BMW X5 Interior
The 2008 BMW X5 has seating for seven and includes loads of high-tech features to entertain passengers and make them comfortable. Thereviewer calls it "the most beautiful vehicle interior I've ever seen." Many reviewers find the major drawback to be the iDrive system (BMW's radio and climate controls), which are often considered frustrating to use.
The interior of the X5 is the perfect compliment to its BMW heritage and performance capabilities. "You can always count on a BMW interior to be a perfect mix between luxury and sport, and the new X5 does not disappoint," says Automobile Magazine. Popular Mechanics says, "the interior is superbly finished ... there's a nice-sized glove box and deep storage well in the center console." Automobile Magazine says of the interior, "highs are the lovely round instruments, the tasteful mix of materials, and the large, in-dash color monitor." In designing the redesigned X5's interior, BMW listened to its customer base and added large cup holders. "The X5 finally has some decent cup holders," says Autobytel, though not every reviewer thought the additions were up to the job. Edmunds says the cup holders "are not, as the company claims, Big Gulp-ready."
All reviewers agree that the front seats of the 2008 BMW X5 are comfortable. The seats have "Great leg room, though taller drivers will be cramped for head room beneath sunroof housing," note Consumer Guide reviewers. They also add "Seats with optional upgraded upholstery harder, less comfortable than standard buckets."
The second row of seats generally got good reviews. MSN claims the "room is especially good," and according to Consumer Guide, there is "decent head room." Cars.com notes "center-seat comfort is decent and there's no floor hump to crowd the middle passenger's legs." Even though the second row is easy to sit in, getting into it isn't always simple. Autobytel noted that, "getting into the second row requires a small hop for shorter riders." Optional running boards may help solve that problem.
The biggest change in the 2008 BMW X5's interior is the addition of a third-row seat, which was implemented last year and generated some criticism from reviewers because of its small size. "We tried it, and felt that the only easy way for a tall person to get into the third row was with an assistant, a pulley, and a lubricant," reports Winding Road. Edmunds notes that the third row, made up of "two mini-seats separated by cupholders -- could be straight outta Gitmo. Even BMW doesn't recommend that anyone taller than 5 feet, 5 inches sit back there. In truth, no human should be forced to." Motor Trend compares the X5 to the competition, saying, "Those requiring an adult-friendly third row should look elsewhere, i.e., at the Land Rover LR3 and the Mercedes-Benz GL450."
The X5's standard interior features are luxurious by anyone's standards. MSN gave the 2007 BMW X5 a 9 out of 10 rating for its technological features, saying it "exudes high-tech feel even before you hit the highway." A 12-speaker stereo system with auxiliary input jack is standard, as is leather seating, power front seats and mirrors, a trip computer, tire pressure monitor and time-delay courtesy light.
Though iDrive, BMW's disliked climate and entertainment control system, is standard on the X5, many reviewers wish it wasn't. The iDrive control, located in the front seat central console, continues to drive reviewers crazy. MSN's auto tech review calls the iDrive "annoying," adding, "while tech geeks may be able to wail through its menus, I fear the soccer moms that this vehicle is targeted towards may find the information overload overwhelming."
Despite all the standard features offered, some seemingly basic luxury SUV accessories are options only, like a navigation system and rearview camera. Thereviewer said, "I'm surprised both aren't standard on a vehicle in this price segment." To get a truly luxurious BMW experience X5 buyers will want to add some optional packages.
Sound and Entertainment
Though the base sound system is good, reviewers say the premium sound system is even better. The upgrade brings the number of speakers up to 16, puts two subwoofers under the front seats and has a nine-channel amplifier with 600 watts of power. It also adds Dolby 5.1 surround sound. The Premium Sound Package includes a six-disc CD changer with MP3 capability. "Should you choose to allow the stereo to drown out BMW's traditionally mellifluous engine sounds," comments Car and Driver, "you should be pleased." A rear-seat DVD player with ports for video game consoles is also available.
A reviewer's favorite was the back-up camera and parking assist, part of the Technology Package. The system uses sonar to determine the X5's distance to objects behind it and then wraps red, yellow and green bands around the objects on the in-dash display. As the X5 moves closer to objects in the system's field of vision, the bands change from green to yellow to red. The package also includes an on-board DVD-based navigation system with real time traffic information (where it's available).
Cargo space in the far rear is tight with the second- and third-row seats up. When the third row seat is up, there is only 7.1 cubic feet of cargo space, which Consumer Guide says is "enough room for a row of grocery bags." With the third row folded, the X5 has 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space, enough for a week's worth of luggage for a family of four. When the second and third row seats are folded, there is 61.8 feet of cargo space, enough to take a kid, and all of their stuff, to college.