Junkyard Find: 2002 BMW X5 4.4i

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
Now that I’ve been doing these Junkyard Finds for 13 years and having just written my annual 10 Best Junkyard Cars post, I’m taking a look back to see what historically significant vehicles I’ve neglected as I pursue weird examples of badge engineering and trivia– question AWD versions. I’ve been working on filling in the blanks with junked BMW 3 and 5 Series cars lately, along with 21st– century econoboxes, and now I will be trying to shoot more German luxury SUVs.We’ll start off with this clean-looking ’02 X5, which I found in a yard just south of Denver.
After the runaway success of the Ford Explorer, followed during the 1990s by ever-larger trucks and truck-influenced vehicles to be used as suburban commute appliances, the facts became clear to the European car manufacturers: build SUVs or watch your sales in North America go to hell. So, the E39 5 Series got a thousand-pound hat and a bunch of Land Rover hardware, and the first X5s showed up in showrooms for the 2000 model year.
It was tall, it was comfortable, it was American-built, it drove more like a car than a truck, and the interior boasted plenty of soft bovine flesh. X5 sales went well.
This one is the 4.4i version, with 282-horsepower M62 V8 engine. With a curb weight of 4,960 pounds, every one of those horses helped.
Unlike its 5 Series sibling/cousin, the V8 X5 had no manual-transmission option in 2002. Instead, you got a six-speed automatic.
The base price of this high-tech machine came to $59,695, or about $86,600 in 2020 dollars. You’d think that such a high-zoot vehicle would get white-glove care and last for decades, but many third-through-ninth owners of costly European cars don’t keep up with maintenance, and the junkyard gets a phone call when a $1,200 repair becomes necessary. That’s why I see so many not-so-old A8s and 7-Series and S-Classes and Jaguars in the graveyard.
I’m going to guess that the towing package was an uncommon option on the first-gen X5.
Dedicated storage for audio CDs seems so old-fashioned now.
Just the thing to drive to the ski resort.
Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Cprescott Cprescott on Jan 21, 2020

    The only time I wonder about what people drive are those tailgating fools in Honduhs and Toyoduhs (most consistent idiots who tailgate in the SLOW lane). I have wondered are you an idiot for buying a Duh sister car or does owning one make you into an idiot? Regardless, I set the cruise control in the slow lane and let the idiots stew in their own stupidity/

  • Fleuger99 Fleuger99 on Jan 29, 2020

    I ordered a 2002 X5 but the 3.0 litre six cylinder model and I ordered it with a 5 speed manual. It drove like a sports car, I could throw it into corners downshifting and then pushing it out getting on the gas. I owned it for 6 years before selling it but loved that vehicle. I remember in 2002 when I got it, it cost me less than $20 to fill it up, the good old days :)

  • ToolGuy Honda is dreaming. And resting on its 'laurels' (French for 'posterior').
  • SCE to AUX Here's some advice - slow down. That's a great way to arrive home safely, without a ticket, with lower blood pressure, and more economically.
  • Dartdude They need to rebrand the models, The standard model should be Wagoneer and long version should be Grand Wagoneer. There should offer the Ram Rev powertrain in these
  • Irvingklaws Seems more like they're adopting Honda styling queues. Now if they would just adopt their reliability...
  • FreedMike "Obsidian Edition."Oooooh, obsidian is really, really hard stuff.