When you think of a luxury SUV, it's hard not to think about the BMW X5. As soon as they were released, the X5 became one of the most popular luxury SUVs on the market, and to this day, they are still some of the best selling SUVs. However, much like every other BMW from the early 2000s, the first generation E53 BMW X5 had some growing pains, and as great as the X5 was, there are still quite a few things I hate about the BMW X5. For this article, we'll go over the 2005 E53 BMW X5 to see if it's really worth buying as a used luxury SUV for cheap.
Things I Hate About the BMW X5 (E53)
The suspension in the BMW X5 is not quite what you'd expect for what, at the time, was one of the most sophisticated SUVs on the market. The X5 has one of the most firm suspension systems that I've ever experienced in a luxury vehicle. I'm not too sure why BMW decided to make the suspension so firm, but I would assume it was in an attempt to give it a somewhat sporty feeling.
I personally feel that sporty SUVs don't make too much sense unless the manufacturer plans on going all out with it, such as the Range Rover Sport SVR. The X5 feels like a mixed mess of sport, luxurious, and average all in one package when it comes to suspension.
Luckily, with the second generation, BMW changed the X5s suspension to be more in line with Land Rover and Cadillac. So while the suspension is one of the things I hate about the BMW X5, it's important to remember that this car was originally introduced in 1999. Since then, the X5 has evolved to be much more sophisticated.
The road noise is another one of the things that I hate about the BMW X5 (E53). It's surprising to me just how loud and overwhelming the road noise is in this luxury SUV. Sure, the X5 I drove was a 2005 model, but there had to be a better way of keeping the interior quiet.
The X5 shares a lot of components with the late P38 Range Rover and the early L322 Range Rover (as BMW owned Land Rover at the time). Because of that, I would have expected the X5 to have a lot of the refinement that the Range Rovers at the time had. Surprisingly, the X5 lacks a lot of the interior comfort that you would expect from a luxury SUV at the time.
As mentioned above, the original BMW X5 shares a lot of components with the P38 and early L322 Range Rover. This is mainly due to BMW owning Land Rover at the time of production. It's been said that the X5 was launched as BMW's way of profiting from their Land Rover ownership. Because of their shared components with early 2000s Range Rovers, the X5 is not what you'd call durable. The electronics in the 2005 BMW X5 are one of the worst things I hate about the BMW X5.
While the E53 X5 is around 20 years old at this point, the electronics have not withstood the test of time. It's disappointing that BMW over-designed the systems but failed to make them durable. The E53 BMW X5 seems to have a mind of it's own.
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While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, I'm not too sure anyone looks at the original BMW X5 and thinks it's a work of art. The Range Rover that it shares components with is a timeless and elegant design. The BMW X5 is a mashup of modern and retro. It just doesn't look quite right from the front or rear of the vehicle. Luckily, though, the side of the X5 from 2005 still looks like a modern X5.
Overall, the styling of the E53 X5 is quite poor, and the rear tailgate is one of the worst pieces I've seen fit to an SUV. The car has aged poorly due to the front and rear design.
If you've ever been curious what a church pew would feel like if you stapled some leather on it, sit in a early 2000s BMW with over 150,000 miles. The leather quality and overall stitching has held up very well. Unfortunately, though, the cushioning in the X5 feels as if it's been eaten by the car. There's absolutely no comfort in sitting in the BMW X5 for more than an hour. After the trip home, my lower back was aching horribly.
This, again, is surprising that the comfort in the X5 would be this poor since they had access to the materials used in the Range Rover to compare to. The overall interior comfort is a huge disappointment, which brings it to our list of things I hate about the BMW X5.
Yep, I found the quality of the buttons in the BMW X5 to be so poor that I decided it deserved it's own section in the things I hate about the BMW X5. Much like every other early 2000s and late 1990s BMWs, the X5 interior buttons have not stood up overtime as durable. I'm not sure why BMW decided it would be a good idea to have some many buttons that stuck out. Over time, the buttons become loose and simply fall off. No matter how lightly you touch the button, it will fall out after a while.
Another piece shared with the early L322 Range Rover is the infotainment system. To put it simply: it's awful. Even at the time when the system was released, it caught a lot of flack for being slow and unresponsive to the user. Over the course of 13 years, though, the infotainment system in the 2005 BMW X5 is AWFUL. I've never been a fan of the iDrive and ConnectedDrive system BMW has in their cars, but this is without a doubt the worst system I've ever seen.
I realize it's hard to complain about a car that was designed in the late 90s and early 2000s, but those were the 7 things I hate about the BMW X5. Aside from that, though, I think it's a great car. And while I compared it a lot to the early L322 and P38 Range Rover models, I think the E53 X5 is a much more reliable car for the money.
Overall, I love the BMW X5, and I think it's a fantastic vehicle, but there are a few things I hate about the BMW X5. Aside from those little things, I think it's one of the greatest SUVs.