2000 BMW X5 4.4i (301)


This BMW X5 reminds me that competition in the world is alive and well, thank you. And as the competition heats up, marketing genius follows with amazing technology. Consider the latest news. You will soon be able to watch your car being built right on the Internet. Yep, you place your order and they e-mail you when your car will hit the production line. Then you can log on to the manufacturers web page and watch the actual car you bought being put together. Wow. I hope meat packers don’t pick up on this. On the other hand it could be very revealing and the best quality control force ever. How would you feel if your customers watched you doing what you do for them? Pretty scary, eh?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I tested this X5 under normal driving conditions and didn’t take it off road, because it is almost too pretty to get muddy. There is little to complain about but we can all find something to bitch about, right? As to this BMW, the first thing my friend Mark did to his Beemer was to disable the passenger rear view mirror from tilting down when in reverse. I found this feature useful when parallel parking, however, when I drove straight back I felt disoriented. It forced me to rely on the other mirrors or yanking around to see what’s back there. The second thing I thought was poorly designed is the placement of the driver’s power window controls. If you’re like me you use them a lot and will be annoyed by their being tucked away under a door handle.

I can’t tell you much about the feel of the all-wheel-drive system because it is transparent to the driver. All wheel drive is great in the real world so you won’t have to think about when it’s needed. The car knows that better than we do for the driving conditions at hand. And since this X5 will never get off road anyway, it really doesn’t matter. If I were going to do any serious off roading I’d buy a Jeep or a Hummer.

Handling & Performance: 



I don’t know. I guess it’s in good company with the Lexus RX 300 and the Mercedes Benz ML 430. Similar cut off look in the rear. Shorter than an SUV should be. It’s like a wanna-be passenger car. Most are doing that, and that’s what the public must be asking for.

Fit and Finish:  



There is a lot of standard equipment that make this truly luxurious.


In keeping with all the stuff that comes standard, you’d expect the cost to be high and they didn’t disappoint me.


The competition is pretty similar except for the Cad Escalade that is clearly a big boat that is not really in the same ocean. The Land Rover Discovery was nice but fits more on expedition with National Geographic. All the others are workhorses in tuxedos hardly expected to get off the black top. So if luxury cars are your thing and cost is no object, you’re going to love this newest of new SUV’s. Gee, I can’t wait for the Porsche SUV. That ought to be a trip too. Until then or something better comes along, this is a fun utility to drive and surely the fastest SUV I’ve ever driven. It is hard not to put your foot in it because it is truly amazing how responsive it is to drive. By comparison the rest are slugs

The competition:

Cadillac Escalade $46,225, Infiniti QX4 $34,150-35,550, Jeep Grand Cherokee $26,895-34,635, Land Rover Discovery $33,350-34,150, Lexus RX 300 $33,005-34,605, Mercedes Benz M Class $35,300-64,900.

Good News: 

Fun to drive, faaaasst. 

Bad News: 

Poorly placed power window controls, marginal visibility, and poooor gas mileage.

Standard Equipment: 

4.4 liter 282 horsepower V8 engine, 5-speed Steptronic auto trans, power 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, Dynamic Stability Control for All Wheel Drive and Dynamic Brake Control, dual front and side air bags, climate control, power steering, power windows with one-tough up and down, power door locks, tilt wheel, cruise control, power leather seats, stereo with cassette, remote keyless entry and security system, and child safety locks.

 Gas Stats:

13 City and 17 Highway MPG.


MSRP  $38,900 – 49,400.


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