and driver (passenger) enjoyment.

The xDrive all-wheel drive system is also very good, despite being a usually ‘understated’ feature of the car. From my research, it biases most of the power delivery to the rear axle (but it can kick in the front wheels if slippage occurs), which is the reason why the X5 is the most fun to drive in its class. BMW’s 50/50 weight distribution and excellent brakes add to this sports car philosophy.

However, you can’t have everything! The ride quality is a bit on the firm side for an SUV of this calibre. Most of the time the ride is fairly compliant, but when you hit a small imperfection in the road - you feel it! This is despite that the rear axle of the X5 is riding on air suspension. But, this wasn't a deal breaker for us, and the X5 certainly makes up for its lost marks in the way that it handles.


The technology in the X5 has withstood the test of time very well. The iDrive system has been faultless ever since we left the dealership and has aged gracefully, only being replaced last year by a fully refreshed version. I personally find it more advanced than the system in our Mercedes Benz A250, which is only an 18-month old car. However, it is pretty pricey to update the maps system every few years.

The HUD (Head up display) has been something that we have gotten used to so much that when we order our new X5, we would have to have it again. It is so good to have your speed, maps (and more) conveniently displayed on the windscreen.


The X5 is a very safe car and has a 5 star ANCAP safety rating, it has 6 airbags (driver passenger, rear head etc.) But it does lack some safety features of newer vehicles such as AEB, Lane departure warning, driver fatigue warning, lane keep assist and so on. But again, this is an almost 5-year-old car, so it is not the car’s fault!


The X5 has stood the test of time very well. It still looks very modern against new cars today, partly thanks to an LCI refresh in 2010. It has cool rear LED lights and cool DRLs that light up during the day.

Inside however, the age is beginning to show. The dash looks classy, but lacks the modern sophistication of the new F15 X5. Despite this, the build quality is impeccable – with no hard, scratchy plastics any where.

The Verdict:

Overall, the BMW X5 is a truly capable machine. It can be a sports car when it needs to be, and a perfect family hauler when it needs it to be. To be honest, the only bad thing about this is that the ride is a bit firm occasionally. I would definitely recommend this car to any family, looking for a sports car that also has room for your kids and pet dog!

I hope you enjoyed this review.


PS: The car is actually currently for sale online.