September 1, 2000
Filed under Trailer Reviews

Yet another acronym has been added to the fraternity of tow vehicles: SAV. BMW calls its X5
“the world’s first Sports Activity Vehicle.” The X5 sports all-wheel-drive for all-weather
performance, and a 282-hp, 4.4-liter V-8. Weighing in at 4,800 pounds and rated to tow
trailers up to 6,000 pounds, the X5 has a retail sticker price of $49,400. For that price,
and considering BMW’s background, the customer receives one of the more sporty tow vehicles
on the market. According to BMW, the X5 is a new category of motor vehicle; a light-duty
truck with the SUV silhouette but without the typical SUV personality. BMW is targeting its
new alternative vehicle at buyers seeking luxury and responsiveness in a rugged and
versatile all-wheel-drive vehicle. The X5 has a number of convenience features, such as a
steering wheel that can be heated and has power tilt and telescopic adjustments with
memory; it will automatically tilt up to ease entry and exit. Controls on the steering
wheel include radio/phone selector, search (radio stations, cassette titles, CD tracks and
phone number memory), phone/audio volume, cruise control and air recirculation. The X5’s
undercarriage also received engineering attention with nearly all suspension components
made from steel, including twin-tube shock absorbers, instead of the aluminum that is found
in other BMW offerings. Four-wheel independent suspension features double lower control
arms up front, with all components’ construction being X5-specific. A multi-link system
with self-leveling air springs supports the rear of the X5 (an electric air compressor and
ride-height sensors maintain the proper height according to vehicle loading).

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