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BMW X5 Maintenance and Repair



  • 3literx53literx5 Posts: 3
    I've had my 3.0 for just over 2 weeks, about 1100 miles. The major design issue is booming when the sunroof is the only thing opened.
    The defects are a whine when the AM radio is on (need to hear trffic reports in the SFBay Area) and the phone installation: the hands-free mike doesn't work, & they are supposed to fix it tomorrow.
    My Service Dep't fell down on the job in several ways; fortunately the sales side helped save the experience.
    I agree with the stereotype that Japanese-built vehicles are generally more dependable. Also, in my experience, they lack a certain "soul" that provides more driving enjoyment. Many people don't care about this--a car is another appliance, so it must just do its job & be reliable. If you also subscribe the the "slow in, fast out" school though, then German heritage is hard to beat.
    My 3.0's workmanship, fit and finish was just perfect, though. I think the mirror memory glitched once, but I'm not sure. Today, I had to do a turn-and-cut in a small parking lot; full steering wheel lock, a/c running, no hint of engine bogging down or stalling. It has never done anything surprising like that.
  • imfree00imfree00 Posts: 22
    Let us know of your decision. I have owned some really reliable Asian vehicles that served me well, no problems. Then again, I have owned some really aggravating Euro types that spent time in the shop. Cars are like women, I believe. The ones that won't give you any trouble are kinda boring. The others drive you crazy but, what fun.
  • reddogsreddogs Posts: 353
    If thats the case then I got some hot YUGOS to sell to you, I would never make a choice based on whats "all over the streets", that is one of the worst mistakes you can make. But if you want to be unique, those YUGOS will set you apart in any neighborhood..........:0)
  • robert84robert84 Posts: 3

    Wow! I thought I was the only one! I was ready to buy a 3.0 X5 "cancellation order" the dealer had right on the spot. I took a test drive, and I found the "booming" sound caused by the open sunroof to be really annoying. The sound went away when I opened at least one other window, but then the wind through the cabin was just as irritating (at approx. 35mph).

    From this forum, I had heard of the AM radio "whine" problem caused by the alternator. The X5 I tested had the same problem. The sales person tried to persuade me that "no one listens to AM radio anyway", but then let me know that BMW plans to issue a fix shortly that would be covered under warranty.

    Also, I noticed that the rear seat headrests don't allow for a full "flush" fit with the backs of the front seats when they are folded down to increase storage space. Did I just miss something, or are these headrests permanently fixed in position?

    I've owned BMW's before, and I've always found the standard sound systems to be only adequate. The same is true in this car. Inside the dealership, I sat in another X5 with the 12-speaker DSP option, and the sound quality was definitely much better (if costly.)

    Other than that, I thought the car was great. The drive was way, WAY better than my JGC Limited. I may still buy one of these, but I plan to watch this forum closely for awhile before I do.
  • reddogsreddogs Posts: 353
    ...U R A MB dealer......
  • robert84robert84 Posts: 3
    Easy now, reddogs...

    Take a closer look at my message. I think the X5 is great, but not perfect. Even with the flaws I noted, I will probably buy one. However, I figure anyone planning to pay $50k-$60k for this type of car ought to be aware of some of the issues. If I didn't need a new car now, I'd probably wait until the next X5 model year to make my purchase.

    By the way, I also checked out the MB. IMHO, it's the ugliest car on the road, and it lacks the interior look & feel I would expect from a Mercedes. My neighbor owns a Merc sedan, and he states that his mechanic has confided that the ML is (or at least was....) a bucket of bolts.
  • erhiverhiv Posts: 1
    I too experienced the helicopter noise when the sun roof was open w/windows up. Very disappointing design flaw. (the sales person said they could not hear it) Again, very disappointing. :-( The radio/stereo is substandard, and I found it troubling that EVERYTHING seems to be an option. Perhaps they are taking advantage of the market, (which is understandable). I mean a 5-speed transmission and manual seats?!?!? PLEASE!
  • cwk1cwk1 Posts: 4
    My wife and I both love the X5. But, the 4.4 is way over priced. We waited 2 months for a 3.0 to arrive so that we could test drive it. Fabulous car but it is also overpriced.

    All I asked of our new vehicle (actually hers) is that it would have adequate towing capacity for my boat. Although rated for 5000 lbs. the 3.0 does it with mirrors(gears). No way I'm setting out on a road trip pulling my boat with only 215 ft. lbs. of torque. That's downright wimpy for towing.

    I found that I could get a loaded ML430 for about $1,500 less than a comparably equipped X5 3.0. My wife is disappointed, but seems to understand. Taking delivery tomorrow. But, I know I'll look at every X5 I pass and wonder "what if?"
  • cwk1cwk1 Posts: 4
    If it seems that X5's are over priced it's because they are. BMW markets its vehicles with about twice the margin of MB. Of course this extra "negotiating" doesn't pass on on a popular vehicle like the X5.

    I have been told by a supposedly reliable source that BMW will change its margins to more closely equal MB next year (2002?) They will keep the price equal to or greater than the current price by including more standard features. But, to me that means that a 2002 model will be less expensive than a loaded 2001 model. Something to think about.
  • ferarri11ferarri11 Posts: 91
    for the price of the X5 4.4, has anyone seriously looked at the Landcruiser or LX470- it seems to be a better deal, much bigger size, better space utilization, superior offroad ability,better ride and heavier discounts. it doesnt have the BMW handling but it is a true sport utility. i know both get lousy gas mileage, but that's a given.
  • imfree00imfree00 Posts: 22
    If you really know anything about Ferarris (sic) you would understand why we shopped for LX's, ML's, and all the other high end SUV"s and then chose the X5. It is not as big, thank heavens, does not go off road as well and doesn't get discounted. How does it drive, ferarri11? Not like a Toyota.
  • sdblairsdblair Posts: 1
    Re: # 24

    drive was way, WAY better than my JGC Limited"

    Okay, I may be biased, having just bought a '00 JGC Ltd, but comparing it to the X5? For a minimum of $5k more based on the "TMV" (for a stripped '01 3.0), plus the sacrifice of off-road capability, I would expect a WAY better ride. The "SAV" is basically the manufacturer's way of saying, "Okay, we know your never going off-road, so we'll give you a fabulous ride with the added benefit of a high seating position and extra cargo space (relative to a sedan)."

    I compare the JGC's ride to my last car: an 88 Suzuki Samurai. It is WAY better, but what wouldn't be? For a truck, the JCG is great. IMHO, the X5 and RX300 are not trucks. They are not marketed to people who want trucks. Did you buy a JGC solely for its comfort and handling (i.e. you had no need or desire for off-road or towing ability)? Then you probably didn't really want a Jeep, and the X5 better meets your needs.

    I guess the point of my rant is; you can compare the JGC and the X5, but they are not comparable.

    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

  • loc2001nloc2001n Posts: 1
    I'm planning to buy a BMW X5 4.4i. However, it seems a little too much overpriced. Also, I'm wondering if its dependability is a thing to consider buying. Though with lots of questions and wonderings on my mind, I still LOVE it so much. Please give me some suggestions. Thanks
  • piercejapierceja Posts: 6
    Go with your gut. You won't be sorry.
  • bordsourcebordsource Posts: 95
    Hey, the X5 is a poor value, that's all there is to it. Anyone who buys an X5 buys it purely based on emotion, because the only practical reason for buying an X5 is safety (it's the safest BMW, or so the company says). It's got a puny cargo area, can't go off-road, needs snow tires to get through the winter, and on hard a hard rear seat. The ML and Land Cruiser might be more common, but they are far more practical. I wouldn't even try to tow with an X5, seeing that that engine (and the MLs also) are lifted straight out of passenger cars. Bottom line: if you want an X5, just get it. Your emotions won't regret it. Great handling, sonorous engine, great build quality and high-quality materials.
  • oinick1oinick1 Posts: 2
    It is not to tow. It is not to haul. It is not to dig through the dirt or climb over rocks. The X5 is not a sport utility vehicle.

    Here's what it is: a butt-kicking, great handling four door sedan that sits high off the ground with a high tech four wheel drive system built for the ROAD. BMW originally marketed the X5 under the slogan "anytime, anywhere", and this is exactly accurate. It is well built and powerful, and it drives better than (and unlike) anything else out there.

    My X5 has just rolled over on 8000 miles (had it since 12/99) and I am happier with it than any other car I've ever had (included the other 5 BMWs). No problems except AM engine whine. Love it, love it.

    Let's be honest: the only thing that truly compares to the X5 in purpose is the RX300. They are both on the road vehicles by design, but I won't even address why the BMW beats the hell out of the Lexus. (But it should, given its much higher price).

    As for reliability, if you're worried, but an extended warranty (I did). As for cargo capacity, I bought a roof rack and cargo box.

    If you like to drive fine cars, and are willing to pay the price, I am fully convinced you will no go wrong with the purchase of the X5.
  • angy888angy888 Posts: 1
    Oinick1: can you explain little bit more on this "high-tech 4-wheel drive system", maybe comparing it to other market leaders such as Audi's quattro or Suburu's AWD? I thought X5 just has a regular (with fixed-ratio torque split) 4-wheel drive system.

    PS: pick up my X5 this Friday.
  • bordsourcebordsource Posts: 95
    The X5's AWD system closely follows that of the M-class. As I understand it, torque is split 38 front and 62 rear. In the event of slippage, the system brakes the spinning wheel and reapports torque to the axle that can grip the best (however, I don't know if it can send 100% of power to one wheel like the ML). There is no low range, however.

    Oinick, we're saying the same thing. The X5 wasn't designed to do the things that SUVs do, even though (technically) it is an SUV. Because it can't do the things that other SUVs can, it's a purely emotional purchase (especially at $60,000+ for a fully loaded model). Speaking of that, there's no way that I'd pay $45,000 for a 3.0i. It's a nice car, but hey, for that cash, I think that an Audi S4 oir A6 2.7T would be right nice indeed.
  • racecar3racecar3 Posts: 4
    bordsource: your description of the X5 awd system being similar to the M class is correct. Also, the X5 CAN deliver all power to just one wheel if needed.... you can see a demonstration of this at the website.

    I just have always wondered... if it uses the abs brakes to brake the slipping wheel... how does it continue to know if the wheel is still slipping? How does the car apply brake and test slippage at the same time? I know it all happens very fast... but i'm just trying to figure out how it really works. I wish there were more in depth article we could read about how all the systems in the car truly work (i.e. awd, traction, etc.).

    On a side note... has anyone here driven the 19" tires with sport suspension in the snow? Do you think they are adequate, or will I have to purchase all new wheels and tires?
  • aling1aling1 Posts: 225
    The M-class uses a centre differential to split the power 48%/52% under normal conditions when there is resistance. This near 50/50 split allows for extremely neutral handling in all weather conditions and on all sorts of surfaces. Since the system is only split 48%/52%, only 24% of the power can go to each of the front wheels, and 26% to each of the rear wheels.

    The X5 has a similar system, but uses a 32%/68% difference for a more traditional RWD feel. The problem with this disproportional ratio is that the vehicle can be tailhappy, something that is noticable on snow/icy slippery surfaces. Since the split is 32/68, 16% of the power can be routed to each of the front wheels, and 34% to each of the rear wheels.

    The only vehicle that can deliver 100% of the engine's power to an individual wheel is the Jeep Grand Cherokee with the QuadraDrive system and the Vari-lok axles with the auto locking differentials. The problem with this is that the components need to be strong (and hence heavy) to deal with the power. This weight adds to more unsprung weight, and is detrimental for handling.

    These systems use the ABS wheel speed sensors to monitor wheel slippage. I don't know about the X5's activation threshold, but the ML's 4ETS kicks in when it detects a 3 mph difference (in high range) or 1.2 mph (approximately a quarter turn of the wheel - in low range) between the slipping wheel(s) and the other wheels.

    I've driven the Sport Package in snow, and I think that you should follow your salesman and BMW's advise. These are definitely NOT suitable for those conditions, and you'll be putting yourself and others in danger if you do. Not only are the Sport Package Bridgestone Turanzas' rubber compound not suitable for snow, but the close threads clog up extremely quickly with snow. I don't think that any tire company in North America makes winter tires for those 17", 18" or 19" wheels, so you may be stuck with the all-seasons. The all season Michelins MXV4s are also highly street biased with close threads, however they are much better than the Turanzas in the snow.
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