First impressions: 2008 BMW X5 4.8i

BMW Expert Reviews

By Holly R.

2008 BMW X5 4.8i

  • Head-up display is a gem, and should be included on every single car in the U.S.
  • Given it’s size (and mine) I had no trouble at all seeing out of the car, on ANY side
  • Bluetooth® is really easy to program
  • Brilliant use of the interior space for cubbyholes and storage spaces
  • X5 is really fun to drive and the 350hp 4.8L V8 engine is a monster
  • The V8 has its disadvantages however: gas mileage was really bad @ 14.6 mpg
  • The seats had nice features, but I was unable to get comfortable in them
  • Given it’s size, the interior size seemed much smaller than it should be
  • Whoa! Sticker shock if you choose all the options

First Impressions:
I actually had quite a few first impressions. “Oh my God, it’s gorgeous.” “Wow, I get to drive a BMW!”. “This is a really BIG vehicle!”, but nothing compares to actually driving one. The X5 4.8i has a snarling 350-horsepower V8 engine, yet it’s stylish, technologically advanced, sexy and has some really great features. At first I thought it was snarling at me (it sounded like it was growling when accelerating), but I found it was actually snarling at the other cars on the road. “Pass me, I dare you.”

With the 350-hp V8 engine, I had occasion to floor the accelerator. The X5 reacted immediately, rocketing me forward with such fearsome power that it was almost scary. It also had the sport suspension and sport drive (separate features) when combined, offer a sport-tuned drive. I turned them both on, but with my decidedly unaggressive driving style, it was wasted on me. I really didn’t use it. I did pop it into the manual transmission, but I let the X5 decide when to change gears. It did not disappoint, and was very smooth.

2008 BMW X5 4.8i - 6-speed automatic transmission and iDrive

The single-most valuable feature (IMO) on the X5 is the “head-up” display. I’d never used one before and I have to say it: EVERY vehicle on the road should be equipped with this feature. It’s brilliant. When using the navigation system, the directions appear along with the speed on the display. And it’s not cumbersome or distracting in the least bit. With the Bluetooth programmed (which was EASY to do) the phone number appeared in the head-up display. One would never need to take their eyes off the road, and this is how it SHOULD be.

In my short time in the X5, my two biggest complaints were: feature overload, and gas mileage. The X5 has so many features controlled by the iDrive, that I felt like as a new owner, you’d almost need to take a class from BMW in how to program it. It seems almost “too” advanced for the average owner. It’s also one of those things that I fear in a vehicle: too many bells and whistles, which translates to: many things to break and lots of cash to fix them. The X5 is an absolute PIG with gas. Even with my conservative driving style, I was only able to get 14.6 mpg. Of course, if you’re willing to fork out the cash for one of these, I doubt that $5.00/gallon gas will bother you much.. For 2009, BMW is coming out with a diesel-powered X5 for better fuel economy, but diesel isn’t cheap, or easy to come by.

2008 BMW X5 4.8i

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