<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=918799731584652&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
FCP Euro Coast To Coast Free 3-Day Shipping

FCP Euro Coast To Coast Shipping

The turn of the millennium brought about a lot of changes in the automotive landscape, including our rapid acceptance of the SUV. It’s easy to see the impact of their ascent in the marketplace today; they’re everywhere on the roads. Their ability to tow like a pickup, carry passengers and cargo like a minivan, and take on off-road terrain with ease made them a new and exciting option that few vehicles before it could offer. In fact, the segment grew so quickly that every major automaker needed to get in on it to establish a market share. BMW had its own family hauler in development at that time, but with a slightly different goal. 

The birth of the X5 didn’t come from the Germans' minds but rather the British's expertise. The post-WWII Series-I Land Rover birthed the origins of the SUV in Europe. Land Rover never ceased working on their off-road capable 4x4 design and had a few proven models in the segment by the nineties. In 1994, BMW acquired Land Rover and used their engineering experience to develop its own 4x4, the X5.  Rather than an SUV or Sports Utility Vehicle, BMW set out to make the SAV or Sports Activity Vehicle. Since then, the X-series has become a critical part of BMW’s sales, accounting for nearly half of them. 

 

BMW X5 E53 (2000-2006)

The experience and engineers gained from the Rover Group allowed BMW to have some basis of chassis design to begin building the X5 around. Although the tried and tested method used a body-on-frame chassis like a traditional pickup truck, that method’s excessive flex wouldn’t allow the X5 to “drive like a BMW,” so engineers scrapped the design for a unibody chassis. It was just what BMW was looking for, but it forced the Munich-based automaker to ditch the solid axles associated with the SUV. Instead, two large subframes located the independent suspension at each corner. While not as off-road-capable, the chassis and suspension allowed the X5 to be lighter, stiffer, and more agile on the roads than traditional SUVs.

FCPEuro_BMW_X5_Generations_Explained_E53

The E53 X5 debuted for the 2000 model year with the 4.4-liter M62 V8 under the hood, mated to ZF’s 5HP24 automatic transmission and full-time all-wheel-drive. After the first run of models was delivered, more trim and engine options became available. The base X5 used the 3.0L M54 inline-6 and was available with a manual transmission. The top-of-the-range model, the X5 4.6is (and eventually the 4.8is), used a larger, more powerful M62 V8 and was adorned with unique exterior accents, including small wheel arch extensions and a different front bumper. A diesel-powered X5 was also available, utilizing the turbocharged M57 inline-6. The all-wheel-drive system in the early E53 X5 used a 38/62 front-to-rear power split with a Dynamic Stability Control system to ensure traction in slippery conditions. The X5 also utilized a hill descent control system developed directly by Land Rover.

The standard suspension for the basic X5 utilized coil springs at all four corners with struts up front and shocks out back. Optionally, rear air springs (S220A) or front and rear air springs (S221A) were available depending on the model year. The sport models, the 4.6is and 4.8is, both used full air suspension with sport tuning. The self-leveling sport air suspension sat 15mm lower than the standard coil spring and could be raised or lowered at the press of a button. Additionally, buyers of any X5 could option the Sports package to give their E53 the sport-tuned air suspension (S226A). The Sports package also included Shadowline exterior trim, an anthracite headliner, larger wheels, and different kidney grilles. 

FCPEuro_BMW_X5_Generations_Explained_E53

For the 2004 model year, the X5 received its Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) updates. Engine updates included an updated 4.4-liter N62 V8. The top-range model evolved into the 4.8is and also utilized the N62 V8. Also updated was the M57 diesel engine, producing more power and torque. On the drivetrain side, the five-speed manual and automatic were replaced by six-speed units. Externally, the X5 was fitted with new bumpers, lights, and wheels. Towing capacity remained at 6000 lbs, regardless of engine performance.

 

BMW X5 E53 Models & Specs

Model

Years

Engine/Power

Transmission

Air Suspension

Tow Capacity 

3.0i

2000-2006

M54 3.0L Inline-6 225hp/215 lb-ft tq

5-Spd Manual or 5-Spd Auto

6-Spd Manual or 6-Spd Auto (LCI)

Optional

6000lbs 

 

4.4i

2000-2003

M62 4.4L V8 282hp/324 lb-ft tq

5-Spd Auto

Optional

6000lbs

2004-2006

N62 4.4L V8 315hp/324 lb-ft tq 

6-Spd Auto (LCI)

Optional

6000lbs

4.6is

2001-2003

M62 4.6L V8 340hp/350 lb-ft tq

5-Spd Auto

Full Self-Leveling & Sport Tuned

6000lbs

4.8is

2004-2006

N62 4.8L V8 355hp/360 lb-ft tq

6-Spd Auto

Full Self-Leveling & Sport Tuned

6000lbs 

 

3.0d

 

2000-2003

M57 Turbocharged 3.0L Inline-6  181hp/302 lb-ft tq

5-Spd Auto

Optional

6000lbs 

2004-2006

M57N Turbocharged 3.0L     Inline-6     215hp/315 lb-ft tq

6-Spd Auto

Optional

6000lbs

 

BMW X5 E70 (2007-2013)

The second-generation X5, the E70, debuted during the 2007 model year on an all-new chassis engineered for improved stability, comfort, and cargo capacity. Because of that, the E70 was bigger in all directions; 4.5” in wheelbase, 7.4” in length, and 2.4” in width. New engine options and technologies sat under their hoods, while the E39-based electronics were ditched for much more advanced designs. The interior was also completely redesigned with a more luxurious layout, significantly more rear-seat legroom, and the option for a third row of seats. It was a new design from top to bottom, carrying over very few parts from its predecessor. 

E70 X5 Front

One of the more significant changes to the X5 was the introduction of double-wishbone front suspension. Replacing the E53’s MacPherson struts with double-wishbones gave the E70 much better camber control over bumps and through corners for sharper on-road dynamics. Improvements to comfortability were also noticeable thanks to revised bushings throughout the front and rear suspension arms. The rear suspension remained BMW’s integral link (multi-link) design. Spring and damper packages also remained relatively the same, save for the air suspension. BMW ditched the front pair of air struts for traditional coil springs; only the rear suspension benefitted from them. 

BMW also introduced two new supporting systems for the steering and suspension—Active Steering and AdaptiveDrive—both as options on the base and middle models. The former system is a variable-ratio steering rack. At speeds below 57mph, the rack is quick and responsive for “sporting and active motoring,” requiring only two turns, lock to lock. The rack became less responsive at higher speeds, allowing for greater stability. The AdaptiveDrive system paired adaptive electromagnetic dampers and active roll-stabilization through electro-hydraulically powered sway bars into one package. Both components were controlled by computers utilizing a handful of sensors for suspension data that it then used to tune the suspension for the best possible characteristics at a given moment.

E70 X5 Rear

The E70’s engine options remained similar to the E53 but with several updates. The base model X5 received the 3.0L N52 inline-6, the last of a generation for BMW, and a very reliable, trouble-free platform. Stepping up to a V8 netted the same 4.8L N62 from the previous 4.8is model. In 2009, BMW unveiled the range-topping X5M powered by the twin-turbocharged 4.4L S63 V8. A diesel engine was also available for the E70, an M57-based turbocharged inline-6 with more power and torque than its predecessor. Backing up every engine was exclusively a ZF six-speed automatic transmission; the manual transmission was discontinued with the E53. 

The interior received a significant redesign as well. BMW replaced the rather practical shape of the E53 dashboard with a curvy, swooping design filled with wood and aluminum inlays. Standard leatherette seats and two-zone climate control ensured the occupants were always comfortable. It only got more luxurious from there, though. Optionally the X5 could’ve been fitted with four-zone climate control, heated leather front and rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, BlueTooth connectivity, a 16-speaker sound system, and BMW’s navigation system. 

In 2009, BMW reworked their entire model nomenclature scheme to the designations we’re familiar with today as the 3.0si and 4.8i became the xDrive30i and the xDrive48i, respectively. After that, the E70 received its LCI update for the 2011 model year. As with every LCI update, the X5 received revised bumpers, exterior lights, and an updated iDrive system. However, the most significant changes came in the engine bay. Turbocharged and direct-injected units replaced both non-M gasoline engines.

E70 X5 Interior

Consequently, fuel economy was greatly improved, and the power figures received a hefty bump. The xDrive35i received the N55 engine and kept its model designation. The xDrive48i became the xDrive50i and received the smaller but turbocharged, 4.4L N63 V8.

BMW also introduced the M Performance Package in 2013. Selecting that package kitted the X5 xDrive35i or xDrive50i with sport suspension, larger wheels, X5M styling, and another bump in power. Torque improved by 30 lb-ft for each model, but the 35i only saw its hp rise by 15, while the 50i received a 40 hp boost. Both updated gasoline engines also received ZF’s new-at-the-time 8HP 8-Speed automatic transmission.

Standard equipment for the E70 LCI X5s included 18-inch wheels, foglights, automatic and adaptive xenon headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats, leatherette upholstery, and a 12-speaker sound system with HD radio, CD player, and auxiliary audio jack. Towing capacity with a braked trailer remained at 6000 lbs for each model.

 

BMW X5 E70 Models & Specs

Model

Years

Engine/Power

Transmission

Air Suspension

Towing Capacity

    3.0si      xDrive30i

2007-2010

N52 3.0L Inline-6 272hp/232 lb-ft tq

6-Spd Auto 

Optional

6000lbs

      4.8i        xDrive48i

2007-2010

N62 4.8L V8 355hp/350 lb-ft tq

6-Spd Auto 

Optional

6000lbs

xDrive35i

2011-2013

N55 Turbocharged 3.0L Inline-6 300hp/300 lb-ft tq

(MPP)

325hp/330 lb-ft tq

8-Spd Auto

Optional 

6000lbs

xDrive50i

2011-2013

N63 Turbocharged 4.4L V8 400hp/450 lb-ft tq

(MPP)

440hp/480 lb-ft tq

8-Spd Auto

Optional 

6000lbs

xDrive35d

2009-2013

M57 Turbocharged 3.0L Inline-6 265hp/425 lb-ft tq

6-Spd Auto 

Optional

6000lbs

X5M

2009-2013

S63 Turbocharged 4.4L V8 555hp/500 lb-ft tq

6-Spd Auto 

Self-Leveling & 

Sport Tuned

 

 

BMW X5 (F15) 2014-2018

The F15 X5 made its sales debut as a 2014 model. Unlike the E70, the F15 didn’t grow substantially over its predecessor, but the chassis was all-new and used a combination of plastic, high-strength steel, aluminum, and magnesium to come in nearly 200 lbs lighter than the E70. The redesigned exterior, made from those lightweight materials, was explicitly shaped for a reduced drag coefficient, lowering it from .36 to .31. Those changes are an example of the critical improvements BMW aimed for with the F15 X5; reducing emissions and improving its efficiency.

F15 X5 Front
F15 X5 Rear

BMW offered four engines throughout F15 production. xDrive and sDrive 35i models received the twin-scroll turbocharged N55 Inline-6 without a power increase over the E70. The xDrive50i retained its twin-turbocharged N63 V8 with peak power equal to the Performance-Package-equipped E70. The xDrive40e featured the N20, a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder paired with an electric motor to make it a plug-in hybrid. The diesel variant received the updated N57 engine, though the power output dropped slightly. All models received ZF’s second-generation 8HP 8-speed automatic gearbox. Through BMW EfficientDynamics, the gearbox works with the Auto Start-Stop function, ECO PRO mode, and the Proactive Driving Assistant system to further reduce emissions and increase efficiency. 

Carrying over from the E70 was the general suspension architecture. The base suspension package included double wishbones up front and a multi-link in the rear with coil springs all around. Beyond that, the suspension had four option packages, each with its own combination of parts. Each option added self-leveling air springs to the rear but with different supporting components. Active roll bars and adaptive dampers were also available. For a full breakdown of the suspension options, check out our F15 X5 suspension guide

FCPEuro_BMW_X5_Generations_Explained_F15
FCPEuro_BMW_X5_Generations_Explained_F15

Each F15 was built around one of three trim lines—Luxury, xLine, or M Sport—with each featuring unique wheel choices, accenting trim, and interior upholstery. After establishing the trim, buyers or dealers could specify individual options or complete packages. Standard equipment included Xenon headlights with LED accents, LED taillights and fog lights, Servotronic variable steering, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, and the Driver Experience Control. The latter feature allows each F15 X5 to choose between various driving modes, such as COMFORT, ECO PRO, and SPORT. Each mode used its own calibrations for the suspension, engine, throttle response, and steering feel to adjust the way the X5 reacted and drove. Optional equipment included:

  • Adaptive cruise control.
  • Lane change warning.
  • A Harman Kardon surround system.
  • Rear-seat entertainment.
  • Soft-closing doors.
  • Adaptive LED headlights.

The F15 X5 received an X5M model but carried the F85 chassis code instead. It used an improved version of its predecessor’s twin-turbo S63 V8 and ZF’s newest 8HP. As with every other M car, the X5M received larger wheels and brakes, special sport suspension, exclusive interior design and materials, and unique body treatment. BMW ended the F15 X5 production without an LCI update, choosing to advance to the next generation instead.

 

BMW X5 F15 Models & Specs

Model

Years

Engine/Power

Transmission

Air Suspension

Towing Capacity

xDrive35i sDrive35i

2014-2018

N55 Turbocharged 3.0L Inline-6 300hp/300 lb-ft tq

8-Spd Auto

Optional 

6000lbs

xDrive40e

2016-2018

N20 Turbocharged 2.0L Inline-4 240hp/260 lb-ft tq

308hp/332 lb-ft tq Combined with 9.2kWh battery pack

8-Spd Auto

Optional

6000lbs

xDrive50i

2014-2018

N63 Turbocharged 4.4L V8 445hp/480 lb-ft tq

8-Spd Auto

Optional 

6000lbs

xDrive35d

2014-2018

N57 Turbocharged 3.0L Inline-6 255hp/413 lb-ft tq

8-Spd Auto 

Optional

6000lbs

X5M

2015–2018

S63 Turbocharged 4.4L V8 575hp/553 lb-ft tq

8-Spd Auto

Standard

6000lbs

 

BMW X5 (G05) 2019-Present

The fourth and current X5 generation debuted for the 2019 model year. Dubbed the G05, it’s built on BMW’s CLAR platform, causing it to grow a 1.7” longer wheelbase, 1.4” in overall length, and 2.7” in width. The G05 shares the CLAR platform with the G11 7-series and G30 5-series, among others, and shares several electrical and suspension components because of that. The new body features the largest kidney grilles ever fitted to the X5 and new standard LED headlights, taillights, and fog lights.

G05 Front
G05 Rear
FCPEuro_BMW_X5_Generations_Explained_G05

Under the hood, the G05 offers a few different engine options that have all had updates throughout production. The latest turbocharged inline-6 engine from BMW, the B58, replaced the N55 in the entry-level xDrive40i and sDrive40i models. In 2021, these models received a 48-volt mild hybrid system, replacing the starter and a few other components for improved emissions and fuel economy. 

Debuting alongside the mild-hybrid updates was the first plug-in hybrid X5, the xDrive45e. It used the B58 engine mated to a 24kWh battery pack, giving the X5 a range of around 40 miles. The 389 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque ensure the hybrid slots in nicely between the 40i and the top-spec M50i. Available briefly was the xDrive50i model that featured the N63TU3; BMW discontinued the model after 2020. 

At the top of the range, two models wear an M-badge. The M50i is the top of the G05-range, utilizing the latest-at-the-time N63 V8 with nearly the same power as the E70 X5M. Above that sits the X5M, although it’s technically under the F95-chassis. An M-engineered S63 twin-turbo V8 sits in the engine bay and pumps out 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. Each of these X5s uses ZF’s 8HP transmission to put the power down.

FCPEuro_BMW_X5_Generations_Explained_F95
FCPEuro_BMW_X5_Generations_Explained_F95

However, beginning in 2024, the X5 will get its LCI update, with changes coming for the model list and its engines. The base model remains the 40i with a B58 and 48-volt mild hybrid system combination but gets a peak power figure bump of 40 hp and 68 lb-ft of torque. A new 4.4L twin-turbo V8 arrives for the updated M50i, now called the M60i. Performance figures remain the same, but the 48-volt hybrid system joins the drivetrain. Lastly, the xDrive45e morphs into the xDrive50e. Again, its drivetrain components remain mostly the same, but performance jumps by nearly 100 hp and 73 lb-ft of torque. Updates to the X5M haven’t been released at the time of writing.

Making a return for the first time since the E53 is dual-axle air suspension. E70 and F15 models only receive rear air springs, but the G05 can have them fitted front and rear to match the standard Dynamic Damper Control. Those springs can be optioned as part of the Off-Road package. Breaking from BMW’s plan to build the ultimate non-off-road 4x4, that package adds air suspension, an electronically locking rear differential, skid plates, and a drive-mode selector. That drive-mode selector will optimize the suspension, throttle, and transmission for your chosen setting. 

 The new generation of engines and transmissions help the G05 to offer up to 7200 lbs of towing capacity with a braked trailer, becoming the first generation to be rated over 6000 lbs. But don’t believe that the X5 has gone all rugged and practical. A 12.3” iDrive display, large heads-up display, optional massaging seats, the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System, and thermo-cup holders, among other options, assure the X5 has remained as luxurious as ever. That last option is a pair of cupholders in the center console capable of keeping your drink cold or warm. 

FCPEuro_BMW_X5_Generations_Explained_G05_LCI
FCPEuro_BMW_X5_Generations_Explained_G05_LCI
FCPEuro_BMW_X5_Generations_Explained_G05_LCI

Along with the engine updates, the LCI facelift introduces a host of exterior and interior revisions. On the outside, the headlights, taillights, grilles, and bumpers are all new but remain more traditional to BMW relative to the latest iX and 7-series designs. Inside, the split instrument cluster and infotainment screen break out of their recess and join as a single curved display. The rest of the dashboard gets a modern treatment, featuring thinner center vents and new trim lines. To the chagrin of some, BMW replaced the traditional gear selector with a small toggle switch and moved the standard upholstery to a vegan leather substitute called Sensafin.

 

BMW X5 F15 Models & Specs

Model

Years

Engine/Power

Transmission

Air Suspension

Towing Capacity (Braked)

xDrive40i sDrive40i

2019-Present

B58 Turbocharged 3.0L Inline-6 

335hp/330 lb-ft tq     (LCI)      375hp/398 lb-ft tq

8-Spd Auto

Optional

7200lbs

xDrive50i

2019-2020

N63 Turbocharged 4.4L V8 456hp/479 lb-ft tq

8-Spd Auto

Optional 

7200lbs

M50i

2020-2023

N63 Turbocharged 4.4L V8 523hp/553 lb-ft tq

8-Spd Auto 

Standard

7200lbs

M60i

2023-Present

S68 Turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 523hp/553 lb-ft tq

8-Spd Auto 

Standard

7200lbs

xDrive45e

2020-2023

B58 Turbocharged 3.0L Inline-6 & Electric Motor  389hp/443 lb-ft tq

8-Spd Auto

Standard

7200lbs

xDrive50e

2023-Present

B58 Turbocharged 3.0L Inline-6 & Electric Motor  483hp/516 lb-ft tq

8-Spd Auto

Standard

7200lbs

Whichever generation you choose, you’re going to end up with a comfortable and capable on-road performer with enough space for the family and enough towing capacity for your race car. If you have questions about any of these generations and models or feel that we should add to this guide, leave them in the comments. 

Pick Your Car


author image
Written by :
Christian Schaefer

Car and motorsports-obsessed writer/editor for FCP Euro's DIY Blog. Constantly dreaming of competing behind the wheel or searching for another project. Owner of a turbo Subaru Forester and a ratty Porsche 914, neither of which are running.


More Related Articles