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X5 E53 (1999 - 2006)
The X5 SAV Forum

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  #1  
Old 06-08-2003, 10:19 PM
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Patrick330i Patrick330i is offline
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Thinking about an X5

Just starting to do some research on an SAV/SUV. Xer on the brain. I know nothing about these cars. In fact, I have never even seen myself possibly driving a vehicle like this. We just had a baby boy back in December. My wife has a G-20 leased that is up next May. She will be the main driver. So far, I have done some very quick online looks at the X5, Acura MDX. Infiniti QX5, and the Lexus RX330 (which I don't think I like).

We aren't even sure that we want to get one of these vehicles, but we do make some long trips periodically up and down the west coast. To date, we just rent a minivan or something, but with the lease coming up, I am debating on whether we should just get our own SAV and be done with it.

Some of you may have gone through this same thought process, so any suggestions for a beginner would be helpful. Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 06-08-2003, 10:33 PM
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mquetel mquetel is offline
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A friend of mine has had an X5 for about a year now and I drive with him often. It's amazing how un-SUV like the handling and ride is, but I was really surprised at the lack of space inside.

Is AWD important to you?
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  #3  
Old 06-08-2003, 11:08 PM
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Emission Emission is offline
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Wife and I were in your shoes a few months ago (and we've also owned two G20's during our marriage). Our Volvo V70 lease was up, and it was time for a replacement. We have one child, and plan on another during the term of the lease.

We really liked the Volvo XC-90, Acura MDX, Honda Pilot, and X5.

We drove the X5 first, and were blown away by how good it was. We decided it was too expensive, and put it out of our minds...

Then, we tried to drive the Acura. None of the dealers had them. My wife didn't like the styling, so we dropped it too.

We then drove a Volvo XC-90. I wasn't impressed that much, and had a bad taste from our previous Volvo lease (crappy quality). Off the list.

The Honda Pilot was a winner. Lots of room, and inexpensive. Unfortunately, it was boring to drive. My wife hated it.

Then, we made our decision... it was a brand-new 525iT. It was comfortable, safe, and fun to drive. We negotiated over the phone on one, then went to buy it.

At the dealership, it was parked next to an X5. The sticker prices were only about $2K different. Hmmm....

We put our car seat in both the X5 and 525iT, and measured both with a tape. The X5 was much larger, and wider. The cup holders were better in the X5, and it had more storage. The engine was larger, and it had that "commanding view" SUV's offer. It was also AWD. It was also safer.

Needless to say, we bought the X5 and have never looked back. It has plenty of cargo space for our needs, is solid as a rock in a downpour, and gets 22 mpg on the highway. We love it.
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Gone, but never forgotten... my E70 X5 35d, E90 335i, E46 330i, E36 328i, E70 X5 3.0si, E53 X5 3.0i.
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  #4  
Old 06-09-2003, 01:06 AM
Masskrug Masskrug is offline
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Hey Patrick,

My wife has an X5 3.0 5speed. It is an absolute hoot to drive. We take it for any trip > 30 mins and it just makes the trip so much more comfortable, especially if you have any ankle biters.

Emission has posted a great summary.

It is much roomier in the passenger area, both front and back, than all the naysayers give it credit for. It is just as spacious as a minivan in that respect. And definitely enough cargo space for luggage for a family of four. Can't do that in our 3'ers!
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  #5  
Old 06-09-2003, 01:08 AM
Masskrug Masskrug is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by rumatt
I haven't looked at the specs personally, but everyone claims the 5er wagon has more interior space. It clearly will handle better.

The only reason to go for the X5 is if you want AWD or increased ride height (easier to get baby seat into *maybe*), and a trendy image.
The X5 blows away the tourings in passenger area space. Try it for yourself.
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  #6  
Old 06-09-2003, 01:10 AM
Masskrug Masskrug is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by mquetel
I was really surprised at the lack of space inside.
Seating areas much bigger than our 3's! Also blows away the 4 runner dude! I should know, I used to have a 1990 model.
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  #7  
Old 06-09-2003, 11:28 AM
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suzer suzer is offline
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I was in the exact same place you are - except I have dogs, not kids.

I drove a 95 4runner until April, when I decided I wanted something new, and something "better." I liked the Pilot, MDX and Lexus 300 (not the 330) online, but when I went and drove them, the Pilot and MDX were not what I wanted - I didn't like the styling or the column mounted shifter on the Pilot, and the MDX was just too big - it seemed like the back went on forever. Also, when I dug around online, I found a lot of scary problems listed for Pilot and MDX (they share a lot of components), including new transmissions at less than 10,000 miles, starter problems and sunroof leaks.

The Lexus 300, as you already know, doesn't exist anymore, and the 330 isn't my style.

I admit I like the X5 more than a wagon because of the higher ride and the AWD is something I won't give up because it snows here. I liked the wagon, but I really like SUVs, and I usually get blasted for saying it, but this is just pure personal preference here, nothing else.

The clamshell design of the X5's back door is also a plus for me - it keeps the dogs from jumping out before I can get their leashes on them. They'd be gone in split second if I opened the Pilot or MDX hatch.

The X5 is a great vehicle - safety specs are great, it is plenty roomy inside (two dogs, Home Depot runs, luggage, groceries - no problems), and it is fun to drive. My 4Runner drove like a truck, this drives like car. My husband, who is anti SUV, anti unfun driving (he drives a 330i) hated the 4Runner, and now he always wants to drive the X5.

I'd say you need to drive the bunch to see what you really feel - I went to drive the X5 last because I was afraid I couldn't afford it, and I really didn't go in that day intending to buy, but once I saw it had everything I wanted, I could not let it go.
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  #8  
Old 06-09-2003, 12:35 PM
Tominizer Tominizer is offline
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Safety. Commanding view. My 2002 3.0i X5 costs as much insurance wise as my 2000 328i sedan did!! X5 is a great vehicle to drive. Excellent in the bad weather. I drove from Toronto to Buffalo in some bad winter weather……….. snow with decent cross winds. The X5 was beautiful under these conditions and never did I feel uncomfortable. And I was moving at a good clip too. I’m 6’5” and I can sit comfortably in the back seat without any issues.

In the beginning I was a little unsure of how much I would like the X5, but that has totally changed now. Only thing I wish was that I got the manual 3.0i, but my wife does not drive standard.
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  #9  
Old 06-09-2003, 02:09 PM
JetBlack330i JetBlack330i is offline
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If a V-8 X5 is in your budget, then take a look also at the Lexus GX470. This is the smaller version of the, what people in the know call, the SUV benchmark (LX470) but uses the same engine, at mucho less dinero.
OTOH, if you don't plan on plunging 48 large on a car, don't test drive the GX470. You'll spoil your apetite and will have a hard time finding anything else that will satisfy you.

Last edited by JetBlack330i; 06-11-2003 at 09:02 AM.
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  #10  
Old 06-10-2003, 03:52 PM
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mkh mkh is offline
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I was in the same situation a year ago, and I have a dog (70 lb Labrador) and a kid. I used to have a E36 M3/4. While the performance was outstanding, I definitely need more space, especially when taking the dog out with a huge crate (one size smaller than the largest available). So my wife and I started to look at mid-size SUV's. After a few months of research and test drives, we narrowed down to only 2 choices: The X5 and the MDX. Below are some comments:

1. If you want a manual, the X5 3.0i is the only choice. No other SUV offers stick. I heard that the '04 comes with 6sp, and it really needs it.

2. The cargo space is MUCH bigger than its measurements indicate. Why? Because it is usable. A lot of SUV's have bigger measurements but most of them do not have a wide and flat cargo floor due to the two rear shocks protruding out from the sides. The X5 is one of the very few that I can place the crate horizontally in the cargo without folding the rear seat and still have room to spare. All those who said negatives about it are NOT owners, and probably have never driven one. Last summer, we went for a 3-day camping trip and we had no problem fitting the crate and all the luggage in it.

3. Same applies to the rear seat. My wife used to have difficulty putting the baby and the car seat in the M3, and the rear legroom was very limited. Now with the X5, it's a breeze due to the increased ride height and the extra space between the rear and front seats.

4. In performance and handling, NOTHING comes close (except the new Cayenne and FX35 that I'm not familiar, but the FX is so damn ugly!). It is the ONLY SUV that doesn't drive like a SUV. Of course, don't expect to get the performance of the M3 or ZHP but it is better than everything else in its class. Going up the mountain and very few cars can keep up with me. If you are very performance oriented, I don't think you have another choice.

The only drawback on the X5 is its price. It is unfortunately the most expensive among all our selections. If budget is a concern, then go with the MDX. It has pretty much everything the X5 has except that it still drives like a SUV, and only comes with automatic which I don't like. OTOH it does provide more usable space, and it too can fit my crate easily with the 3rd row down. When it's up, you can even seat 7 people. In this respect, the X5 can't compare.

So the bottom line is if you don't want to spend $40K+ on a SUV, or you still need more space, then DO NOT test drive the X5. Go straight to the MDX and don't look back. You'll be a happy man. But once you drove the X5, nothing will satisfy you, and you'll feel miserable of not getting it.
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  #11  
Old 06-10-2003, 03:58 PM
Masskrug Masskrug is offline
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Hey mkh,

You have a 5speed X5 too? I thought only my wife had one of those in the world, they are so few and far between.

I sure wish it had a 6th gear, because highway cruising is not as relaxed as I'd like it to be.

My only complaint about the X5. Maybe the price too...
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  #12  
Old 06-10-2003, 05:00 PM
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Emission Emission is offline
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mkh,

Right now, our Yellow Lab is a puppy, but we are prepared... This is a very large kennel, and it fits with room to spare. Hopefully, we'll train her to stay in with just the cargo net someday.
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I am fortunate to have unique press cars delivered weekly, but I own:

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Gone, but never forgotten... my E70 X5 35d, E90 335i, E46 330i, E36 328i, E70 X5 3.0si, E53 X5 3.0i.
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  #13  
Old 06-10-2003, 05:00 PM
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mkh mkh is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Masskrug
Hey mkh,

You have a 5speed X5 too? I thought only my wife had one of those in the world, they are so few and far between.

I sure wish it had a 6th gear, because highway cruising is not as relaxed as I'd like it to be.
Yes, I have a 5sp too. So make it two of these in the world.

It definitely needs an overdrive as the rpm is a little high even cruising at 70mph. Also, I hope they can shorten the 1st gear ratio in the new 6sp. Ours are so tall that it's not very useful in everyday driving, except maybe for towing. Despite of that, I still like it a lot more than the Step.
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  #14  
Old 06-10-2003, 05:13 PM
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mkh mkh is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Emission
mkh,

Right now, our Yellow Lab is a puppy, but we are prepared... This is a very large kennel, and it fits with room to spare. Hopefully, we'll train her to stay in with just the cargo net someday.
You made the right choice!
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  #15  
Old 06-10-2003, 06:35 PM
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SARAFIL SARAFIL is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by ___lk___
You clearly have not seen the crash test results if you find that claim to be funny. I believe the Insurance Institute had this to say about it: "It was the safest vehicle we've ever tested... if all vehicles performed that well, we could declare victory and stop doing these tests."

The E39 and E46 were both top performers in their respective classes when they were released, but the X5 is almost definately the safest 'car' BMW currently makes (and I say "almost" because I have not seen any US crash test results on the E65, so I don't want to jump to conclusions).
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  #16  
Old 06-11-2003, 04:37 AM
SupraRZ SupraRZ is offline
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I'm deciding between X5 and Cayenne

But i'm waiting for pics of the 04 X5 to come out first heheh..
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  #17  
Old 06-11-2003, 08:20 AM
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Emission Emission is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by SupraRZ
I'm deciding between X5 and Cayenne

But i'm waiting for pics of the 04 X5 to come out first heheh..
The Touareg (VW) is much better than the Cayenne in looks, and price. V10 turbo-diesel is the way to go... In all honesty, I think that is the closest SUV to the X5.
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I am fortunate to have unique press cars delivered weekly, but I own:

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'86 Porsche 911 Turbo 4MT


Gone, but never forgotten... my E70 X5 35d, E90 335i, E46 330i, E36 328i, E70 X5 3.0si, E53 X5 3.0i.
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  #18  
Old 06-11-2003, 06:10 PM
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SARAFIL SARAFIL is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by ___lk___
the "safest vehicle" they're talking about was an E39, not an X5... so what part of the joke dont u get when somebody claims they bot a car that's safer than " the safest vehicle we've ever tested"....?
And you're wrong again. It was the X5. I have it on tape, too bad I can't send you the VHS. I'll have to find the info on the web.
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  #19  
Old 06-11-2003, 06:17 PM
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SARAFIL SARAFIL is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by ___lk___
the "safest vehicle" they're talking about was an E39, not an X5... so what part of the joke dont u get when somebody claims they bot a car that's safer than " the safest vehicle we've ever tested"....?
Ok, wise one. Here is a BMW press release. More to come.

Quote:
100,000th BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle Rolls Off the Line at BMW Manufacturing Corp.

Greer, SC (8/23/2001) — BMW Manufacturing Corp. has produced its 100,000th X5 sports activity vehicle. The Siena Red X5, with Beige Montana leather and wood trim, rolled off the Spartanburg-S.C. line at 3 p.m., EDT, today. It will be shipped to a BMW dealership in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

The milestone X5 was unveiled to associates at the South Carolina factory during celebrations Thursday. X5 Project Leader Eduard Walek drove the 100,000th X5 off the Assembly line and through a ceremonial portal as associates cheered. He presented the keys to the 100,000th X5 to Dr. Helmut Leube, president of BMW Manufacturing Corp.

The BMW X5 was named the safest vehicle ever tested in 2000 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and earned the highest rating the institute has ever given a vehicle of any type or price range. It has been featured on Dateline, and, along with Walek, was this month's Quality Digest cover story.

"I am absolutely thrilled to take part in this milestone," Walek said. "This is testament to years of planning and to everyone's hard work.

"From the beginning, it was our intention to develop a vehicle that set a new standard as far as SUVs are concerned. We did not accept the standards that applied to [other SUVs]. We adhered to one principle: The X5 must be as safe as the passenger cars produced by BMW."
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  #20  
Old 06-11-2003, 08:43 PM
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Emission Emission is offline
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Crash Test data true in 2000 (so a fair comparison between the E39 and E53).

I wonder what holds the title today?
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I am fortunate to have unique press cars delivered weekly, but I own:

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Gone, but never forgotten... my E70 X5 35d, E90 335i, E46 330i, E36 328i, E70 X5 3.0si, E53 X5 3.0i.
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  #21  
Old 06-11-2003, 09:05 PM
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Emission Emission is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by ___lk___
[B"...your chances of death from a rollover accident in an SUV are more than twice that of a passenger car. good perofmance in one test does not guarantee anything, other than how well u will fare if u crash in the exact same way."[/B]
I agree with the above statement nearly 100%.

However, the X5 is not a "standard" SUV. It is built like a car (mostly like an E39) with strong A, B, C and D pillars. It will do amazing well in a rollover (in fact, most cars don't have the fourth D-pillar), and is amazingly stable in a turn. Mine is more stable than my Passat, and I have the base suspension.

Look at these facts:

1. The X5 weighs more than the E39.

2. The X5 is taller than the E39.

3. The X5 has an additional set of roof pillars over the E39.

4. It is AWD vs RWD

5. It has more airbags.

Real-world, statement 1 & 2 make all the difference. 3 is great for rollovers, and 4 is good for overall stability in bad weather. 5 (and 2) are great for side impacts.

I love my X5, and my dad has an E39 (540i-6). My brothers both have E46's. ALL BMW's ARE VERY SAFE.
__________________
I am fortunate to have unique press cars delivered weekly, but I own:

'13 Audi Q5 2.0T Quattro 8AT
'86 Porsche 911 Turbo 4MT


Gone, but never forgotten... my E70 X5 35d, E90 335i, E46 330i, E36 328i, E70 X5 3.0si, E53 X5 3.0i.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Read my work as West Coast Editor for Autoblog!
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  #22  
Old 06-11-2003, 11:46 PM
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Patrick330i Patrick330i is offline
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Just getting back to this thread...

Man, great info posted here and I really do appreciate all of it. It's kind of late right now and I have so much to do outside of this board at the moment, but one question does stick out in my mind immediately...how's the resale on a manual tranny on the Xer? My wife actually prefers a manual, so no problem there, but I am concerned with resale. Most of the people that I know who drive a "similar" car probably wouldn't even think about a manual transmission, but they aren't exactly enthusiasts, either. I can live with an auto b/c I have my 330i, but...Thanks, again!
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Old 06-12-2003, 12:03 AM
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mkh mkh is offline
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If you are concerned about resale, get the Step. Did you read our previous posts? Only Masskrug and I have manual in the whole world. Seriously, there may be less than 1% of X5 with manual out there. Talk about limited production!

Last edited by mkh; 06-12-2003 at 12:06 AM.
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  #24  
Old 06-12-2003, 06:14 AM
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mquetel mquetel is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Patrick330i
Just getting back to this thread...

Man, great info posted here and I really do appreciate all of it. It's kind of late right now and I have so much to do outside of this board at the moment, but one question does stick out in my mind immediately...how's the resale on a manual tranny on the Xer? My wife actually prefers a manual, so no problem there, but I am concerned with resale. Most of the people that I know who drive a "similar" car probably wouldn't even think about a manual transmission, but they aren't exactly enthusiasts, either. I can live with an auto b/c I have my 330i, but...Thanks, again!
And you could always get the paddle shift retrofit if you want to spice things up a bit...
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  #25  
Old 06-12-2003, 06:16 AM
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Another problem with manual may be finding one.

I drove stick for 15 years, but bought the X5 with step because I wasn't able to find one to test drive. I suppose if I had worked harder I could have, but my dealer of choice didn't have one, and so I'd have to order a car I had never driven, which didn't sound so smart.

I really enjoyed the good parts of driving manual (always getting to be in charge) and normally hated driving other people's automatic cars (it never seemed like they had any pick-up, and were always changing gears seemingly at whim. The X5 though, doesn't (for me) have that weird automatic lag between gears - it just goes.
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