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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. BMW engineers were able to look at and use Range Rover technology and parts in the development of the X5 - one such example would be hill-descent control. In many respects, the design of the X5 was influenced by its British counterpart; for example, the X5 got the two-piece tailgate straight from the Range Rover. Many parts and electronics were also taken directly from the E39 5 Series parts bin to save costs.
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).
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, making it feel as close as possible to the company's rear-wheel drive sedans. Many reviewers commented on its road and track "feeling" chiefly because this is essentially a jacked up 5-series with 4wd. As a result, its offroad prowess is limited to grass and gravel only. Because it's missing essential offroad components that upmarket SUV's like as the Porsche Cayenne and the Range Rover offer--such as a low-range case, locking differentials, 8inch+ adjustable suspensions, and a waterproof intake just to name a few.
The X5, along with the BMW Z4 roadster, are currently manufactured only in BMW's South Carolina plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
A one-off version known as the X5 LM was equipped with the M70 S70B56 V12 engine from the Le Mans winning BMW V12 LMR. It was used by Hans Joachim Stuck to set a lap record at the Nürburgring in 2000.
A sporty model called 4.6is was released in 2000, having both exterior and interior decorations, including 20-inch wheels. The 4.6L V8 engine was derived from the 4.4L V8, tuned by M GmbH.
The BMW E70 automobile platform is the development name for the current X5 SAV/SUV. It replaced the BMW E53 in November 2006. 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). It is manufactured alongside the new, 2008 BMW X6 at BMW's Spartanburg, South Carolina plant in the USA. The xDrive AWD system updates previewed in the facelifted X3 have continued with further detail improvements for the E70.
The E70 features many new technological advancements for this class as standard equipment including BMW's iDrive system, electronic 'joystick' gearshift (no mechanical connection to the gearbox to win space in the console), LED taillamps, and options such as head-up display HUD, active steering, and active damping.
The interior of the new, larger, X5 is completely new. 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. The E70 further incorporates many comfort options such as a glass panorama-roof, and, for the first time in a BMW, an optional third row seat which has increased the seating capacity in E70 to 7 passengers, addressing criticism of the E53 model which had been regarded as being slightly too small for this market segment.
The E70 is also the first production vehicle to use FlexRay, a new extremely fast electrical bus system; it is only used for the control of the chassis damping system. The new 'joy-stick'-style electronic space-saving shifter has since been adopted in the new 2008 BMW 5 Series.
There was disappointment that neither the BMW night-vision system nor the radar-controlled cruise-control were offered at job-1.
The E70 has also incorporated two new engines to the X5 lineup. BMW has begun a shift of replacing engines from the 2006 7-Series. The E70 will adopt the powertrains that were launched with the X6 coming in spring 2008.
View also: BMW EfficientDynamics Concept - BMW Classics - BMW 5 Series - BMW Z4 - BMW 6 Series
BMW 3 Series - BMW X6 - BMW X1 - BMW X5 - BMW 7 Series - BMW GINA
BMW F1 - BMW H2R - BMW Just 4-2 - BMW X3 - BMW Z3 - BMW Z8
BMW Z9 - BMW 1 Series - BMW Concept Coupé - BMW Concept CS
Check out the BMW X5 wallpapers and BMW X5 Pictures (pics) collection below: