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Old 10-11-2010, 03:16 PM   #1
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2005 BMW X5 4.4i, good or bad?

I am really wanting to purchase this as my daily driver and as my tow vehicle, but I have heard mixed reviews. Problem #1 is that I'm in the final stretch of renovating my Airstream and I really don't know what it weighs with my new cabinets. I think the factory has it at 4,800 dry weight and 5400 loaded up. The X5 stats are 6,000 lbs towing capacity with 650 lbs of tongue weight. I could be getting close to the max with passengers and gear.
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:47 PM   #2
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The X5 has received rave reviews as an Airstream TV.

Wish I had a few extra bucks to afford one.
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Old 10-11-2010, 04:36 PM   #3
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Rave reviews? Really?
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Old 10-11-2010, 05:16 PM   #4
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Questions for towing is how many miles and where.
Short wheelbase crossovers are generally not very good for towing dual axle travel trailers. Engine power may be sufficient, but braking and handling are deficient, particularly in the mountains when the trailer wants to push the car around the corners.
On the other hand, who wants to troll all week around the city in an Excursion, when the only towing it does is a few dozen miles a week back and forth to the lake.
If you plan lots of miles for towing and trips to the Rockies and other high mountains, look elsewhere for a tow vehicle. However, it it is few miles a month mostly on the flat, it will probably work out.
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Old 10-11-2010, 05:38 PM   #5
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Here's a link to a long discussion on the matter, though with a '01 X5.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...tml#post890902
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handn View Post
Questions for towing is how many miles and where.
Short wheelbase crossovers are generally not very good for towing dual axle travel trailers. Engine power may be sufficient, but braking and handling are deficient, particularly in the mountains when the trailer wants to push the car around the corners.
On the other hand, who wants to troll all week around the city in an Excursion, when the only towing it does is a few dozen miles a week back and forth to the lake.
If you plan lots of miles for towing and trips to the Rockies and other high mountains, look elsewhere for a tow vehicle. However, it it is few miles a month mostly on the flat, it will probably work out.
I'd say most of my towing will not be in the Rockies, however, there may be a trip there at some point, so I'd want to be prepared. I will keep doing some research on it. I really wish I could hook it up for a test spin...hmmmm
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:58 PM   #7
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With a 31 foot trailer and 5400 gvw, the wheelbase of your trailer would exceed the wheelbase of your tow vehicle and the weight would be almost identical--not good ratios.
Check the gross combined vehicle weight of the BMW. Often tow ratings are based on minimal tow vehicle loading. Not picking on BMW, all manufacturers play this game to enhance their vehicles' tow ratings.
I tow a shorter, slightly heavier 25 Safari with a diesel Excursion with heavy duty Rancho Shocks. Certain road conditions such as undulations taken at speed can be felt in the Excursion. It feels like the trailer is lifting up and letting go the rear end of the vehicle. The Excursion has a long wheelbase and stiff suspension. A shorter wheelbase would enhance this unpleasant sensation.
My prior rig was a slightly heavier conventional trailer and a Ford Expedition rated to tow 8000 pounds. The trailer pushed me around downhill corners unpleasantly and the soft suspension of the tow vehicle let the trailer shake it like a dog. Heavy duty sway control was necessary and a long trailer trip to Mexico damaged the suspension of the tow vehicle.
I own a Z-3 and am a BMW fan, but I wouldn't tow even a Burro with my Beemer.
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Old 10-14-2010, 07:26 PM   #8
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Have One – Absolutely EXCELLENT Tow Vehicle !!!

I have a 2001 X5 4.4i w/sp and OEM receiver (I’m the one referenced to in the above link), 101,750 miles of which 32,000+ miles spent towing my 31’ ASCL with an 8,300# GVWR and an unloaded tongue weight of about 850# with Hensley hitch (loaded tongue weight has been to 1,000#).

Look up my multiple posts under “withidl” and if you want my personal response send me a message.
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:03 PM   #9
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I tow a shorter, slightly heavier 25 Safari with a diesel Excursion with heavy duty Rancho Shocks. Certain road conditions such as undulations taken at speed can be felt in the Excursion. It feels like the trailer is lifting up and letting go the rear end of the vehicle. The Excursion has a long wheelbase and stiff suspension. A shorter wheelbase would enhance this unpleasant sensation.
My prior rig was a slightly heavier conventional trailer and a Ford Expedition rated to tow 8000 pounds. The trailer pushed me around downhill corners unpleasantly and the soft suspension of the tow vehicle let the trailer shake it like a dog. Heavy duty sway control was necessary and a long trailer trip to Mexico damaged the suspension of the tow vehicle.
I own a Z-3 and am a BMW fan, but I wouldn't tow even a Burro with my Beemer.
I would guess your experiances with the Exc and the Exp are about what you would get with these types of vehicles.

The high end suspension and rigid uni body will vastly influence the exceptional towing prowess of the BMW.

Bimmers actually make for great TV's....
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:21 PM   #10
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I really wish I could hook it up for a test spin...hmmmm
I see that your in Dallas; I'm in NW Houston, if you want to see my setup or talk send me a personal note and I'll give you my phone number and you can call me or come down, but do so within the next week as I'll be traveling for about 6 weeks there after.
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:43 PM   #11
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I'd tow your 31' with an X5 4.4 without hesitation. Even an older 3.0 would be fine; I'd like the manual transmission with the very short first gear that BMW used in place of a low range.

Wheelbase is essentially irrelevant if the rear overhang is short, and especially if the tow vehicle has independent rear suspension and low profile tires.

Only one caution; the receiver may need reinforcing if you exceed BMW's recommendations. Otherwise, go for it.
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Old 10-15-2010, 07:51 AM   #12
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Correction, wheelbase is the length between the axles and of course the wheelbase of the trailer is shorter than the tow vehicle.
Length of the trailer will of course affect "hobby horsing", the trailer bouncing a short wheel base tow vehicle up and down.
BMW's have a fine suspension but even their engineers have not found a way to repeal the laws of physics.
To each his own but there is no way I would go to the places I now go with a short wheelbase crossover with an over the tow rating travel trailer.
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Old 10-15-2010, 11:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Correction, wheelbase is the length between the axles and of course the wheelbase of the trailer is shorter than the tow vehicle.
Length of the trailer will of course affect "hobby horsing", the trailer bouncing a short wheel base tow vehicle up and down.
BMW's have a fine suspension but even their engineers have not found a way to repeal the laws of physics.
To each his own but there is no way I would go to the places I now go with a short wheelbase crossover with an over the tow rating travel trailer.

I don't believe towing the 31 footer would be OVER the tow rating. But it will come close. I have pulled it with a 2007 GMC 1500 crew cab, 5.3L V8 and I got the "hobby horsing" going down the freeway. So, I think any TV will experience that with a standard hitch setup.
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Old 10-15-2010, 03:02 PM   #14
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We never tried to tow with ours but we sold our 2005 BMW X5 4.4i last year. It was a fun daily driver, but wow...it sure got expensive to own after 50,000 miles.
Ours had cooling problems and front suspension issues when we sold it.
We've owned 4 BMW's and would definitely not give the X5 a great review.
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