2008 BMW X5 Long Term Road Test

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2008 BMW X5 4.8i: The Brawny Lad

January 30, 2009

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I am moved by muscle cars. I can appreciate a big, ol' luxury boat. And I even like the occasional drive in a pick-up truck. But, honestly, I'm most comfortable and generally happiest in a relatively small, relatively lightweight car. This makes my growing affection for the decidedly beefy BMW X5 4.8i something unusual.

Everything about this vehicle is brawny, thick, heavy or solid, including its heavy-duty as-tested price of $68,520. And at more than 5,000 pounds of solid German/American goodness, the perception of high weight is reality. But it's almost shocking how easily the X5's V8 moves this two-and-a-half tons. Surely, the engine must be underrated at 350 hp. And somehow, even without the sport package, the X5 is nearer to being nimble than anything this big has right to be.

I don't need all this size. I certainly don't need to sit up as high as I do in the X5's driver's seat. But damn if I don't like it. The only real downside, assuming you have the means to make the monthly payments, is the big fuel tab. Since it's arrival in Detroit less than a month ago, the X5 has averaged 14.2 mpg. With the X5, you get size and you get speed, but you can't have everything.

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