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Old 03-04-2007, 07:40 AM   #1
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Interesting article Re BMW X5 & Towing

The highlights below are from an article in "Automobile Magazine". It praises the towing prowess of the BMW X5, perhaps the "Ultimate driving "towing",?? machine.

"Online editor Greg Anderson called the X5 a "tall 5-series wagon with worse gas mileage." Founder and editor emeritus David E. Davis, Jr., felt it was more of an "all-wheel-drive mini-minivan" than an SUV. Executive editor Mark Gillies abandoned automotive terminology altogether, branding the X5 "an odd fish but a really good one." Most staffers agreed that whatever the X5 is, it's a good one.

The chassis and suspension inspired much praise. After a 1200-mile weekend, contributor Ronald Ahrens wrote: "There's no shake, the car remains composed over railroad tracks, and road-surface irregularities are nothing but trifles. Ride quality is simply astounding." Senior editor Eddie Alterman lauded its superb damping and over-the-road comportment. Managing editor Amy Skogstrom praised the taut suspension, preferring it to the "lumbering ride" of traditional SUVs.

The powertrain and chassis made for stellar towing. After pulling a U-Haul trailer laden with his dismantled Lotus racing car back from Indianapolis, Gillies wrote: "This is a far better tow vehicle than the GMC Yukon XL Denali I used to take the Lotus to Indy (with the same kind of trailer). For one, you don't get blown around. Just because a vehicle can haul a house doesn't mean it can tow well. The BMW may not have a huge towing capacity, but it tows superbly."

Anderson recanted his earlier dismissal of the X5 as merely a tall wagon after using it to collect an impulse eBay Motors purchase from Sacramento, California
Even with the 1972 BMW 2002tii riding piggyback, the X5 handles the trailer with ease, no jolting or wagging. It feels more like a train than a truck. If it weren't for the 2002 in the rear-view, I could forget we were pulling anything."
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Old 03-04-2007, 08:05 AM   #2
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Look sharp. Great article.

I'd seem to think based on wheelbase that a U-Haul or 16' Airstream might work well with this....maybe, maybe a 19'.
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Old 03-04-2007, 08:12 AM   #3
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Well, I am suprised and really glad to know that a BMW X5 is a more compentent tow vehicle than a GMC Yukon XL. Given a choice, I believe that I would still rather trust A GMC Yukon XL to tow a heavy load.
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Old 03-04-2007, 08:15 AM   #4
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Body on frame construction can really make a significant difference when towing big rigs or very heavy loads. I know there are folks (mostly in Canada) that tow a 34' with a Dodge Intrepid, but I think we all know where certain limitiations are and I'm glad to see the level of common sense around here knowing where to draw the lines.
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Old 03-04-2007, 01:46 PM   #5
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Id say if you put that super wide rubber and wheels the X5 BMW normally
comes with and superiour handling package on the yukon ,the yukon would do great and it has the longer wheel base and good tow capacity as well .The BMW is designed to handle ,as all BMWs are and the independent rear suspension greatly enhances that .So then the BMW would have a more stable feel to it overall .That said ,forget the uhaul ,and get real ,
hitch up a new 25ftr and then see whether its competent or not ,thats the real test afterall .Much has been posted many times about too short wheel
base vehicals and the poor combination it makes with a travel trailer ,yet ,still
these vehicals are being shown to be the greatest thing sinced sliced bread
by BMW ,SAAB and VW and others.anyone that has tried to tow with these or any
short wheel base vehical finds out in a hurry they are not the right TV.
I towed a 14' travel trailer years ago with my very well equipped 70 IH scout.
It had big disc brakes in front and a 401 V-8 ,turbo 400 transmission etc.
(modified yes) and It did great with a small trailer ,never would I have considered anything over a 16' period .Be smart and be safe Is my motto .
Use the correct TV for towing your airstream or any other trailer.

Scott
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Old 03-04-2007, 03:14 PM   #6
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When considering a new tow vehicle for my Caravel, I looked at used (2001-2003) X5 as a potential. My neighbor has one with a hitch, so I hooked up the trailer and went for a spin. for just the few miles I went it felt great and the automatic rear-leveling suspension kept the hitch at the right height. Given the short wheelbase I wouldn't want to tow a larger trailer. At that time BMW said the x5 with a 3 liter v6 was rated for 5000 lbs, with 500 hitch weight, but no guidance on weight distribution. I think the v8 was rated higher for towing. My local BMW dealer was not motivated to try to install a hitch if I bought one. From what I read on the internet you have to be careful to use the BMW factory hitch, but the BMW tow package has no provision for a brake controller. I did find some info about installing a prodigy controller, but it was a tricky installation. He quoted me around $1200 for the factory hitch installed IF he could find a mechanic who could do it. He said a few years back all the x5 came with a hitch installed, but few customers wanted them, so they stopped including them. The dealers in this area do have lots of lease-return BMW's that are 3 years old. They say everyone leases new BMW's because of the high prices, then the dealers are stuck with a bunch of slightly used cars to sell.

I hear the 2007 X5 is a new design, so maybe they have solved the hitch problems.

I ended up buying a 2006 toyota 4runner with the factory tow package, pre-wired for the brake controller. It has turned out to be a great tow vehicle for the Caravel.
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:09 AM   #7
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BMW X5 as a towing vehicle

We've towed an Airstream Bambi 16' CCD for about a year now with a BMW X5 3.0i stick. I must say that I was positively surprised over the way the X5 pulled this package. The five-speed standard has the same pulling power as the larger engines have, which results in better mileage, about 16-17 mpg average. I've since added the Hensley Cub, which makes the Airstream follow when towing; Actually, it steers the towed trailer around turns and absolutely eliminates any sway or jerking. I highly recommend the X5 as a towing vehicle, especially if you also have the air suspension, which keeps both vehicles level and balanced when towing/loading.
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Old 03-11-2009, 04:44 PM   #8
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I was dubious when I first saw one of our posters (I'll leave their names out of this, as they can hold their own, no doubt, in any discussion) drive up in an X-5 with a 21 or 23' 'stream. Nuh-uh, said I.

Well... I got to thinking about it.
I used to have a trailer of around 30' for hauling a sailplane. I pulled it with a Ford Ranger, a Honda Accord (4 cyl), and an F-150. No sway control, no brakes. The Honda was a little better than the Ranger overall, in spite of having 2" less wheelbase and being front wheel drive.

It's the physics, isn't it? A functional independent rear suspension of adequate stiffness just has to be better to tow with than live axles left over from the Grand Army of the Republic's war wagons. Take one of those antediluvian whatsits around a bend with just the faintest suggestion of a pothole or pavement ripple and it'll take you round the bend. Do the same thing with a decent independent rear suspension and it just goes around the corner. I submit there is no magic load fairy that makes the handling characteristics of a live axle improve when a load is applied. Unless, of course, it's way over-sprung to begin with.


Make it of appropriate stiffness, cut back on the rear overhang ... yeah, I can see it.
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Old 03-11-2009, 05:43 PM   #9
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You are on the money, suspension, tires and wheels, centre of gravity etc are all more important than sheer weight or size of the tow vehicle.

After years of testing tow vehicles and trailers in controled curcumstances and many thousands of towing miles in all kinds of conditons. Having towed with X5's and Suburbans etc. I can tell you without any reservation that a properly connected X5 will outhandle any full size pickup or Suburban when towing a 34' Airstream.

Pick any handling test you want slalom, wind, double lane change, road coarse with off camber turns and dips whatever, it will be no contest. In fact I think I could likely run the X5 34 combination through the test as quickly as most people could run the truck alone. Of coarse for the price of them an X5 should be excellent and you won't carry the stuff you can carry in a Suburban and the fuel tank is not a large etc. but if it is handling you want it is amazing for an SUV.
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Old 03-11-2009, 06:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedSHED View Post
I was dubious when I first saw one of our posters (I'll leave their names out of this, as they can hold their own, no doubt, in any discussion) drive up in an X-5 with a 21 or 23' 'stream. Nuh-uh, said I.

Well... I got to thinking about it.
I used to have a trailer of around 30' for hauling a sailplane. I pulled it with a Ford Ranger, a Honda Accord (4 cyl), and an F-150. No sway control, no brakes. The Honda was a little better than the Ranger overall, in spite of having 2" less wheelbase and being front wheel drive.

It's the physics, isn't it? A functional independent rear suspension of adequate stiffness just has to be better to tow with than live axles

Make it of appropriate stiffness, cut back on the rear overhang ... yeah, I can see it.
The latest issue of RV Lifestyles mag has an interesting article written by forum member Andrew T which relates.

He writes about improving the Suburban by...
lowering loweriing the body on the frame,
lowering the whole vehicle and improving the stability by switching to lower profile tires,
improving the wheelbase to overhang ratio by shortening up the rear overhang.
adding IRS to improve ride and stability
He used a photo manipulation program to illustrate the mods with pics (red vehicles).

It is interesting that the new Buick Enclave is very close to Andy's new and improved vision. The article also talks about how the new redesigned Burb may be built on the Enclaves chassis which may have many benefits.

Whoops, on edit I see Andy has beat me to the punch here with the good info.
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Old 03-15-2009, 10:47 AM   #11
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When the mother ship did the test tow through pylons up against the sob, that convinced me andrew t knows what he is talking about. It made me feel guilty that I had a 2008 f150, an yet most feel on this forum a 250 is the only way to go with a 28 footer.

I rode in a new 250 diesel this week. What a beast!! Took it down some Michigan pot hole roads and the ride is well, challenged. I could just feel the damage to the a/s compared to the 150. Much improved from a noise/odor standpoint however form 07 models I test drove. My lease on the 08 150 is due soon. I think I might just buy her and keep it as it is an elegant balance of engineering for what I tow, a 28 Safari,nationwide and the only problem I have is corrosion on the streamer. I say save the bucks for the strip and repaint of the trailer. I saw no reason to change for the 09 model line up, and lease rates have gone through the roof. The 09 f150 is nice, just not worth the change and the front grill in my opinion is ugly. I hope the buick enclave and the bmw will work for most us. We just might find the problems with the trailers to be reduced as well, I know my wife would like a bimmer??
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