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DECADE OF SUCCESS

| 06/06/2009 | 0 Comments

Within just eleven years, one million BMW X5 models have been sold. The anniversary edition, a sapphire black metallic BMW X5 xDrive35i featuring cinnamon brown Nevada leather trim, came off the assembly line at the American BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina and is currently on its way to a customer in China.

Achieving the seven-digit production figure is a further milestone in the success story of the first Sports Activity Vehicle. When it premiered in 1999, the four-wheel driven BMW X5 was the first vehicle of its kind. Since then, the concept of combining superior dynamics on tarmac with outstanding traction on off-road terrain, has been a show-stopper worldwide.
The history of the X5 begins in the late 1990s, when Chris Bangle drew the first sketches from his Designworks studio in California. In many ways, the current car closely resembles these initial sketches.
The takeover of Rover proved to be very beneficial for BMW in the development of the X5 under E53 codename. BMW engineers were able to look at and use Range Rover technology and parts in the development of the X5. The design of the X5 was influenced by its British counterpart; and many parts and electronics were also taken directly from the BMW 5 Series parts bin to save costs.BMW presented the BMW X5 at the 1999 North American Auto Show in Detroit. In contrast to the Range Rover models, the X5 was designed as a sporting road car: its off-road capabilities are significantly less than those of Land Rover. BMW reportedly worked hard to ensure it was referred to as an SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) instead of an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle). Right from the start, the BMW X5 offered an innovative vehicle concept far beyond conventional categories and combining various qualities in unique style.Even though the X5 was a four-wheel drive vehicle, BMW chose from the start to route 62% of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels, as a result, its offroad prowess is limited to light terrain only. The X5 was manufactured in BMW’s South Carolina plant. The first X5 came with a 4.4-litre V8 engine and in 2001 a 3.0 liter engine. Though the new engine was more powerful than the earlier engine, its off-road performance left a lot to be desired. BMW continued to ring in the changes in the X5 engine, with the introduction of the X5 4.6 V8 in 2002. BMW also added better stability control to the vehicle.
For 2004 the X5 was refreshed with new headlights, a few new exterior colors, a new four-wheel drive system and upgraded engines. The exterior touches gave the X5 a more aggressive look. The grilles were enlarged, headlights that were ringed with chrome, better lights to combat fog, and the taillights also received a refresh treatment. BMW invented a new four-wheel drive system dubbed xDrive shared both in the X5 and X3 in 2004. Instead of using the previous X5 system which consisted of power being split 62-38 (rear wheels-front wheels) and DSC to brake wheels losing traction, xDrive could vary power to the front or rear axles in milliseconds, or transfer all its power to one wheel, thus allowing the vehicle to regain traction quickly.
In terms of engines, the X5 got the new 4.4i engine which debuted in the 2002 7-Series; engine output rose from 290 to 315hp. Also from April this year a new X5 4.8is was offered, giving the driver 355hp and making it one of the fastest SUV. It also included a slightly modified bodykit, 20″ wheels, and along with the 4.6is, were the only X5’s ever to have a large chrome-tipped exhaust which hid the quad pipes.
2005 the 4.4i and 4.8is models got xenon headlamps as standard equipment. Along with the rest of the BMW lineup, the X5 got Bluetooth kits straight from the factory as part of the Premium Package.
The older vehicles had a major disadvantage, they could only seat five. This was corrected in the year 2006, when the second generation of X5’s hit the road. The company now added a third row of seats. The new generation BMW X5 is 60 mm (2.4 in) wider, 165 mm (6.5 in) longer; with a 110 mm (4.3 in) longer wheelbase, but remains at the height of the previous generation X5 at 1766 mm (69.5 in). The xDrive AWD system updates previewed in the facelifted X3 have continued with further detail improvements for the X5. It uses a double wishbone suspension at the front. The interior of the new, larger X5 has completely changed. It has a large center-mounted display screen and the simplified iDrive, a man-machine interface system also found in the rest of the BMW model range. BMW has also incorporated two new engines to the X5 lineup. Currently include 3.0si (272 hp) inline-6 and V8 4.8i (355hp) petrol engines and a six cylinder-inline 3.0d (235hp or 286hp) diesel.
2007, the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, USA) announced that the current X5 models were the top safety picks for all mid-size SUV models. Safety of the passengers has been taken care of with airbags placed in the seats in the front and airbags on the side for all the passengers. The BMW X5 has new antilock brakes for all 4 wheels, and a stability system that will warn the driver if there is a danger that the vehicle will roll over.
Since autumn 2008, BMW has also offered special customers a security vehicle based on the second generation of the BMW X5. The new BMW X5 Security is the only security vehicle in its segment to offer appropriate security and protection for up to five persons and their luggage. The car’s safety equipment comprising, inter alia, an armoured passenger cell complete with the luggage compartment and security glazing, was developed specifically for this model and tested in every respect in the process of product development.

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Category: HISTORY

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