The X5 is a midsize five-door SUV from the German automaker, BMW. It was introduced as the E53 in 1999, except in the UK where it was called the ""Four-by-Four."" All models have a front-engine front-drive layout. One X5 slogan was ""any road, any time, any reason;"" however, the X5 is not really meant for serious off-road use to any great extent, and BMW calls it an SAV, or sports activity vehicle. The X5 has a unibody and is built on a passenger car platform, but BMW claims the X5 has a unique chassis built for rougher terrain as befits an SUV. It was designed to compete with luxury SUVs from car makers like Infiniti, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz.
First-generation models include those built from 1999 through 2006. The first generation had a rounded body style with the BMW split front grille. The second-generation X5 includes those built after 2006 to the present. BMW made a number of moderate but noticeable changes to the exterior including the switch from a black grill to a silver grill, still BMW’s split style, sharper angles throughout, and an altered rear including a small spoiler at the top.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 3.0-liter inline-six, 4.4-liter V-8, 4.8-liter V-8
Transmissions: six-speed manual, six-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: BMW X5 3.0i, BMW X5 4.4i, BMW X5 4.8is
BMW added a few minor exterior details to the 2004 X5. More notably, it re-engineered its all-wheel-drive system for better performance. The 4.6i model is not available for this model year, in its place is the 4.8i model.
The X5 has a rounded profile with the recognizable BMW split grille. It is equipped with 17 or 18-inch wheels and has a wide, athletic stance. Overall, the 2004 BMW X5 has a very appealing look for a midsize SUV.
The 2004 BMW X5 sits five comfortably and has moderate cargo room. It features quality options for trims and materials and a range of standard and available luxury features. Some controls are a little confusing at first, but everything is within reach, and it won’t take long for drivers to get used to it.
Performance & Handling
All 2004 BMW X5 models have permanently engaged four-wheel drive that automatically disseminates power to the four wheels as need depending on the situation. Hill Descent Control on all models ensures a constant speed and control even on steep declines. The beginning 225-hp three-liter inline-six-cylinder performs well and can be paired with either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The more powerful 4.4-liter V-8 can produce 315 horsepower and is available only with an automatic transmission. The 4.8-liter V-8 model gets a further improved 355-hp.
All models handle exceedingly well for a midsize SUV. Steering is very tight and precise making drivers feel more in control than with just about any SUV built this model year. Both V-8 engines have plenty of kick and the six-cylinder, while not as quick, doesn’t lack merging and high-speed passing ability. The automatic shifting function can feel jerky, but is quick. The Sport Package gives drivers improved performance but comfort is sacrificed.
The 2004 BMW X5 received a five-star front crash-test rating. Some features include anti-lock brakes, side curtain and side-impact airbags standard, and an available Rear Head Protection System.
EPA Fuel Economy
BMW X5. 3.0i: 13/20 mpg city/highway
BMW X5, 4.4i, 4.8i: 14/20 mpg city/highway
- Sporty handling
- Exterior style
- Luxury features
- Five-star front crash-test rating
You Won't Like
- Uncomfortable Sport Package ride
- Odd controls
- Automatic transmission shifting performance
- Fuel efficiency
Displays handling in line with its 5 Series counterpart.
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