The BMW X5 made its debut in 1999 as BMW's first sports utility vehicle, and currently ranks 13 out of 17 in luxury midsized SUVs. Since its inception, it has offered two models: the E53 and the E70. It offers all-wheel drive and comes in either manual or automatic transmission. It also comes in a range of gasoline inline-V6s, V8s, and diesel engines. In spite of its large size, BMW describes the X5 as having superior handling on the road, and prefers to call it a Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV). This is because BMW understands that most purchasers and drivers of SUVs rarely venture off-road, and therefore the X5 was designed with on-road performance and handling in mind. The truck-based frame of standard SUVs has been replaced by sedan-based crossovers on the BMW X5. Its plush interiors are attractive and add to the luxurious ride, although it figures into the cost of the car, which starts at around $48,000, making it one of the pricier cars of its class.
The first-generation BMW X5, known as the E53, was built between 1999 and 2006. This car shares a number of features and components with the Land Rover, which was also owned at the time by BMW. It offered a range of engines, from 3.0-liter 225 hp to 4.8-liter 355 hp engines. It also offered a version that ran on diesel. It came in either 5-speed or 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions, and achieved approximately 14 miles per gallon in the city, and 20 miles per gallon on the highway.
The second-generation BMW X5, called the E70, replaced the E53 in November of 2006, and is the current X5 SUV at BMW. New technological advancements are featured on the E70, including BMW's iDrive system and an optional third row seat. There are also safety innovations, including a rear framing section that shields third-row occupants from harm upon impact. Its engines range from 3.0-liter 260 hp to 4.4-liter 555 hp V8 Twin Turbo, and it comes in either 6-speed automatic or 8-speed automatic transmissions. It also achieves around 15 miles per gallon in the city, and 20 miles per gallon on the highway.
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