Sound like a "clock spring" problem. This is a coiled wiring loom in a housing at the top of the steering column and all the steering wheel controls plug into it. The coiled wires allow the wheel to turn in each direction and still pass the signals on into the vehicle.
The steering wheel/airbag/etc. would need to be removed to allow fitting once you establish this is the problem. Given the age of the vehicle and the cost of $tealer diagnostic charges it might just be better to buy a new "clock spring" and fit/have it fitted and see if the problems disappear.
Sent via Telegraph wires using my Morse Key.
2001 X5 3.0L