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X5 E53 (1999 - 2006)
The X5 SAV Forum

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  #1  
Old 12-12-2007, 04:10 PM
NP2004 NP2004 is offline
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Mein Auto: 08 X5 4.8i / 04 330ci
How capable is the X5 offroad?

I am about to close a deal on a 2008 X5 4.8 and wanted to know everyones honest opinion on how capable this truck is at going off road? I have heard and been told that the awd system will not do much in deep snow, on muddy ground, or rough terrain compared to 4wd since the tires will just spin and I will be stuck. I understand this truck isn't built to be taken off road like a Hummer H2, Range Rover, or a Jeep but how well can it do in your experience off road with its ground clearance? Would you recommend it when driving in deep snow or muddy wet terrain when taking back trails? I just question how good X-drive is when I have heard of people in X5's getting stuck in the sand. Just looking for honest opinions from those who have X5's because I love the X5 4.8 but everyone tells me to get a 4wd truck for the snow we get in Ohio.
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  #2  
Old 12-12-2007, 09:51 PM
jcl10 jcl10 is offline
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I wouldn't take it off-road, because of the limited ground clearance and unprotected components. That is apart from the tire issue. If you put mud tires on it, it won't handle worth anything on dry pavement.

Snow is a different issue. With proper winter tires, it goes great. With all season tires, it is OK but not great. If your wheels are spinning, it is a tire issue and not an AWD issue.

In deep snow I never had a problem (my 2003 was pre-X drive). If you require some wheelspin to get moving from a standstill, you can always disable DSC, but I never had to, it always did fine with DSC on.
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  #3  
Old 12-13-2007, 12:13 PM
klu123 klu123 is offline
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X5 is not designed as an off-road vehicle. If you want seriously consider going off-road, you need a vehicle with:
- High ground clearance
- Tough chasis and protection
- 4WD (not AWD) with low gear
- High-profile offroad/all-terrain tires

A typical X5 doesn't meet any of the above requirements, plus its engine is not designed for long-time low-gear heavy-duty job (if doing so, the eingine will get overheated and damaged).

BMW never calls X5 an offroad SUV. Actually, even companies like VW/Porsche call their Toureg/Cayanne "offroad SUV", they are just a joke. In 2005, I traveled to Tibet where the road condition is probably the worst in the world. I saw a group of Toureg/Cayanne on the road shooting a commercial. 2 of the 5 SUVs died on the road because of oil leaking after hours of vehicle underbody "kissing" the rocks of the road (it was still a road, though in bad condition). Meanwhile, our Land Cruiser passed without any problem.

Well, if you buys an X5, why bother going offroad? If you want seriously go offroad, why buy an X5? An Hummer, Jeep, LR or Land Cruiser will be much bettter jobs.
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  #4  
Old 12-13-2007, 12:15 PM
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TexasBMW TexasBMW is offline
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My '01 does great in very deep snow... its not the best, but it does OK.

How good of a deal are you getting on your '08?

Thanks!
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  #5  
Old 11-30-2009, 09:40 AM
vo2max vo2max is offline
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X5 Snow

Deep snow in Ohio? I live in Ohio now and grew up here. The deep snow here in Ohio is a few select days of the year. I have had an X5 in the mountains of Colorado and while living in Anchorage Alaska. The X5 is a fantastic "deep snow" on road vehicle. It is heavy and the x-drive system with ABS, DSC, HDC, etc. works great. As with ANY AWD/4x4 vehicle, the system is only as good as the tires. My 2004 LR Discovery was TERRIBLE in the snow with the stock 18" high performance tires, just like an X5 would be. I drive both my X5 and my 335i with snows all winter in Ohio.
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  #6  
Old 11-30-2009, 10:03 AM
Penguin Penguin is offline
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The X5 is not made to go off-road. If you really want some off-road capability, you should buy another vehicle.

The X5 Owner's Manual even says "Do not drive on un-paved terrain" on page 135.
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  #7  
Old 11-30-2009, 10:21 AM
Norm37 Norm37 is offline
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Performance Driving School Videos.

Check out the Off-Road Track video. All the other videos are also fun to watch.

http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...eoGallery.aspx

Last edited by Norm37; 11-30-2009 at 10:23 AM.
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  #8  
Old 11-30-2009, 12:22 PM
Norm37 Norm37 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vo2max View Post
Deep snow in Ohio? I live in Ohio now and grew up here. The deep snow here in Ohio is a few select days of the year. I have had an X5 in the mountains of Colorado and while living in Anchorage Alaska. The X5 is a fantastic "deep snow" on road vehicle. It is heavy and the x-drive system with ABS, DSC, HDC, etc. works great. As with ANY AWD/4x4 vehicle, the system is only as good as the tires. My 2004 LR Discovery was TERRIBLE in the snow with the stock 18" high performance tires, just like an X5 would be. I drive both my X5 and my 335i with snows all winter in Ohio.
I agree "the system is only as good as the tires".

I have a chevy 4 wheel drive pickup and have two sets of tires & wheels. One set for summer the other set for winter.

If I did a lot of off road driving I would get a third set of 'Off Road Mud tires.' and keep the tire PSI between 15 and 20.

IMHO I also think the X5 all wheel drive system might perform a little better than my Chevy in snow as it has an intelligent all-wheel-drive system.

Check out "X5 intelligent all-wheel-drive system" under the performance section on this web page.

http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...GfjBkJWQjhjA==

Now my Chevy would be better off road as it has a transfer case so I can select 4 wheel low range and get better torque for off roading. But for light off road use I think the X5 would do fine. See the off road video in my other reply.
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  #9  
Old 11-30-2009, 05:12 PM
ncsucarjock88 ncsucarjock88 is offline
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Hmm. Interesting comments, all. Here's my experience with the 2004 4.4i, on stock tires. Snow up to 6" hasn't been a problem, I don't see much of it though.

Off-road...well...I have some pics that'll shock you. Is the X meant for it like my modified Jeep Cherokee is? Heck no. It won't come close to doing what that machine will. But.

I trailer the Cherokee with the X5. And a lot of times, those off-road parks, getting to the campsite can be a real challenge. They call them "roads" ... But I'll put it this way - the other fellows who trailer all drive F150's or F250's, or Dodge Ram's. All have 4wd. All use low range when pulling their trailers to the campsite. Almost all struggle a little.

The X5, at about 3 mph, simply walked right up this trail, occassionally spitting out a rock (at least 6" in diameter - that's what the "road" is), while towing a dual axle trailer, with 1000# of gear in the back of the X, and another 5500# on the trailer. And we're climbing a mountain, at a good 10% grade or more. I wasn't sure if it would do it, but it climbed up there effortlessly.

After I got to the top and de-coupled the trailer, I took the X5 out alone on some of the short hill climbs by our campsite. It did relatively well, considering. It would not climb the steepest sections, because the computers would cut in and limit wheel-spin, rendering the X5 stationary. I think the next time I'll pull the plugs on the ABS and see what happens when it can't sense wheel spin, and can put power down to the ground.

Again, it's no off-road vehicle. But I can assure you. After a few 40* hillclimbs on loose surfaces, pulling maximum trailer weight up a long, loose hill, and generally bombing around a little bit off-road, I was pleasantly surprised at what it is capable of.

4-6" of mud don't seem to be a huge issue, other than the clean up afterwards. Don't stop, the tires dont' have enough traction to get you moving again. But with some trepidation, and a bit of cautious driving, it can handle a LOT more than 99.9% of drivers will ever throw at it.
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  #10  
Old 11-30-2009, 07:36 PM
Penguin Penguin is offline
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FWIW, Motor Trend wasn't impressed with the X5 off-road, but they did put much of the blame on the tires:

http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...l_economy.html
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  #11  
Old 12-03-2009, 03:48 PM
DSE DSE is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncsucarjock88 View Post
After I got to the top and de-coupled the trailer, I took the X5 out alone on some of the short hill climbs by our campsite. It did relatively well, considering. It would not climb the steepest sections, because the computers would cut in and limit wheel-spin, rendering the X5 stationary. I think the next time I'll pull the plugs on the ABS and see what happens when it can't sense wheel spin, and can put power down to the ground.
I took delivery at the Performance Delivery Center, where we certainly had fun taking their X5s off road, over rocks, on 2 wheels only, and in water. They explained to me that when you want to go up a snowy incline (i.e., allow some wheel spin), you don't want to hold the turn DSC (Synamic Stability Control) off completely, but turn on an intermediate setting known as DTC (Dynamic Traction Control). "Traction" will appear on the instrument panel. This allows some wheel spin and also useful if you are stuck in snow or mud. See page 89 of the owner's manual.

Anyway, you don't want to affect ABS, which keeps the brakes from locking the wheels from turning in emergency braking situations.
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  #12  
Old 12-03-2009, 03:57 PM
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1985mb 1985mb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klu123 View Post
X5 is not designed as an off-road vehicle. If you want seriously consider going off-road, you need a vehicle with:
- High ground clearance
- Tough chasis and protection
- 4WD (not AWD) with low gear
- High-profile offroad/all-terrain tires
Add: 3 locking differentials (like on the older Land Cruisers).
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  #13  
Old 12-03-2009, 07:18 PM
ard ard is offline
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Quote:

how capable this truck is at going off road?

"truck"? Hardly...
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  #14  
Old 12-10-2015, 11:20 AM
footballer88 footballer88 is offline
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I have an '07 4.8i and as far as I know and have read so far, this is NOT and SUV but rather an SAV (based on BMW categorization). SAV - Sports Activity Vehicle. It's a show-off on dry land, but not otherwise. I wish it had better off-road ability, but although never tested. I drove a Dodge Nitro 4.4 with all-season tires. I got stuck in deep wet mud, and the more the wheel spun, the deeper I sank. Otherwise, the Nitro did awesome (3.7L). I miss it, but a V8 BMW is far better on dry land.
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  #15  
Old 12-11-2015, 06:29 AM
eeyore8 eeyore8 is offline
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IMHO, X5 is for light duty off road only. It does not have: low range gearing, long suspension travel & skid plates - all required for anything I would call truly off road. The X5 ground clearance and all wheel drive traction does allow it to do light duty off roading with confidence.

With proper tires, and proper use of the three modes of the computer controlled traction system (and a knowledgeable driver), the car is very capable in smooth, slippery conditions (snow, mud & sand).
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  #16  
Old 12-11-2015, 07:13 AM
mrblahh mrblahh is offline
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I took ours offroad on cattle trails to go fishing, did fine on stuff that you could probably take a subaru on, did not try stuff that was too hard
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  #17  
Old 12-12-2015, 07:17 AM
footballer88 footballer88 is offline
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I also have a Subaru Crosstrek XV. This thing is a wonder in deep snow and ice ( all season tires). Ground clearance is about the same both cars. Trails are easy for both cars but anything deep and soft (mud, snow, sand) will bury the X5 and poise challenge for Subaru. The other difference is that the Bimmer is 40-60 traction, meanwhile the XV is real time awd. The awd system on the Subaru much more advanced.

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  #18  
Old 12-12-2015, 09:22 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is online now
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How xDrive works...granted...the video is based on on-road conditions...not off-road conditions. And proper tires for the conditions you're driving in is important as well.

A summer road tire or even an all season road tire won't provide the traction required for serious off road conditions. Tires are like shoes for your vehicle...running track in flip-flops, or hiking rocky back trails in house slippers, or trudging through deep snow in sandals can be done...but it would be more prudent and done much better if attired with the correct shoes for running, hiking, and snow walking.

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Last edited by QSilver7; 12-12-2015 at 09:26 PM.
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  #19  
Old 12-14-2015, 12:29 AM
leejim leejim is offline
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Off road work.

Hi, I tow a 2.5 ton 23ft Haines Hunter boat up a gravel boat ramp where I live ( that everyone tells me you must have a 4WD) with my 4.4 V8 without the slightest bit of wheel spin or trouble on road tires to I might add.
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