2008 BMW X5 Review – A Recipe for Adventure

BMW Expert Reviews


It’s a BMW. The X5 is a solid, well-engineered and well-built vehicle. Everything worked as advertised, although learning to use everything is a bit of a steep curve. This vehicle is almost too advanced for the average driver, but perfect for those who crave the latest gadgetry and gizmos.

Interior Comfort and Ergonomics

Once you’re settled into the 10-way, power-adjustable, Nappa leather seats, you can see and reach all the required instrumentation and controls comfortably. The optional heads-up display gives you pertinent data such as speed and direction while your eyes stay focused on the road ahead. The power tilt/telescopic, leather-wrapped, multi-function steering wheel, controls such things as volume, scanning through the radio station presets, and cruise control without taking your hands off the wheel. The rear view camera and parking sensors help with your situational awareness in tight spaces or reversing.

The only complaint I have would be that using the iDrive System while driving is like talking on your cell phone while driving – it’s downright distracting and dangerous.

2008 BMW X5 - Nevada Leather Seats 2008 BMW X5 - Panoramic Moonroof, Interior 2008 BMW X5 - Temperature Controls

Performance and Handling

The X5 performs like a sports car – if you want it to. Otherwise, it’s a very comfortable SUV, or SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle), as BMW calls it. The 350hp V-8 engine along with the 6-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission will get you to your destination quickly, smoothly and comfortably. Add in the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), including Brake Fade Compensation, Start-off Assistant, Brake Drying, and Brake Stand-by features, with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), and Dynamic Brake Control and you have a vehicle that will handle all the adverse conditions that you may encounter on your journey from A to B. The X5 can rail turns through the tightest mountain passes or meander along smoothly and quietly through the countryside. One word can describe the performance and handling – excellent.

2008 BMW X5 - 350 hp, 4.8-liter, V-8 Engine


The smooth lines of the X5 along with the classic BMW style make this vehicle a head-turner. Outfitted with all the options and painted a beautiful Alpine White, our X5 was truly a sight to behold – considering it was filled to the brim with gear and it sported three full-suspension mountain bikes on the roof rack. Inside, the leather seats and genuine dark burled walnut trim made you feel like you were in a luxury vehicle – not an SAV. All the elements worked well together to create a beautiful machine.

2008 BMW X5


That old adage, “You get what you pay for”, mostly applies here. Starting at an MSRP of $54,500 and topping $76,000 with all the options you would expect nothing less than the best and BMW delivers. The performance and handling are amazing. The styling and comfort are both top of the line. You also get BMW’s reputation for quality along with their service plan which includes roadside assistance. There are a few minor issues that may or may not bother some folks, such as the lack of cargo space or rear hitch or even the complexity of the iDrive System.

Who should buy it?

If you have a bit of disposal income, a penchant for performance, and a need for some “utility”, then the X5 may be the SAV for you. I hate to say it’s for the “weekend warrior”, but that’s what comes to mind when I think of the perfect candidate for the X5.


Driving the X5 was the most fun I’ve had on 4 wheels in a long time. Loading it to the max and testing its performance limits on the roads to Downieville was an experience that was only outdone by the actual mountain biking in Downieville. Would I buy it? Yes, if money was no object. Would I recommend it? $70,000 is a steep price to get your bikes and gear to your favorite riding destination, but if you can afford it, I highly recommend it.

2008 BMW X5


Build Interior Performance Handling Styling Value Overall
Rating 5.0 4.5 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.5 4.75/A-

BMW X5 Photo Gallery

BMW X5 Specs

BMW X5 5.0 Specs

BMW USAThe official BMW of North America website – www.bmwusa.com

>> See all of the BMW X5 photos in our photo gallery

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>>The official BMW of North America Web site: www.bmwusa.com

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