First Drive: BMW X5 xDrive35d

As one of the first drives in the new BMW X5 xDrive35d it was apparent this is not your average run of the mill X5. By no means was this a full blown review of the new to market SAV but more of an appetizer for the meal that is to come.

The silver X5 only featured one option, heated seats, it sticker priced at $52,525.00 with destination. Like all X5s it had the (love it or hate it) joystick shifter, power seats, iDrive and the other creature comforts US buyers have come to expect from BMW. From the outside it is hard to discern this model and the X5 xDrive30i powered by the N52 six aside from the badge. Even though the newest BMW naming scheme has added more numbers, letters and bigger badges, it almost feels like these Advanced Diesels are missing something. Should BMW have tastefully added a small “ed ” (Efficient Dynamics) badge on the left side of the rear gate, or even added a slight trim variation to distinguish it from the other models in addition to that little “d ” is up for debate. Just be glad they opted not to fully clad it like GM has done with their Hybrid models.

Looking at the odometer and seeing 1 mile on it was something that has been anticipated for sometime; finally getting behind the wheel of one of the Advanced Diesels. The 527 mile range was there to gawk at, deserving an initial double take. Yep, it says that, not going crazy. The official range for highway is somewhere in the neighborhood of 570.

Today in NY the temperature was just below freezing with intermittent snow flurries. The perfect time for xDrive but was the Advanced Diesel up to producing heat to warm the passenger cabin up? Unlike he diesels of old, BMW has redesigned the heating element in order to allow faster heating and this was nice to have on such a day.

The first mission was to fuel the beast up. With “gas ” card in hand…. wait it is now a “diesel ” card we pulled up to the green nozzle and began the first diesel fill-up. All was fine until there was some yelling:

Stop!!

What?

That is diesel, not gas and BMWs take gas!

Thanks, but this is a new BMW diesel so it really needs this stuff.

Wow! BMW makes diesels?

This is one of the first in the US.

So started the short trip. One word: torque. Even in such a heavy vehicle the torque is wonderful. The 268 horses and 425 ft/lbs. moves all that mass with ease and a smoothness that is refined and surprisingly quiet. It really does not sound like a diesel from inside the passenger cabin until you roll down the windows and push that pedal down FAST; along with the rush of power is the whirl of the turbos and subdued pitter patter of the pistons. Turbo lag in this engine (much like its petrol cousin) will be undetectable to even the most sensitive of drivers. The engine freely will rev to its 5.5k red line when the auto is in manual mode. With an advertised 0-60 just shy of 7 seconds it gets up to speed surprisingly quick.

If people drive these things they will love them and it is that simple. They are very practical and offer more than enough in terms of acceleration and power for the average consumer. The added weight of the engine did not seem to impact the handling at all compared to past experiences in the gas six cylinder, so that is a non-issue for those that were worried. The drive does not leave you feeling dissatisfied or even wishing that the engine could offer more in a specific area, in this short romp it met expectations and then some.

The efficiency and cleanliness of course is what it is all really about and the X5d does not disappoint in these areas. Mixed around town driving yielded just north of 20 miles per gallon over this short trip; not bad, not bad at all. EPA numbers indicate an estimated city of 19 and highway of 26. We were told that these engines once fully broken in will achieve even greater mileage numbers and throughout BMWs testing this was consistent. Out back there was no smell of diesel and the inside of the pipes were still spotless. If that is not clean then what is?

Practical or not, people now more than ever are trying to save their green backs rather than waste them so is going diesel worth it? That is something that will be battled here and elsewhere well into the future, there is no immediate or right answer.

We hope to have some more time behind the wheel of the Advanced Diesels to give you a full in depth BimmerFile review but for now we hoped this has answered some questions and provided you with a small taste of things to come! (Sorry about the iPhone photos but that was all we had today!)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • Parker

    We just got our first X5d as well, its just like you explained. Plenty of torque, and doesnt sound like a diesel from inside. Turbo lag is very little, and the gas mileage is great, scary that its better than the M3.

  • Dan

    Very nice. Can’t wait to hear about the 335d also.

  • Adam E

    Very cool!

    How much is diesel in NY these days?

  • Bob

    NJ diesel is around $2.69 a gal vs regular a $1.47. Our Regional Manager says guys driving factory demos, broken in ,are getting in the mid 30’s.

  • Mark

    “Turbo lag in this engine (much like its petrol cousin) will be undetectable”

    That is until BMW decides to engineer turbo lag back into the engine. Heaven forbid the occupants actually hear a little of the engine noise. When you “push that pedal down FAST” you should hear the engine. BMW please do not rob this engine of it undetectable turbo lag as well.

    Can you tell I am eagerly anticipating when BMW will allow my 335i to drive like it should – sans turbo lag. I will start wearing ear protection if necessary.

    On topic – I did drive the European version diesel X5 this past spring and if these production models are similar in their performance…….all I can say is TORQUE.

  • Maarten

    Picked up my X5 diesel from the dealership last Saturday and it meets all expectations (and more). Drives even better than the European version in my opinion (I’m biased of course…..) and not turbo lag at all. Mileage looks very descent around 25 Mpg for a combo of in town and some highway.

  • Pingback: BimmerFile » Archive » First Drive: BMW 335d()

  • CycloneRcr

    Maarten, it should be better than the European version if you drove the 3.0d version. It is the single turbo engine where you get the twinturbo monster machine which equals to the 3.0sd (named xDrive 35d for 2009).

  • sylvain

    I took delivery of my X5 Xdrive 35D in december 2008. I just turn 15,000 klm and I just love it. Power is perfect and the fuel mileage is great. Montreal to Miami average 72 mph. 8L/100klm. It cost $138.00 of diesel for 1705 mi.