By on January 2, 2009

They say the longer the job title, the smaller the job. In the automotive world, the longer the model name, the more hype, money and technology involved. For those of you new to this game, the BMW X5 xDrive 35d is BMW’s biggest SUV with all wheel-drive and a diesel engine. (No, it’s not a 3.5-liter powerplant, but alphanumerics outpaced pedantry a long time ago.) No matter what you call it, I’m an unabashed fan of the modern diesel-powered vehicle. With diesel more expensive that gas, and an intimate understanding of the overarching importance of depreciation, it’s not diesel’s fuel-efficiency that flicks my wick. I enjoy the beefy, progressive power delivery. The X5 xDrive 35d may be a belated entry into the diesel SUV market, but it’s no slacker underfoot.

BMW makes the world’s best straight six cylinder engines. This 3.0-liter oil burner builds on that reputation. Packing 265 horsepower and a thundering 425 pound feet of torque, the 35d motivates the 5,225 pound X5 from rest to 60 miles per hour in less than seven seconds– whilst delivering 26 miles per gallon on the highway. Using Detroit’s favorite mpg calculation, the 22.5 gallon tank could take you nearly 600 miles between fill ups. And you might even get chuckgoolsbee to provide some cheap, homebrewed biofuel.

The 35d’s oil burner’s blessed with a brace of blowers, and comes complete with all the usual BMW jiggery pokery (e.g. an aluminum engine block and third-generation piezo common rail direct injection). After an initial flat spot, the big ass Bimmer’s thrust arrives without a hiccup across the [admittedly short] rev range. In fact, the diesel engine is more lag-less (less lagged?) than the world-beating 3.0-liter twin turbo gas engine offered in the X6, while delivering 24 percent better fuel economy than the normally aspirated xDrive 30i.

In case I didn’t make myself clear: this is one sweetheart of an engine. BMW only offers it in the 3-Series sedan and the X5. Neither would be my vehicle of choice; the 3-Series sedan is too small and the X5 is too porky.

That said, the X5 xDrive 35d handles better than any 2.6 ton machine ought. As long as you deploy the word “relatively,” you could even say it’s fun to drive. Though grabby, the brakes are endlessly capable, lending confidence in all situations. The transmission lever is incredibly obnoxious from an aesthetic POV, but it works with admirable intuitiveness. The steering is weighty and confident at speed, but too heavy at parking lot velocities.

Most of the 35d’s operating controls felt unduly stiff, imparting a feeling of durability without the usual oil-dampened grace. The 35d’s doors closed with an impressive thunk, but the two piece clam shell trunk lid made a “ping” sound that suggested that Stuttgart is a long, long away from Spartenberg. The motors powering the electrically adjustable steering wheel were noisy and slow in their operation. Don’t get me started on the quality and comfort of the seats. The cows which donated their hides to the X5 must have led a horrible life, ate sandpaper or mated with lizards. In terms of comfort and support, even a boozed-up bum would find a park bench a better bet.

The 35d’s outward visibility is panoramic; why then are the blind spots so prominent? In addition, the 35d feels overly wide; narrow city streets are a genuine bother. Despite the vehicle’s girth, the use of interior space was no better than average.

I invited my wife to join me in evaluating the diesel X5, since she is more of the target for this kind of vehicle than I. On first blush, she felt the step in height was too high and complained that the side panels nicked her in the shins (the 35d’s optional running boards would have only exacerbated this situation). Next she complained about those hard, flat seats. To my surprise, she also objected to the large glass area, which made her feel exposed and vulnerable. When she felt the stiff steering at low speed and heard the sound of the diesel engine, she was convinced Lexus had a better alternative.

Admittedly, there is a bit more diesel clatter at idle than I would have expected. Worse, compared with the RX400 she covets, the X5 diesel is less fuel efficient (particularly in city driving) and diesel fuel is dearer. So much for the coveted female audience.

Again, I reckon BMW put this superb engine in the wrong car. TTAC’s own, Alex Dykes has written-up the many fine Euro-wagon options available here in America. We just need to wake up and remember our station wagon roots; the first time I kissed a girl was in the third seat of a gigantic Oldsmobile station wagon facing the wrong way for the entire world to see. I miss the wagon days and I don’t need a crossover to make me feel like a real man. A BMW xDrive 35d 5-Series Wagon would stretch the boundaries of mnemonics, but it would stand a better chance in the diesel-aversive U.S. market.

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44 Comments on “Review: 2009 BMW X5 xDrive 35d...”

  • avatar

    @ JS

    You may get your wish. BMW are bringing the 335d Touring to the USA are they not?

  • avatar

    Need to get pricing for the diesels into the database…will this week.

    On the handling front, the gas X5 handles much better with the optional Sport Package. I haven’t checked whether this packages is available with the diesel.

    And then there’s reliability. TrueDelta has no data on the X5 yet, but is close to the minimum sample size for a few model years, including both the 2007 and 2008. If you know an owner, please send them here:

  • avatar

    Diesel wagon? Surely you are kidding. I’m not sure if I can think of a vehicle that would be a worse seller in the US.. a diesel 5 Series wagon that will easily be 70K? They wouldnt sell 1000 a year in the US.

  • avatar

    The X5 is all about how you order it. I have a 2007 X5 4.8i and the Sport Package with 20″ wheels. This engine is incredible, the Active Ventilated Seat Package solves the seat issue here (I just did a 2,200-mile road trip with zero fatigue), and I switched out the terrible run-flats with some new Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sports (not run-flat) that dramatically improved handling and ride…plus they were much less expensive.

    The diesel engine would be more interesting to me if I didn’t drive mine mostly in the city and the gap wasn’t so large between diesel and premium unleaded fuel.

    I’ve had 7 other BMWs, and an X5 with the right options is the best SUV on the market (IMO) if you actually enjoy driving and need some sort of SUV in your garage.

    • 0 avatar

      “The Active Ventilated Seat Package solves the seat issue.” Sorry, but I’m gonna have to disagree. We test drove an X5 with the regular seats and they seemed reasonable (although it was a very short test drive) Unfortunately, I was determined to get the AV seats because I wanted the seats to be cooled, so we special ordered our X5. I had to find out the hard way that they just blow the air in the cabin out the seats. Even then, it only goes into the middle of your back. My lousy salesman failed to mention that part to me. The seat bottoms are like sitting on a park bench. We had to buy cushions just to make them bearable for around town and long trips. In my opinion, the seats are worth the extra money. If this is the norm for BMW, we aren’t ever buying one again. Thanks for the heads up on changing out the run-flats.

  • avatar

    In case I didn’t make myself clear: this is one sweetheart of an engine. BMW only offers it in the 3-Series sedan and the X5. Neither would be my vehicle of choice; the 3-Series sedan is too small and the X5 is too porky.

    A quick search on the European site of BMW reveals that the “35d” engine is also offered in the 6-series (5-series make do with the regular “30d” engine, good for a 6.9s sprint to 100km/h) and the X6. 7-series, even the new model, do not receive this engine.

  • avatar

    The RX400 is a hybrid.

  • avatar

    I don’t see the point of the 35d engine in this vehicle – the 5MPG city and 7MPG highway advantage over the V8 version are wiped out at the pump due to higher diesel prices. Maybe a smaller diesel engine would have been a better bet?

  • avatar

    “And you might even get chuckgoolsbee to provide some cheap, homebrewed biofuel.”

    Nope. Dropping an Oelmotor into a truck is no big deal, and not worthy of my endorsement or support. What I want to see is the option of buying a Diesel powerplant in CARS. Preferably small cars. Ideally small, lightweight commuter cars. For me, I’d like to see a drop-top two-seater such as an Audi TT TDI, Alfa Romeo Spider JTDM, or the like.

    Trucks are not the answer. Cars are.

    But we’ve regulated ourselves into an inefficient corner here in America, so other than some base-level mid-sized sedans (Jetta, 335d, etc) Diesel is the odd-fuel out.


  • avatar

    A few years back, I went for a ride in an X5, my friend’s pride and joy. I sat in the back on the way to the restaurant. There wasn’t enough legroom, which I attributed to the front seat being too far back.

    On the way home, I sat in the front. I didn’t have enough legroom in the front, either, and the seat had not been moved.

    I understand why BMW makes this car; it sells well and makes them tons of money. But for a car to be this heavy and so small inside strikes me as rather a waste.

    Having spent most of my life in the car business, I really don’t understand “luxury cars.” Most of the ones made today (that I have experienced, anyway)simply aren’t worth the price of admission. Sure, they generate “g forces” and have “shift levers that fall readily to hand” but for this kind of money, they should also wax the floors in my house. The only fairly expensive car I have ever driven that I thought was worth the money was the Lexus ES350 and Toyota Avalon and even these are more than I could ever spend on a car and have a clear conscience.

    But hey, the great majority of people who buy high dollar cars do it to display their wealth. For example, yesterday I saw an elderly lady with a Novice (probationary) driver’s license driving a MB S63 AMG. She was speeding along at a whopping 40 km/h because if she gets a ticket, she’s suspended for two years. Even more ironic is the guy in my neighbourhood who has a Lamborghini with a Novice license.

  • avatar

    Diesel wagons can sell in the US. Take a look at the used prices for the rare 1996-97 and 2004-2005 Passat TDI wagons. Plus the Jetta TDI wagon is currently available new. People do buy diesel wagons if they’re reasonably priced. I’m not so sure how a more expensive BMW wagon would do though.

  • avatar

    It’s just sad to hear that BMW isn’t getting the seats right. It’s not like they don’t know how to do it. They have made some of the best (E38 7-series, for example). Are they just operating in a vacuum? Do they actually have people test these things before being released? Wait, this is the same company that has so pigheadedly refused to change the iDrive for six years. And screwed up their trademark steering feel with Active Steering. And designed a humpalump lid tacked onto the back of the 7-series. And the X6tec. Never mind. I cry expensive little German tears for one of my favorite car companies.

    Hey, at least they fixed the rear lights on the new 3-series sedan this year. And finally budged with new hard buttons on the iCuss a-la-Audi. And even in a portly 5225 lb beast of an SUV, they have achieved 49.8/50.2 weight distribution. Is it partly cloudy or partly sunny?

  • avatar

    For example, yesterday I saw an elderly lady with a Novice (probationary) driver’s license driving a MB S63 AMG.

    Things are funny at the Uber-Benz level.
    I swear, people are buying those purely because they’re top of the line or near enough for it to make no difference.

    What’s wrong with an S550 if you’re going to drive an S class?

    In any case, that $100k does better in my portfolio than in my driveway.

  • avatar

    This review is honest, and it mostly focuses on the details. Sure, it is heavy and an SUV and it needs a diet. Don’t we all in some way? I am a HUGE fan of diesel engines, so I guess I am biased. I HATE the stupid names that BMW is using. Why not just X5d? Who needs to know about xdrive? THEY ALL HAVE IT!

    Anyway, the twin-turbodiesel engine makes a remarkable amount of torque for the mileage that it produces and frankly it will be way better in the 3 and 5 series rather than this pig.

  • avatar

    Are they just operating in a vacuum?

    The X5 is one of BMW’s top sellers. The tooling was paid for long ago and they have even shipped production to the USA where it costs them much less to make them.

    They make lots of money per unit, lots and lots and lots. Yes, they know the seats are not good but to improve them would cut into the bottom (no pun intended) line. The X5 is a cash cow, snapped up by image conscious buyers. It doesn’t get a lot of press so it really doesn’t matter.

    It is all about making money. MB crapped its cars out and has never sold more of them because they can flog cachet to new buyers in Asia who know nothing about engineering. BMW is doing the same.

    Will the diesel sell? Probably a few but people who can afford this kind of money for a car don’t care much about fuel economy. The diesels are largely a response to European tax rules.

    I swear, people are buying those purely because they’re top of the line or near enough for it to make no difference.

    It is all about image. People just walk in the store and buy the most expensive thing in the shelf and it is paid for by girls sewing running shoes in sweatshops in China. Then they drive it at 20 mph so they don’t scratch it. When the tires are bald, they just wait to trade it in.

  • avatar

    What does Alabama have to do with the X5?

  • avatar

    285exp :

    As you know, the X5 is built in Spartenberg, SC. Text amended.

  • avatar

    Yeah, Alabama is where the Benz MLs are made.

  • avatar

    What does Alabama have to do with the X5?

    Nothing. The X5 is built in South Carolina, alongside the Z4 at BMW’s Spartanburg facility.

  • avatar

    Is that a stick or a joy stick?

    BMW interior will never be great. What is that mahogany wood on the dash? WOW!!! that’s so old school at least they can put Carbon Fiber trim on the door handle or dash on 21st century car.

  • avatar

    “But hey, the great majority of people who buy high dollar cars do it to display their wealth. For example, yesterday I saw an elderly lady with a Novice (probationary) driver’s license driving a MB S63 AMG. She was speeding along at a whopping 40 km/h because if she gets a ticket, she’s suspended for two years. Even more ironic is the guy in my neighbourhood who has a Lamborghini with a Novice license.”

    I have an S550. I specifically didn’t go for the S63 AMG because:
    #1 MB offers the S550 with an AMG appearance package for less than $3000 more and
    #2, the AMG version is alot more expensive for an engine that, in this crowded city, I’d never need.

    The S550 has plenty of power at 380 HP and is quiet.

    The S63 is noisy and requires alot more service for the engine over time.

    I got the multicontour seats, and distronic cruise control which come standard on the S63.
    My guess is, when that old lady showed up, the dealer said “I’m gonna unload that S63 I have on her simply so I don’t lose money on it”

    They tried to sell me a used S600 for $105,000 with 10,000 miles on it. Sure I coulda had a car faster than a Lamborghini in the quarter mile – BUT WHY?

    I live in fkin NYC ! I sit in traffic more than I sleep.

  • avatar

    A couple things I don’t love about this review: First, it assumes the Lexus is better, but the Lexus wasn’t reviewed, driven, or actually compared except for an anecdotal assumption. Second, the whole wife thing is a little annoying as it reminds me of the DetNews, “He Said, She Said” reviews which were horrible. I guess here opinion is as valid as the next persons, but I’d rather hear from the so-called experts on here.

    I have driven this vehicle myself – so here are my 2 cents. The power is very impressive. The mileage is very good even when driven aggressively. I think I was getting mid 20’s on the interstate while flooring it and then coasting, the repeating. To be honest, I haven’t done the math to see if it was worth it over the gas version. I have to admit the diesel clatter at idle is louder than I expected. I disagree with the comments on the seats, but to be honest I am not sure if I had one of optional packages in the one I drove.

    Like most BMW reviews, the brand is polarizing, and most have made up their mind before stepping in the vehicle. In this case, it is more likely that SUV’s are the polarizing issue and the reviewer is one of the much smaller percentage of Americans that prefer wagons. The X5 is a big vehicle, no doubt. It definitely feels bigger than a 5 Series wagon. I can’t argue with that. I just don’t get why you would ding a SUV in a review for not being a wagon. The X5 is about as close as you will get in driving dynamics, but the laws of physics are universal and even BMW cannot overcome them.

  • avatar

    Flashpoint I agree that those cars are for status symbol.

    And About New York sitting on traffic. New Yorker’s don’t drive their cars in Manhattan because of limited parking or parking that will cost you to pay 50 to a hundred buck a day.

    They usually take a cab.

  • avatar

    If there ever was a polarizing vehicle, the X5 is it. I am a BMW fan, and I like the X5, but I will admit it has challenges that really outstrip the Hummer if you take the less emotional and more pseudo-rational approach to car hatred.

    It doesn’t have enough space to justify it’s size. It isn’t a “real” SUV, but is more of a tall, sporty wagon. No matter what your flavor of anti-suv hate, this thing has it. Also, it’s a BMW, so if you have a hatred for displays of wealth as well, this thing is your nirvana/nemesis.

    The Hummer, in spite of itself, is actually a real offroader. (Please spare me the size thing, sure, if the trail was forged by jeeps, this thing may be too big, but that doesn’t mean you can’t forge your own trail just as well as the jeep guys did).

    Still, I could buy an X5. I would buy the straight six though. This diesel doesn’t yet have the fine rep of the 6 cyl. BMW machines. I am also a fan of diesels, but I am still unsure of the new ones.

    I like the ride, I like the sport seats (they fit me perfectly) I love the comfortable drivers area. It’s easier for me to get in this than the sedan. I drive in high water more than once a year, and dirt gravel roads a lot. I would miss some of the space I have now, and likely have to get some lumber delivered, but the nice ride and handling would be the payoff. It’s also a good looking vehicle in a sea of metal hit buy the ugly stick.

    Lastly, I don’t buy into the hate.

  • avatar

    I know this review concentrates mainly on the new diesel aspect, but what about space in the redesigned X5 over the previous E53 platform? I am familiar with that platform’s 3.0 and 4.4 choices from a driving event and a loaner, respectively. I’m familiar with their driving dynamics. How does this new one compare? What were the changes? I shouldn’t have to cross-surf to Edmunds, Wikipedia, BMW’s site, etc. to get information. Why does TTAC not provide that level of detail? Does it have the new iDrive? There is so much that we don’t learn about the vehicle due to the TTAC limits on review length, lack of pictures, no video, and on and on.

    I’d like to know what specific options your test vehicle had at the very least. You carp about the seats, but are they base or part of an upgraded package (hope not, given the dissatisfaction). There’s no mention of whether your vehicle had the optional third-row seat. If so, how does it fold? How is legroom? How is cargo room behind it? Does your head sit two inches from the back hatch? There are so many areas not covered in the review that I’m just frustrated from having to get info elsewhere.

    Okay, just back from a required jump over to Edmunds, BMW and Wikipedia. Now I know a few more things. I would have liked to have learned them from you though. Specs are specs, but it would be good to know more about the specific vehicle you tested. And to have about 20 or so very nice photos. You don’t even have to include any catchy captions with them. Hell, for that matter, I don’t even know what you look like. Go ahead and use a tripod and show us your disdain while plopped onto those crappy seats. How about a little video clip showing the awful blind spots you refer to? How about some info gleaned from the popular Bimmer forums? What do they think of those seats? What common problems/fixes are there? How’s reliability? How does the man on the street like it? These are all truths that people want to read about from as unbiased a source as they can find.

    I know this is getting into RF’s purview, so I’ll wrap up. I sometimes feel like I’m a minority here on TTAC for wanting more detail on the reviews. I am a big fan of the site. I think the community is one of the best out there. Hopefully we’ll see the vehicle reviews expand to give us the comprehensive information that we are looking for. I’d like to see just one review done to the level I have in mind as mentioned above. Just as a pilot. Hey, it’s a new year.

  • avatar

    I live in Europe (Hungary) and BMW does offer this engine in almost everything they’ve got.

    I personally have an X3 sd, which has a 286 hp / 580 nm version of it. With the right suspension and without run-flats, this is the perfect car for everything (for me). It corners almost as good as my (past) Z4, you never have the feeling that it would roll over, on the edge it starts to slip, but it is very easy to regain control. It goes just as fast as the Z4, 6.6 to 100 kphs, limited to 240 kph (tested). Plus it is the right size (not too big, not too small), it softens the worst holes on the road (and we have very bad roads, believe me) and even has some off-road capability. Sorry for the X3 ad, but this car was told to have so many flaws (not exactly here), and I personally feel that some commenters were unjust to a car they’ve never driven (or never driven with the right engine). But, really, we are here for the engine so I get back to the topic.

    So, BMW offers the same engine in X3, X5, X6, 3-er, 5-er sedan and wagon (called 335d, 535d) and 6-er coupe and also cabrio (called 635d) and rumor has it will be in the new 7-er series (presumably 735d). Although, X-drive is only available with the “base” (one turbo) version of the engine in the non-SAVs.

  • avatar

    Sitting high up in a big, comfy luxury SUV blitzkrieging at 80+ mph at 2k rpm is probably the best feeling a person can ever have. At least me. But a noisy diesel engine, hard seats, harsh suspension, tire roar from 20″ rims, detract from this experience, which is why most people like RXs over showy MLs and sporty X5s.

    I got mixed feelings about the black trim. They discolor after a few years. Thi wouldn’t be a concern for the typical BMW leaser, of course.

    I bet you 1k dollars they’re going to offer this baby with colored bumpers as part of a 6-8k Sport package in 1-2 years. :P Only Porsche is worse at gouging its customers.

  • avatar
    Ashy Larry

    BMW’s standard seats are pretty grim but the 20-way power “comfort seats” they ffer in the X5 are sheer bliss. Albeit yet another $1500 or so tacked onto the already-steep price.

  • avatar


    Yup, in Europe this engine is available in everything but the 1-series and Z4 (but it might just be in the new Z4 eventually) and not only as the 3 series sedan, but also 335d coupe/wagon.

    Only the 3-series convertible is strangely enough not available as 335d but at the same time it is available as the 4 banger 320d diesel and 330d I6 with a single turbo. BMW does some strange things with engine options sometimes, even in Europe…

    Also, in the 7-series, the engine will be available but will probably (confusingly) be called 740d, since BMW has opted not to offer the ‘old’ V8 turbodiesel anymore (formerly called 740d and later 745d) and won’t develop a new V8 diesel to replace it.

  • avatar

    Need to ask the best & brightest is using alloy for a diesel engine a good idea?
    Alloy doesnt take heat as well as all iron block.
    Merc stop making Iron blocks after 85 in Diesels.

  • avatar

    What’s the point of a diesel engine?

    If you want more torque, just change the gear ratio.

    If for the cost saving, diesel price will go up when more Americans use it.

    If for the high mpg, know that there are more hydro-carbon atoms per gallon in diesel, so it’s not really a saving.

    If you don’t want to discard a useful by-product, know that Europeans are using it.

    • 0 avatar

      The turbo-6 and turbo-8 require premium gasoline. Where I live, diesel was only $.10 cents more per gallon for a long time. At one point this year, diesel even became cheaper than premium. In those cases, it was worth it because the diesel got better mpg and we got $3000 off for buying a diesel. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Diesel is now about $.50 cents more than premium. It used to be worth it.

  • avatar

    @ wsn

    What’s the point of a diesel engine?

    Just to confuse people clearly.

  • avatar

    That’s what I figured too. Having some chemistry background, I truly don’t understand all the hype about certain hydro-carbon chain over another. If not for the higher cost, you can have ICE on hydro-carbon chains with many different configurations.

  • avatar

    What’s the point of a diesel engine?

    There’s no point in the US because gas isn’t expensive enough to offset higher initial price.

  • avatar

    @ blowfish

    …is using alloy for a diesel engine a good idea?

    It’s not really about alloy materials over iron, but about strength for diesels. There are lots of variables, but two are that a manufacturer would use an alloy that is lighter and stronger for the purpose.

    In fact, BMW have a 2L Turbo Diesel that is ALL aluminum. (This 3.0L twin turbo unit might be too, I can’t remember).

    Alloy doesnt take heat as well as all iron block.

    It’s not so much about heat but power. For the same torque a diesel engine will be cooler than a petrol engine, but that’s because of the lower power peak.

  • avatar

    Jay: BMW’s are designed in Munich not Stuttgart. If this is a relationship joke on MB-BMW designs, I am missing it.

    I own a 2008 X5 3.0si. See my comments in the other X5 review. I would have bought the diesel if it was available a year ago. I really need to wind out the gas engine to get my X5 moving. For a BMW it really is a slug. 5300lbs. That said, I have broken my lifetime record for not getting any speeding tickets: 14 months so far!

    A 5 Series wagon does not compete with the X5. Like most things in life, it comes down to price: the 5 wagon is at least 20% more expensive than an X5 and BMW’s already push the price thing in every category. The current 5’s also lack the current X5 technology . That is a high price to pay for an “I’m not driving an SUV” halo.

    Nobody should review or consider this car without looking into the Active Drive technology. Huge difference in handling with such a heavy auto when dampening rates are adjusted wheel by wheel in microseconds on the fly courtesy of fiber optic cables running to sensors on the unsprung areas of each corner. The competition does not have technology like this, or at least they don’t put it in their production cars.

    My sport seats are great.

    My biggest complaint is that the side mirrors can’t be adjusted outwards enough to eliminate the blindspot. (Ie. done properly you can’t see the sides of your car as a result; but you always know where the sides or your car are, right? Or, for those that still don’t understand, ever wonder why F1 drivers don’t need to shoulder check?) I have never had this problem with my E46 3 series, or any Honda that I ever owned in the past. That is just bad design, especially when BMW driving schools recommend this as a method of adjusting the side mirrors.

    Also – to get another thing off my chest: BMW did not design the airflow very well under the hood. My E46 never got rain and slush splashed upwards under the hood onto the top of the engine. The only cleaning I did on the top of my E46 engine was dusting. Not so with the E70; salt and dirt and crap all over the engine. Nice.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    this is one sweetheart of an engine. BMW only offers it in the 3-Series sedan and the X5. Neither would be my vehicle of choice; the 3-Series sedan is too small and the X5 is too porky
    A quick search on the European site of BMW reveals that the “35d” engine is also offered in the 6-series (5-series make do with the regular “30d” engine, good for a 6.9s sprint to 100km/h) and the X6.

    The 35d engine can be had in the X3, X5, X6, 3-series coupe, sedan and wagon, 5-series sedan and wagon and 6-series coupe and convertible. I believe the 7-series will eventually get it, as the V8 diesel isn’t likely to make a return in the F01. The 730d is plenty fast enough for the typical 7-series driver though. 0-62 in under 7 seconds.

    Admittedly, there is a bit more diesel clatter at idle than I would have expected.
    The 35d is way noisier than the 30d or the 25d. It’s the same with the 123d versus the simpler single-turbo my 118d has.

  • avatar

    The X5 diesel is pretty sweet… decent torque… good up-top urge… sure, it’s not the biggest inside, but it’s roomy enough.

    @ the X3 owner… sorry… I could never “get” the X3… haven’t ridden one that didn’t rattle my teeth out as badly as a 1-series… though even the “retuned” BMWs still ride too harshly on run-flats… the X5 or X6 is about as small as I’d go while considering an “SUV”.

    The review could have talked a bit more about xDrive… the new active systems make the X6’s handling at least twice as good as the X5… and a match (or more) for the Cayenne… I’d like to know what it does for the X5. I’m of the “SUVs are pointless” type (I think the only BMW worth having is a 5-series touring… in diesel), but you’ve got to respect a tall soft-roader that can power-slide like a muscle car.

  • avatar

    Have you ever ridden in an X3 without the sport package or larger rims, or runflats? We have a 2004, and it rides quite well. Only a little harsher than the 2000 and 2002 3 series sedans we had. It takes large bumps better than either, and light bumps are a little less muted.
    While there is less room in the front seat area, there seems to actually be more usable cargo space in the X3 than the X5. My wife preferred the X3, so that is what she got.

  • avatar

    I live in snowy Michigan, have a family of six, and tow a 5,000 lb trailer several times a year. I’ll be looking at these when it’s time to replace the old ML.

  • avatar

    I think I am the above mentioned X3 owner. I understand if you don’t like it that is just an opinion, but I am personally satisfied with its ride and size.
    I have a facelifted 2007 and I don’t have run-flats (Euro X3s never have run-flats I don’t know about American ones) nor sport package, but I do have 18″ rims as they are standard on every SD. Yet, the ride is still fine, it is almost as good as it was in my E39 530d (with 17″ rims), while it handles sportier than most cars I’ve driven (I think the only exceptions were the “smaller” BMWs, like the E39, Z3, Z4 and some sports cars).
    And yes, the Z4 was a punishment on bad roads with its stiff suspension and run-flats, no argument there.
    It’s size can be a question when you see it from the outside, because it sits lower than the X5 and has a bit different shape, but in the inside it is quite like the first gen X5, while landcrusher was right saying the cargo area is even bigger (even on paper, because it does not have a full size spare tire). I guess the next X3 will be a bit bigger, though. They have to make room for the X1, too. (The styling of which I also like.)

  • avatar

    Sadly, we get the run-flats as standard here (Manila)… which means you shell out the money yourself to get the non-run-flats and pre-requisite tire sealant. But I have heard from those who’ve done it that the improvement in ride is remarkable.

    While the X3 isn’t my cup-of-tea, I’ll admit, it’s an amazingly good drive, and those BMW diesels are pretty darn good.

  • avatar

    The X5 is one of the best SUV’s on the market in my opinion and a lot of other people’s like lagunadallas – listen to people that own them not people that test drive them! Would you pay 70K for a BMW X5 35D or a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid Tank – It’s not rocket science ha ha

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