2009 BMW X5 Review | Edmunds.com

2009 BMW X5

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
BMW X5 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.0 L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 260 hp @ 6600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 15/21 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 BMW X5

  • In the luxury crossover SUV segment, the 2009 BMW X5 sets the standard for handling and performance. In terms of value and utility, however, many competitors are better.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Nimble handling, powerful engines, luxurious and comfortable interior, huge list of features, excellent iPod interface.

  • Cons

    Ride is on the firm side for some, munchkin-sized third-row seat, hefty price, frustrating iDrive interface.

  • What's New for 2009

    A new twin-turbo diesel engine debuts on the 2009 BMW X5, which promises robust power and enhanced fuel economy. Optional and standard equipment has been adjusted throughout the X5 lineup, as have the trim level names.

Full 2009 BMW X5 Review

What's New for 2009

A new twin-turbo diesel engine debuts on the 2009 BMW X5, which promises robust power and enhanced fuel economy. Optional and standard equipment has been adjusted throughout the X5 lineup, as have the trim level names.


BMW put the "sport" in sport-utility vehicle when it introduced the X5 a decade ago. At its launch, BMW's marketing department dubbed the crossover a Sports Activity Vehicle (but then again, they also call the new four-door X6 a coupe, so perhaps nomenclature isn't BMW's strong suit). Nonetheless, the 2009 BMW X5 is just as sporty as its predecessors, injecting an ample amount of Bavarian handling chutzpah into the ridin'-high body of a family-friendly SUV. Although several luxury automakers have taken aim at the X5's sporting formula, this BMW remains very attractive for those who want the "S" in SUV to actually mean something.

Now three years into its current generation, the X5 adds a new engine for these fuel-economy-conscious times. The 2009 X5 xDrive35d features a twin-turbocharged diesel inline-6 that not only produces ample low-end power (425 pound-feet of torque) but also sips fuel at the rate of a compact SUV rather than one that weighs 5,000 pounds. New emissions-scrubbing technology known as BluePerformance makes this diesel engine suitable for sale in all 50 states.

Aside from its engine, the xDrive35d is mostly identical to the xDrive30i and xDrive48i trim levels (which were renamed for 2009 from 3.0si and 4.8i, respectively). They all provide sharp and confident handling, comfortable seating for five people (although the optional third row is only suitable for small kids) and plenty of luxury goodies. This isn't to say BMW has a patent on this formula. Vehicles like the Acura MDX, Infiniti FX and Porsche Cayenne also provide the type of handling that sport sedan drivers will appreciate. If spirited handling isn't a priority, there are other luxury crossovers that offer a comfier ride, easier steering at slow speeds, better value and more utility. But for Bimmer-philes or driving enthusiasts who need a family-friendly SUV, the 2009 BMW X5 is the obvious sporting choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 BMW X5 is a midsize luxury SUV available in xDrive30i, xDrive35d (late availability) and xDrive48i trim levels. Standard equipment on the xDrive30i includes 18-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats with driver memory settings, a power tilt and telescoping steering column, vinyl "leatherette" upholstery, the iDrive electronics interface and a 12-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. Aside from their different engines, the xDrive35d and xDrive48i trims are virtually identical (the 48i adds leather upholstery, however).

A number of optional packages are available to further luxe out the X5. The Premium package adds auto-dimming mirrors, a power liftgate, BMW Assist telematics with Bluetooth and leather upholstery with the xDrive30i. The Sport package adds an adaptive suspension, 19-inch wheels, sport seats and a sport steering wheel. The Premium Sound package equips the X5 with a premium sound system, a six-CD changer and an iPod interface (included on the xDrive48i, a stand-alone extra on the xDrive30i). The technology package adds parking sensors, a back-up camera and a navigation system with voice activation and real-time traffic. The rear climate package adds rear privacy glass, manual rear side sunshades and four-zone auto climate control. The active ventilated seat package adds multi-adjustable front "comfort" seats with ventilation.

Other stand-alone options include upgraded leather upholstery, keyless ignition and entry, active steering, a head-up display, an iPod adapter (requires the sound package on the xDrive48i), a rear-seat entertainment system, satellite radio and HD radio. A third-row seat is also available and includes a rear self-leveling suspension. Twenty-inch wheels can be added to the Sport-package-equipped xDrive48i.

Powertrains and Performance

There are three engines available for the 2009 BMW X5. The X5 xDrive30i is powered by a 3.0-liter inline-6 that produces 260 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque. Its EPA estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined. The xDrive35d features a twin-turbocharged diesel inline-6 that produces 265 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque. This engine includes clean-diesel technology that allows it to be sold in all 50 states. BMW estimates fuel economy will be 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway while matching the xDrive30i's acceleration abilities. The X5 xDrive48i gets a 4.8-liter V8 good for 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. In performance testing, the 48i went from zero to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates are 14 city/19 highway and 16 combined. All X5s are all-wheel drive and come with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. Properly equipped, an X5 can tow 6,000 pounds.


The 2009 X5 comes standard with antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, brake drying and standby features, a rollover sensor, front side airbags and side curtain airbags for the first and second rows. In government crash tests, the X5 scored a perfect five stars for frontal-impact driver protection and four stars for frontal-impact passenger protection. It got a perfect five stars for front and rear side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the X5 its highest rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The new X5's interior is one of the most elegant BMW has ever built. The construction is precise, the materials are high-quality and the instrumentation is crystal-clear. The front seats are nicely shaped and adjust for a wide range of body types (the optional comfort seats offer even more adjustment). The only sour notes include the complex iDrive system (although it's well-suited to the optional iPod interface), the cramped third-row seat and the gear selector, which many drivers find too much like a video game controller. With the second- and third-row seats folded, the X5 offers a total of 75 cubic feet of cargo space, which is about average for this class.

Driving Impressions

The 2009 BMW X5 is one of the best-handling midsize luxury SUVs you can buy. Whether driving on back roads or on an endless expanse of interstate, the X5 is a champ. Although some competitors offer more utility and many are more adept off-road, the X5 does an amazing job of taking the sensations and talents of BMW's legendary sport sedans and translating them to the SUV world. This is particularly true when the X5 is fitted with the optional active dampers and stabilizers.

The X5 isn't perfect, though. We've found the steering to be overly heavy at parking lot speeds, even if its hefty nature is a boon on the open road. The optional active steering system eases parking maneuvers, but the downside is reduced steering feel. The X5 has an agreeable ride quality, particularly on long highway jaunts, but buyers looking for a Lexus-like comfy-couch ride may find this Bimmer a little harsh.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

First bmw x5 purhcase...

by on
Vehicle: 2009 BMW X5 xDrive48i 4dr SUV AWD (4.8L 8cyl 6A)

When you look past the iDrive and price, what a vehicle. Nothing this big I have ever driven handles as well as the X5. The interior is timeless and the exterior is just enough the combo of aggressiveness/luxury. I have the 4.8i with the big v8. Talk about ballsy, this thing gets up and goes, however I do not drive it hard as I am concerned for the price of gas. I will say that if you are genuinely considering buying one, you must have the money for maintenance (regardless of warranty or not) someone financially unstable should not even think of buying this SUV. The oil changes, tires WILL bite your wallet at some point. I have not found the rattling for rear gate, its bothering me..bad.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

People mover with class and

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Vehicle: 2009 BMW X5 xDrive30i 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6A)

I must say the BMW x5 3.0 is x-drive is a joy to drive its not a m5 but it's perfect for everyday use. The cabin is very comfortable and build quality and materials are of the highest quality the brakes are very good and drives very tight. It gives you the room you need to move the family around with out losing performance and style. Build quality and reliability is as good as it gets.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Great suv

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Vehicle: 2009 BMW X5 xDrive35d 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 6A)

I bought a off lease 09 X5 D after my wife's new explorer was hit and totaled. After only a few days all i can say is wow! 425 pound ft of torque and 28 mpg on the highway is an incredible combination. The X5 has amazing handling and great brakes. We have owned a fx 35, a xc 90 and a ford explorer and this X5 is by far the best SUV we have owned. This engine is perfect for a 5000 lb truck. It pulls effortlessly and for such a heavy vehicle it has great pick up. If you are looking for the perfect combo of fuel mileage, power, comfort and handling look no further. I highly recommend

1 of 3 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2009 BMW X5 xDrive30i 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6A)

It seemed promising at first, but after a few months I'm done with it. There are more rattles than an old Volvo, the 3.0 is weak, iDrive is useless, the run flats are crazy expensive and have NO traction in snow, and it rides worse than my F-150 4X4. Actually, my F-150 is built better, more dependable, has equal handling and performance, and gets about the same gas mileage. Now the evaporator is leaking freon. Maybe this 3rd trip in the dealer can resolve these issues.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Roadside assistance is a scam

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Vehicle: 2009 BMW X5 xDrive35d 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 6A)

Called for a jump start and got a street looking guy with a battery pack not enought AMP to start my X5d. Called again and waited one hour. They couldn't find any well equipped tow truck to jump start my car. I finally used my own AAA and a full size truck showed up in 15 minutes. This happened in Downtown LA! Called BMW and they provided no comment.

Wish it were more reliable

by on
Vehicle: 2009 BMW X5 xDrive48i 4dr SUV AWD (4.8L 8cyl 6A)

My wife has been driving for almost 2 years. I am trying to decide whether we want to buy from lease. We have had multiple problems with this car. We have had a continuous small surge from the start position. Additionally we had a leak in the sun roof that went into the dash. They had to replace the dash )leather) and all electronics. Problem is fixed but it always lurks in my mind. My wife really likes the car. Power is good. Drives good. We paid extra for the leather dash and upgraded leather seating. Do not get this car without the vented (cooled) seats. I have found it to be extremely hot on the bottom:)

Talk About The 2009 X5

2009 BMW X5 Discussions See all Started By

I just test-drove an X5 with the V6 (2009). It had 3 people in it, probably hauling in at 600 pounds or so. Nothing towed. I also own a 2009 528xi and thus compare the X5 with it (same engine). OK, th...

I just traded a 2009 X5 diesel for the 2011 diesel. I expected the differences to be limited to bumper styling and updated iDrive (which is amazing and dramatically improved). But it was more....

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Gas Mileage


  • 15
  • cty
  • 21
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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