BMW blazed itself a new trail in the late 1990s when it launched the first X5 sport-utility vehicle, and the 2011 X5 continues to provide good handling, seating for five, and enough off-road ability to make it a popular choice among affluent suburbanites. It competes with the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, the lower end of the Range Rover line, and the Audi Q7, among others in the expansive luxury sport-utility field.
The brand has been slow to the hybrid game—its sole offering is the pricey and very low-production ActiveHybrid X6 “sports activity vehicle” model—but the green alternative in the X5 line has historically been the clean-diesel xDrive35d version. The EPA rates the diesel X5 at 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, for a combined rating of 22 mpg; specifying the smallest 3.0-liter gasoline engine lowers that to 16 city, 23 highway, 19 combined.
Like all BMWs, the X5 line combines excellent handling with brisk performance, though the X5 M hot-rod version is the...
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