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X5 E70 (2007 - 2013)
E70 BMW X5 produced between 2007 and 2013. Discuss the E70 X5 with other BMW owners here.

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  #1  
Old 10-12-2011, 07:16 AM
Yukon2008 Yukon2008 is offline
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Mein Auto: 535xi
X5d or 35i Premium

Trading in my '08 535xi (like an old Fiat, great when it runs, but . . . ) for an X5, most likely 35i Premium. Why are the diesels so popular on this board? I wonder if I should rethink. I thought no diesel because:
  • reliability (probably most important after the HPFF and injector problems on the 535. I don't have time to deal with another tempermental car)
  • slower (already giving up a some speed moving from the 535)
  • fewer stations with diesel (I often drive to the last drop and spend lots of times in remote mountain areas with few stations)

Against those, the pluses for the diesel seem to be:
  • better for the environment
  • better fuel economy (and less fill-ups)
  • greater torque (but I don't tow anything)

Am I missing something? Thanks for any insight.
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  #2  
Old 10-12-2011, 07:32 AM
Matt_UKTX Matt_UKTX is offline
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I had the same dilema, in the end I went for the diesel. I'm leasing so one factor for me was that the diesel had a lower residual, but monthly payment was the same due to all the credits. This will help me at the end of my lease if I either want to buy the car, or trade it in. I nearly always prefer to trade it in to get the sales tax credits (we have to pay sales tax on the full amount of the car in Texas, not just the payment).

Also, I liked the idea of the torque (makes the car feel faster than it is), plus I do mostly highway driving, so fuel economy will be better.

I was tempted by the 35si with the new eight speed transmission, but the six speed transmission in the dielsel is bulletproof. I had a 535i before this car (very similar to you) and also had HPFP issues. I thought that engine was great in the 535i, but the X5 is MUCH heavier, so I figured the extra torque would give the car more pep. You can also buy a chip for the diesel for under $300 that will give you another 60hp. Not bad.

Finally, it's just something different. I've been wanting to get a diesel car forever just to try it. Worst case, if I don't like it, I just have to get through 3 years (or 2.5 years with pull ahead programs) so no big deal.

Last edited by Matt_UKTX; 10-12-2011 at 07:34 AM.
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  #3  
Old 10-12-2011, 07:37 AM
hotbox99 hotbox99 is offline
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I supposed to take delivery of my 35D soon, so I can't speak to the reliability issue, but the other two pros (economy and environment) outweigh most everything else for me (diesel fuel seems to be sold everywhere around here, too). With the rebates currently available, that made the diesel all that more attractive.

Since you are in remote areas a lot, the added range of a tank of fuel in the diesel should probably be listed as a pro as well.

And even though you don't tow anything, the added torque should give you quite a bit of value in mountain driving.

Just my 2 cents....
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  #4  
Old 10-12-2011, 12:21 PM
SeanL-PA SeanL-PA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukon2008 View Post
Trading in my '08 535xi (like an old Fiat, great when it runs, but . . . ) for an X5, most likely 35i Premium. Why are the diesels so popular on this board? I wonder if I should rethink. I thought no diesel because:
  • reliability (probably most important after the HPFF and injector problems on the 535. I don't have time to deal with another tempermental car)
  • slower (already giving up a some speed moving from the 535)
  • fewer stations with diesel (I often drive to the last drop and spend lots of times in remote mountain areas with few stations)

Against those, the pluses for the diesel seem to be:
  • better for the environment
  • better fuel economy (and less fill-ups)
  • greater torque (but I don't tow anything)

Am I missing something? Thanks for any insight.
One thing you might want to take into consideration: diesel is noticeably louder at idle.
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  #5  
Old 10-12-2011, 12:34 PM
Matt_UKTX Matt_UKTX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanL-PA View Post
One thing you might want to take into consideration: diesel is noticeably louder at idle.
I really don't think it's a huge difference, plus I actually like the sound. That's just my two cents. To me, the diesel sounds meaty... Almost angry, like it's ready to tear up the road. I agree the sound of the X5si is more refined, but on a "Sports Activity Vehicle" I'm not sure that's a plus. Also, the diesel is actually quieter at cruising speed on the highway.
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  #6  
Old 10-12-2011, 08:17 PM
kugasman kugasman is offline
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For about the same price, it's hard to not go with the diesel unless you have a problem with the engine sound or really can't find a diesel gas station.

Slower: 35d is 0.3-0.4s slower 0-60, but likely faster 30-80mph.

Reliability: I'd personally take my chances with the M57 diesel engine and 6sp transmission over the 35i adn 8sp. Hard to make a convincing argument either way.

Fuel Economy/Eco Friendly: No arguing here and this was a big factor for me. Significantly better fuel economy with very very little sacrifice in performance (if any, see above). That in itself is amazing.

It's a personal decision and in the end you have to make YOU happy, not us. Either is a great choice.

Good luck!
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  #7  
Old 10-13-2011, 12:52 AM
gcaa gcaa is offline
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You should keep the diesel as an option IMHO (no need to limit your options). As far as personal feedback, we passed on the diesel for two reasons:

1) It's a bit tougher to find diesel and I wanted my wife to have the convenience of gas. The mpg in the 35i is not stellar but it's better than I expected. Our 35i will get up to 24 mpg highway if I keep it at around 70 mph. Keep in mind that diesels tend to get great mpg on the highway but less so if you do mostly city driving.

2) If I choose to keep the vehicle passed the warranty period, I would rather not have to worry about all the extra components BMW has to add to make this vehicle a clean diesel (heaters, pumps, sensors etc). Checkout the technology, it's not rocket science but it's not simple either.

I terms overall reliability, if you actually keep either long enough, the electronics and other components will have problems far sooner than the engine will so that is a non-issue in my opinion. In the end, they are both great cars. Definitely test drive both back to back and see which you like better. Some people have complained about the noisier diesel engine so that's something to pay attention to during the test drive.
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Last edited by gcaa; 10-13-2011 at 01:33 AM.
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  #8  
Old 10-13-2011, 08:05 AM
Matt_UKTX Matt_UKTX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcaa View Post
You should keep the diesel as an option IMHO (no need to limit your options). As far as personal feedback, we passed on the diesel for two reasons:

1) It's a bit tougher to find diesel and I wanted my wife to have the convenience of gas. The mpg in the 35i is not stellar but it's better than I expected. Our 35i will get up to 24 mpg highway if I keep it at around 70 mph. Keep in mind that diesels tend to get great mpg on the highway but less so if you do mostly city driving.

2) If I choose to keep the vehicle passed the warranty period, I would rather not have to worry about all the extra components BMW has to add to make this vehicle a clean diesel (heaters, pumps, sensors etc). Checkout the technology, it's not rocket science but it's not simple either.

I terms overall reliability, if you actually keep either long enough, the electronics and other components will have problems far sooner than the engine will so that is a non-issue in my opinion. In the end, they are both great cars. Definitely test drive both back to back and see which you like better. Some people have complained about the noisier diesel engine so that's something to pay attention to during the test drive.
Great summary...

Are you buying or leasing? If leasing, you can actually get the 50i on lease right now for less than the 35i and 35d, because the residual is much higher.
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  #9  
Old 10-13-2011, 08:31 AM
spencer842 spencer842 is offline
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Yukon2008,

I recently purchased a 2012 X5 35i Premium. I traded a 2011 335xi that was as temperamental as a mid 80's Peugeot. I considered the diesel very carefully as well. I certainly recommend you test drive then both. I have owned a few diesels in the past. A 1978 300D MB, 1984 Peugeot 505s TurboDiesel, a 1988 6.2 litre Suburban and a 2005 VW Jetta TDI. So, I'm a huge fan of diesels. The X5 diesel was a strong contender for me, but with the modest fuel economy gain, more pronounced turbo lag, a urea injection system that has been known to act up on occasion, less than stellar cold weather performance (I live in Denver), I opted for the 35i. The 35i is a very refined smooth engine and the 8sd is great in the mountains. I average 17.2mpg in all city driving and 24mpg on highway (road trip to Moab,UT).

Hope this helps!
Spencer
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  #10  
Old 10-13-2011, 12:02 PM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Heavy Steering Wheel - no active steering for diesels

One more thing to keep in mind . . . gas version come with the "active steering" option, diesels do not. If steering load is critical, active steering is a must.

Yes the steering is heavy on the non-active-steering version I have (2011 diesel).

I always liked slightly heavy steering versus the "Cadillac feel", so this was a non-issue for me.

Not sure why diesels cannot have active-steering, here is one of my other posts talking a bit more about why diesel does not have active steering - Steering Wheel. Note - this info is a bit dated!
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  #11  
Old 10-13-2011, 12:10 PM
Matt_UKTX Matt_UKTX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPsX5d View Post
Not sure why diesels cannot have active-steering
It's because there is not enough room for it in the engine bay. I believe the diesel engine takes up all the space. I remember reading a post about this that stated something similar.

I'm also with RP. I don't like the wonky "Active" steering. I love the heavy planted feel of regular BMW steering.
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  #12  
Old 10-14-2011, 07:04 AM
jarppis jarppis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_330i View Post
It's because there is not enough room for it in the engine bay. I believe the diesel engine takes up all the space. I remember reading a post about this that stated something similar.

I'm also with RP. I don't like the wonky "Active" steering. I love the heavy planted feel of regular BMW steering.
In Europe you can get the active steering with diesels, so it's not an space issue.
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  #13  
Old 10-14-2011, 07:25 AM
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0428 0428 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarppis View Post
In Europe you can get the active steering with diesels, so it's not an space issue.
Americans are fatter than Europeans, so that's why there's less space on US models.
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  #14  
Old 10-14-2011, 10:03 AM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarppis View Post
In Europe you can get the active steering with diesels, so it's not an space issue.
Does the European diesels have the Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) tanks inside the engine bay? I noticed mine has two DEF tanks inside the engine bay - one each on passenger and driver side.

I too find it hard to believe lack of space is the reason BMW is not offering active steering on U.S. diesels.
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  #15  
Old 10-21-2011, 12:03 PM
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AutoUnion AutoUnion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarppis View Post
In Europe you can get the active steering with diesels, so it's not an space issue.
EU has diff't engines. They have the 30d and 40d, both different engines from the US spec 35d. Not to mention, I don't think the EU mkt cars have urea. Not sure though
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  #16  
Old 10-21-2011, 12:03 PM
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AutoUnion AutoUnion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPsX5d View Post
One more thing to keep in mind . . . gas version come with the "active steering" option, diesels do not. If steering load is critical, active steering is a must.

Yes the steering is heavy on the non-active-steering version I have (2011 diesel).

I always liked slightly heavy steering versus the "Cadillac feel", so this was a non-issue for me.

Not sure why diesels cannot have active-steering, here is one of my other posts talking a bit more about why diesel does not have active steering - Steering Wheel. Note - this info is a bit dated!
Why would you want the neutered active steering? It, IMO, ruins the whole point of the X5. It has superb steering feel, even though it might be heavy. One of the reasons why I got the BMW.
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  #17  
Old 10-22-2011, 08:51 AM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoUnion View Post
Why would you want the neutered active steering? It, IMO, ruins the whole point of the X5. It has superb steering feel, even though it might be heavy. One of the reasons why I got the BMW.
Agree with you - the non active steering is indeed one of the things I like about BMW steering . . . but I have come across several folks who actually love everything about the car except the steering load - they HATE it! Seriously doubt those are the types active on this forum!

As I understand it (I have not actually done this comparison), the active part only kicks in at lower/parking lot speeds . . . at hwy speeds, both (with and without active steering) should feel about the same. i.e. the "spirited" driving you can do with a heavy steering is still doable with active steering installed.
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  #18  
Old 10-21-2011, 01:19 PM
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hyde hyde is online now
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I always thought we couldn't get a diesel passenger vehicle in New York City unless it is registered under a business with commercial plate, so I never even looked at a Diesel model.
Another reason I always passed on diesel was because there was no benefit at the pump. $3.69/gal vs $4.29/gal in the city when comparing to regular unleaded. But since X5 uses premium, the difference becomes minimal at pump, but beneficial at mpg.
Also the choices will be limited, you won't be able to easily get diesel fuel in the city, and if you do, you might have to wait for the truck to fill up before it is your turn since they almost always have single pumps. Out of city is a different story, though.. If you are in Boston, I am not sure how this will affect you.
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:18 AM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyde View Post
. . . Another reason I always passed on diesel was because there was no benefit at the pump. $3.69/gal vs $4.29/gal in the city when comparing to regular unleaded. But since X5 uses premium, the difference becomes minimal at pump, but beneficial at mpg.
Also the choices will be limited, you won't be able to easily get diesel fuel in the city, . . .
This is just my opinion . . .
  • Oil companies will strive to price diesel such that "btu parity" is preserved. i.e. they rather not "give away" BTUs. Sometimes local supply/demand situations get in the way and diesel/petrol prices flip. Some countries tax petrol a lot more, so petrol ends up being more expensive. IMO, don't buy diesel just for some small savings on your monthly fuel bill, buy it for other reasons.
  • For me, the 425 ft-lbs at 1,750 rpm was the BIG winner - I launch from the traffic light like an 8-cylinder, but I also enjoy the 6-cylinder mileage - sort of - have one's cake and eat it too!
  • Yes improved mileage is easy on the wallet . . . but the bigger advantage for me was - fewer visits to the gas station! I rather spend that saved time to put an extra shine on my black sapphire!
  • For most people, your credit card bill will show, for a given month, you purchased fuel from no more than two or three gas stations. So check to see if your two or three stations carry diesel, chances are you will find one within a three mile radius from your house/work or other places you frequent regularly. This is a non issue if you are on a hwy . . . all truck stops have diesel. Okay you will look a tad puny parked next to an 18-wheeler!
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:58 AM
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AutoUnion AutoUnion is offline
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Why I picked the diesel over the 35i:

1. better, more usable power in every day life
2. significantly better MPG
3. better range (that "Diesel stations are hard to find" excuse is just pure ****)
4. higher residuals (diesels are holding value much more than the 35i)
5. costs about the same
6. rarer
7. better on the highway than the 35i
8. more reliable. it's a proven powertrain that's been in use overseas for a long time.
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  #21  
Old 11-01-2011, 07:18 PM
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PurPlazur PurPlazur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoUnion View Post
Why I picked the diesel over the 35i:

1. better, more usable power in every day life
2. significantly better MPG
3. better range (that "Diesel stations are hard to find" excuse is just pure ****)
4. higher residuals (diesels are holding value much more than the 35i)
5. costs about the same
6. rarer
7. better on the highway than the 35i
8. more reliable. it's a proven powertrain that's been in use overseas for a long time.
I agree and would add that I can pull a fairly heavy load with no significant increase in MPG.
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  #22  
Old 10-28-2011, 06:58 AM
Tlon Tlon is offline
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I leased a 35d last November. This past week, on my first service visit after being nagged constantly by the DEF warning for a week, I noticed that my dealer was renewing leases. I was able to get into a 2012 35i Premium with more options, for the exact same monthly payment, with only first month and partial taxes down (this also included another free year of Sirius, new registration (mine was up), an extra year on a lease, and not having to repair the front bumper where someone ripped out my front license plate frame!)

I was not a fan of the diesel from the beginning for a few reasons that may or may not apply to you:

The difference in the engine noise was dramatic to me. At idle, it's much louder, especially if you're in drive-thru line or somewhere where there is anything to the sides to bounce sound back to you. I'm not sure it's much louder driving at speed but the engine note is much different. It always sounded like it was out of tune to me. I hated it. Accelerating also often sounded like there was metal grinding on metal. The noise was a big issue for me. I never felt happy driving the car because of the sound.

Getting diesel was rarely a problem around where I live, but when it was it was annoying. Traveling outside of my area for example, was not fun. If I could locate a car diesel pump, it wasn't a problem, but often I was left with truck pumps, and I inevitably ended back up in the car with diesel all over my shoes and the smell just added to the stress.

The steering always felt heavy and sluggish to me. I even over-inflated the tires by 2PSI to try to make up for it. It was great when you are driving on the highway or pushing the engine, but slow turns and whatnot just felt off. The heavy steering did not give me any greater sense of the road than I had in my previous X3 with active steering. It could be that the 18" wheels contributed to this but I'm very happy I'm getting the active steering on the 35i. Loved it on my X3.

Driving in D mode also felt sluggish, even with the extra torque. Driving in DS mode, though, was great. Really showed with the engine could do. In DS, everything felt smoother, faster, and more appropriate for the engine. So, I drove mostly in DS, but that took away some of the mileage advantage. The 8-speed in the 35i does a better job, I think, but I will probably miss some of the power in DS mode.

The constant DEF warning with a 1000 miles left was really annoying. I drive about 1000 miles a month or less, so that's a month's worth of constant reminders that don't go away until you click them away.

In the end, I think I like driving the car with an eye towards working the engine and gears (downshifting, etc.), so I am fine with less torque at lower revs. I don't know that I'd have turned in the diesel if it would have cost more but I'm happy I did and I wouldn't buy another unless they work on the sound.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tlon View Post
The difference in the engine noise was dramatic to me. At idle, it's much louder, especially if you're in drive-thru line or somewhere where there is anything to the sides to bounce sound back to you. I'm not sure it's much louder driving at speed but the engine note is much different. It always sounded like it was out of tune to me. I hated it. Accelerating also often sounded like there was metal grinding on metal. The noise was a big issue for me. I never felt happy driving the car because of the sound.

Getting diesel was rarely a problem around where I live, but when it was it was annoying. Traveling outside of my area for example, was not fun. If I could locate a car diesel pump, it wasn't a problem, but often I was left with truck pumps, and I inevitably ended back up in the car with diesel all over my shoes and the smell just added to the stress.

The steering always felt heavy and sluggish to me. I even over-inflated the tires by 2PSI to try to make up for it. It was great when you are driving on the highway or pushing the engine, but slow turns and whatnot just felt off. The heavy steering did not give me any greater sense of the road than I had in my previous X3 with active steering. It could be that the 18" wheels contributed to this but I'm very happy I'm getting the active steering on the 35i. Loved it on my X3.

Driving in D mode also felt sluggish, even with the extra torque. Driving in DS mode, though, was great. Really showed with the engine could do. In DS, everything felt smoother, faster, and more appropriate for the engine. So, I drove mostly in DS, but that took away some of the mileage advantage. The 8-speed in the 35i does a better job, I think, but I will probably miss some of the power in DS mode.

The constant DEF warning with a 1000 miles left was really annoying. I drive about 1000 miles a month or less, so that's a month's worth of constant reminders that don't go away until you click them away.


I also cannot get past the FEDEX truck under X5 disguise.
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  #24  
Old 10-28-2011, 09:58 AM
RPsX5d RPsX5d is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tlon View Post
I leased a 35d last November. . . .

I was not a fan of the diesel from the beginning for a few reasons that may or may not apply to you:

The difference in the engine noise was dramatic to me . . .

Getting diesel was rarely a problem around where I live, but when it was it was annoying. . . .

The steering always felt heavy and sluggish to me . . .

Driving in D mode also felt sluggish, even with the extra torque. Driving in DS mode, though, was great. Really showed with the engine could do. In DS, everything felt smoother, faster, and more appropriate for the engine. So, I drove mostly in DS, but that took away some of the mileage advantage. . . .

The constant DEF warning with a 1000 miles left was really annoying . . .
Tlon, thanks for the write up . . . the points you raise are indeed very valid and are CERTAINLY the ones that one should consider before venturing into a diesel for the first time.

Just out of curiosity - given what you knew about diesels, what were the reasons that got you to try a diesel?

I have a 2011 X5d and my other car is an 8-cylinder, 4.8L petrol engine. You are right about the noise - particularly the note they produce . . . IMO they are both very nice in their own respective ways, can't say I like one better than the other.

Regarding DEF warning, sorry to hear about that, I read that was a software glitch and is now fixed. I have ~24,000 miles on mine, never had an issue, and I have gone through two DEF refills during routine service visits.

Diesel availability was never an issue for me - most of the branded fuels (Shell, Chevron, etc) all list their stations and the fuel they offer. Here is the Chevron website. Most also have a smartphone app showing the same info. I have never had to stop at a truck stop and got messy like you indicate.

Improved mileage IMO cannot be overlooked . . . for me, it translates to fewer visits to the pump!

Again thanks for the write - as mentioned earlier these are DEFINITELY the relevant issues one should consider before getting into a diesel.

My next X5 (say 8-10 years from now) will hopefully be a diesel-hybrid! Wishful thinking - doubt BMW will produce a diesel-hybrid.
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  #25  
Old 10-28-2011, 10:26 AM
Tlon Tlon is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 303
Mein Auto: 2012 BMW X5 35i
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPsX5d View Post
Tlon, thanks for the write up . . . the points you raise are indeed very valid and are CERTAINLY the ones that one should consider before venturing into a diesel for the first time.

Just out of curiosity - given what you knew about diesels, what were the reasons that got you to try a diesel?

I have a 2011 X5d and my other car is an 8-cylinder, 4.8L petrol engine. You are right about the noise - particularly the note they produce . . . IMO they are both very nice in their own respective ways, can't say I like one better than the other.

Regarding DEF warning, sorry to hear about that, I read that was a software glitch and is now fixed. I have ~24,000 miles on mine, never had an issue, and I have gone through two DEF refills during routine service visits.

Diesel availability was never an issue for me - most of the branded fuels (Shell, Chevron, etc) all list their stations and the fuel they offer. Here is the Chevron website. Most also have a smartphone app showing the same info. I have never had to stop at a truck stop and got messy like you indicate.

Improved mileage IMO cannot be overlooked . . . for me, it translates to fewer visits to the pump!

Again thanks for the write - as mentioned earlier these are DEFINITELY the relevant issues one should consider before getting into a diesel.

My next X5 (say 8-10 years from now) will hopefully be a diesel-hybrid! Wishful thinking - doubt BMW will produce a diesel-hybrid.
Hi there.

I actually didn't know much about diesels when I leased my 35d. It was my first. My one test drive was in less than ideal circumstances, including having a idling 18-wheeler at the dealer so I attributed the idle sound to that and not the car. I was also backed into a corner on the end (and extension) of my previous lease and had to jump quickly. The diesels (and diesel fuel) were cheaper at the time, got better mileage, and had a tax credit, so I gave it a go. But I immediately knew the car wasn't for me. I actually called the dealer the next business day to see if I could return it for a 35i Premium, but was told it was too late. I tried to love it for a year, and honestly driving in DS mode did give me pause -- the car is meant for the gear ratio -- about letting it go.

But the engine just never sounded right to me. I tend to be somewhat in tune with the engine. Years of driving a manual, I guess. The engine sound just always bothered me. Always felt off.

I don't drive enough (about 10k a year) to make the extra mpg a huge deal, though it does of course help and was really amazing on long car rides. I was able to make a trip that used to require one-two stops with no stops. Amazing. With the rising diesel prices, though, it's little actual savings for me now. If I was doing mostly highway driving, I'd probably stick with the diesel.

I do have a few of the fuel finders for my iPhone, and most of the time it was fine. I had a handful of problems in more rural areas when traveling out of town, though. The fuel finders also didn't distinguish between car pumps or truck stops.

All this said, If I hadn't got the new 35i for the same monthly payment, I wouldn't have made the swap. It was too good a deal to pass up, and I got a bunch of additional options and a newer car.
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