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Emphasizing sportiness while delivering enough utilitarian capability, the BMW X5 is always a good choice if you want a relatively large yet responsive SUV. The latest model years come with the newest technologies, but older vehicles are also good options that you can upgrade. An analysis by CarEdge.com estimates that an X5 in good condition will lose around 58% of its value after five years.

Are BMW X5s Reliable?

When it comes to overall reliability, the BMW X5 is considered below average. RepairPal gave it a score of 2.0 out of 5.0, putting the X5 in 13th place out of 19 luxury full-sized SUVs in its segment. The SUV is also considered to have high ownership costs because it requires major repairs more often than normal. Consumer Reports considers it a fairly fuel-efficient vehicle for its size and engine power, and the diesel-powered units offer the best MPG.

Despite its low reliability rating, you can get a BMW X5 to 100,000 miles or more if you take good care of it. Drive carefully, follow BMW’s recommended maintenance schedule, and always replace any worn or damaged parts.

BMW X5 Common Problems

Making its debut in 2000, the BMW X5 remains in production as of 2021. And like any model that enjoyed decades of continuous production, some of its model years are more likely to develop problems.

Here are some of the most common BMW X5 reliability issues reported by drivers:

Engine Stalls While Driving

Driving the 2011 BMW X5 is usually a fun experience thanks to its power and agility. However, an unexpected engine stall can ruin an enjoyable trip. This problem shows up in some 2011 model year units and is considered the X5’s biggest problem.

2011 BMW X5 M BMW - USA News
Driving the 2011 BMW X5 is usually a fun experience thanks to its power and agility. However, an issue with the engine unexpectedly stalling has been reported by some owners. Image source: BMW USA News.

Some drivers have reported that their X5 would stall while driving on the road. This happened often at low speeds, although the vehicle could stall at much faster speeds. Stalled engines were unable to restart, so drivers were forced to tow their SUV.

According to BMW, a fault with the 2011 X5’s engine caused it to seize up. The engine control module responded to stalling by engaging the vehicle’s safe mode. Depending on the circumstances, the engine warning light may or may not illuminate.

Unfortunately, most owners were unable to resolve the problem, while some resorted to replacing the entire engine. This can set you back by thousands of dollars.

Water Leakage in Interior

The sunroof on the 2008 BMW X5 has advantages and disadvantages. On the upside, it lets natural light into the interior and can slide open to admit fresh air into the cabin. The downside is that water from outside the vehicle can leak through the sunroof and damage the interior.

Normally, drain tubes keep water from accumulating on the sunroof. But the tubes in many BMW X5 units manufactured in 2008 can leak water into the vehicle’s interior.

A damp floor mat is a minor irritation, while a waterlogged carpet may need replacement if it got damaged. Unfortunately, many drivers report that the water often leaks toward the front passenger side where a lot of electrical components can be damaged.

Some 2008 BMW X5s failed to start because of water damage in the ignition system. Others couldn’t enter their vehicle because of similar problems with the electronic door locks.

If a driver was lucky, the X5 would go back to normal once the interior dried out. In most cases, the electronic devices and their electrical parts may need replacement.

Overheating Engines

Even when it’s running at full power, the mighty engine of the 2013 BMW X5 stays cool thanks to its electric water pump. However, a water pump failure can activate the secondary fan, which can keep running even when it’s no longer necessary.

BMW X5 xDrive50i May 2013 BMW - USA News
Even when it’s running at full power, the mighty engine of the 2013 BMW X5 stays cool thanks to its electric water pump. Image source: BMW USA News.

This issue doesn’t only affect units belonging to the 2013 model year. Some 2011-2012 models may also develop this problem. It’s important to replace a bad pump as early as possible before the engine gets damaged by running too hot for too long.

Transmission Problems

The BMW X5 transmission sends the right amount of engine power to drive the wheels. If one of its many parts breaks down, the SUV becomes much more difficult to drive. A severe transmission problem can activate your vehicle’s safe mode, allowing it to run at reduced performance to avoid damaging it any further.

In some units of the 2011 model year, the mechatronic sensor can fail without warning. Without the readings from this sensor, the transmission will run incorrectly.

There are other known BMW X5 transmission problems. Some 2012 X5 units can develop vibrations when their transfer case wears out. Similarly, several 2006 X5s can slip between gears–without warning–while driving at low speeds. Fixing these transmission issues can prove expensive.

While the BMW X5 requires more upkeep than a typical crossover SUV, you can still get a lot of enjoyment and excellent performance out of it. Read up on the most common BMW X5 problems for the model year you plan to get in order to get a better idea of its cost of ownership. Knowing the issues your X5 may develop will also help you prevent costly repairs down the road.

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