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Old 05-27-2020, 10:37 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhereItsAt View Post
I understand your confusion as BMW makes it difficult to understand the limits of each vehicle. However, if opted for from BMW when built, the 7,200 tow package is available on every model. If not opted from the factory, the limit is 6,600 pounds and it's recommended not to use a weight distribution hitch without the tow package. Additionally, adding the third row increases the payload capacity, and I believe, the tongue weight capacity. I'm still unsure if the 720 pound limit comes from the tow package or third row, actually.

The 7,200 pound tow limit boils down to this. If the tow package was added at the factory, 7,200 capability. If not added at the factory, 6,600 is the limit. It's independent of the drivetrain.
Sweet, and thank you for the clarification! It further re-assures us that both our current Airstream Nest 16FB (GVWR 4,000 lbs, Hitch Weight 375 lbs) AND our future Airstream Caravel 22FB (GVWR 5,000 lbs, Hitch Weight 525 lbs) will have NO problem with our 2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i as their Tow Vehicle. Phew!
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Old 05-27-2020, 10:38 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by RickyV View Post
Sweet, and thank you for the clarification! It further re-assures us that both our current Airstream Nest 16FB (GVWR 4,000 lbs, Hitch Weight 375 lbs) AND our future Airstream Caravel 22FB (GVWR 5,000 lbs, Hitch Weight 525 lbs) will have NO problem with our 2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i as their Tow Vehicle. Phew!
(And, yes, it has a FACTORY installed tow package)
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Old 05-27-2020, 11:14 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by RickyV View Post
Sweet, and thank you for the clarification! It further re-assures us that both our current Airstream Nest 16FB (GVWR 4,000 lbs, Hitch Weight 375 lbs) AND our future Airstream Caravel 22FB (GVWR 5,000 lbs, Hitch Weight 525 lbs) will have NO problem with our 2020 BMW X5 xDrive40i as their Tow Vehicle. Phew!
I bought the FC 23fb over the Caravel. At 525#s, you are about 7 gallons of water away from being over BMW's hitch weight limit. Cords, hoses, blocks, clothes and food and you've got a 650# hitch weight. This is over the limit.

That said I would be comfortable rolling that load, but I am by no means an expert or experienced in this matter.
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Old 05-28-2020, 01:07 PM   #24
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Super helpful. Thanks.

Our X5 doesn't have the third row of seats, but we did opt for the 2-axle adjustable air suspension and M Sport brakes, along with the factory hitch. Wondering if that gives us more capability. BMW is super vague on their specs.

But, we're definitely starting to get the feeling that a max tow 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton truck is in our future. Won't get into that here. Since we have a teenage daughter who likes her own space, we don't think we can size down. Right now, it's between a GT 27FB, GT 30, or FC 30FBQB. And some of those are at close to 9000# GTW and 800-1000$ tongue weight.


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Originally Posted by matthewk View Post
Hi I own this car. The factory hitch isn't welded to the car. It's bolted.

With the factory installed hitch option you get do get 7200# towing capacity. Larger rear brakes (smaller than m-sport though) and a transmission cooler are also included.

The specified tongue weight is limited to 551 pounds and weight distribution is prohibited on the factory hitch per BMW's specifications. Every trailer you've listed exceeds that.

The Airstream currently makes only two trailers with two axels which can be reasonably loaded and remain under the BMW tow specifications are the 23FB models of the International Serenity and Flying Cloud (not globetrotter, I assume due to the electronic awning, jacks and additional cabinetry). I have the Flying Cloud.

The BMW specifications for your trailer with 3 rows of seats (specs can be found on page 405-406 of the attached owners manual):

Approved rear axle load lbs 3,858
Approved gross vehicle weight lbs 6,691
You have the capacity of 1,246 lbs of load

Attached is a picture of the sticker of the towing specifications on a 2020 x40i factory installed hitch (taken off the car in my garage)


If you want a 25ft+ airstream on an unaltered BMW factory installed hitch and you want to remain within BMW specs, you're SOL you need a different tow vehicle.

There are a number of people, myself included that feel there is some wiggle room in the numbers above, however I am not an automotive engineer by training nor a hitch and towing professional so I will defer to people who have those qualifications.

Happy camping.
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Old 05-28-2020, 01:17 PM   #25
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We have the Acoustic Glass option and it's awesome. So quiet on the highway. But they also double as security glass. A couple weeks ago, someone tried a smash and grab while the car was in a parking lot. They unsuccessfully attempted to break three of the windows, then gave up. Due to the double pane glass and internal lamination, they didn't break. Shattered and spider-webbed, yes. But still solid from the outside. And just in case it happens to you, the windows are very, very expensive to replace! $600 factory option = $5200 service replacement.


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Originally Posted by WhereItsAt View Post
Congratulations. The G05 is a great vehicle. We have the insulated glass and the interior is whisper quiet at highway speeds. The seats are 18 way adjustable and extremely comfortable. The straight 6 is silky smooth and power comes on strong at every RPM. Other than the tongue weight, we love it.
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Old 05-28-2020, 01:36 PM   #26
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The new 2020 X5 is incredibly nice. It's my wife's car and she adores it. She wanted some very specific options, so had to special order:
  • Luxury seating package
  • M Sport package
  • Executive package
  • Acoustic Glass
  • Factory Hitch
  • 21" M Sport wheels
  • M Sport brakes

I don't get to drive it very much, but I certainly enjoy the ride! The heated massaging seats are great. The center cup holders can be set to heating or cooling which is neat. The Infotainment system is stunning and has gesture control - just wave your hand in the air to change station or draw a circle with your finger to adjust volume. Apple Car Play integration is wireless, which is convenient. The panoramic moonroof has an array of micro-LEDs built in and the entire cabin has ambient mood lighting. The fit and finish is pure luxury. And it rides great too.

What amazes me is that a well-equipped 3/4 ton truck costs the same as my wife's fully-loaded and way more luxurious X5.

I certainly know which I'd prefer on a long cross-country AS trip. But alas, seems we can't have both.


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Originally Posted by Piddleplace View Post
As you can see from this forum, I asked the question about my 2018 X5i with an aftermarket hitch to pull my 2020 20ft caravel. Comments were so very helpful, and I made the decision to try and pull my new Airstream from Florida to my high mountain home in North Carolina.

With suggestions from this forum, I bought the proper hitch with sway bars, etc ($800 installed to my existing reciever) Aside from the diminished gas mileage, I barely knew the trailer was there. I used sports mode going up really steep mountains, and I used the downhill descent mode when coming down steep hills.

I live in a community where trucks are not allowed, and in my business, it would not be appropriate to drive up in a truck, and my other car (a Porsche) is only for fun sunny days. Also, I am single, and pulling up for a date in a truck would probably scare off potential future ex-husbands. I loved the ability to park my camper in a state park, and on rainy days, zoom zoom zoom around the curvy mountain roads. I liked it so much, that I am trading my 2018 for the new 2020 with factory hitch. You are right, I called BMW north america and was told the model you have in 35 HP stronger, and has a towing capacity of 7200.

My question to you please, how do you like the 2020 X5i40? The one I wanted is arriving on Saturday, and I have not made a commitment yet. I'd love a review.

The downside, once I realized how much I love camping in the airstream, and I walked around the campsites speaking with others, I realized all the fun items I was missing! A mini big green egg grill, (65 lbs) a Sole Stove fire ring (30 lbs) my bicycle, my fly rod, an ATV.... and on and on... So a truck makes more sense for all the accessories I can't live without LOL. Otherwise I will overload my poor little European beauty.

Kathleen
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:50 PM   #27
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Super helpful. Thanks.

Our X5 doesn't have the third row of seats, but we did opt for the 2-axle adjustable air suspension and M Sport brakes, along with the factory hitch. Wondering if that gives us more capability. BMW is super vague on their specs.

But, we're definitely starting to get the feeling that a max tow 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton truck is in our future. Won't get into that here. Since we have a teenage daughter who likes her own space, we don't think we can size down. Right now, it's between a GT 27FB, GT 30, or FC 30FBQB. And some of those are at close to 9000# GTW and 800-1000$ tongue weight.
BMW is one of the least helpful in providing clear guidance on towing. They market their product as the ultimate driving machine and tune it to handle and ride fantastic without a trailer. It also happens to feel great and firm hauling a trailer and it is as long as you don't get into a panic situation. This reality makes it a less than ideal trailer hauler. Who wants a tow vehicle that feels fantastic 99% of the time but lets you down when you need it most? They know this, so they provide guidance with lower than competitor towing numbers, particularly in the US market where civil courts frown on borderline deception from deep pockets. They have been known to go out of their way to put crappy weak hitches on their vehicles to further dissuade owners from putting trailers a Porsche Cayenne easily hauls. They do this for very specific reasons. Then they provide unhelpful clarifying guidance because then they would have to admit that you can't have your cake and eat it too.

So your best plan is to accept the towing limits BMW provided. They set them there for a reason.
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:16 PM   #28
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BMW is one of the least helpful in providing clear guidance on towing. They market their product as the ultimate driving machine and tune it to handle and ride fantastic without a trailer. It also happens to feel great and firm hauling a trailer and it is as long as you don't get into a panic situation. This reality makes it a less than ideal trailer hauler. Who wants a tow vehicle that feels fantastic 99% of the time but lets you down when you need it most? They know this, so they provide guidance with lower than competitor towing numbers, particularly in the US market where civil courts frown on borderline deception from deep pockets. They have been known to go out of their way to put crappy weak hitches on their vehicles to further dissuade owners from putting trailers a Porsche Cayenne easily hauls. They do this for very specific reasons. Then they provide unhelpful clarifying guidance because then they would have to admit that you can't have your cake and eat it too.

So your best plan is to accept the towing limits BMW provided. They set them there for a reason.
I think that BMW provides limited towing info because they don't believe that their customers use towing capability as a factor in making a purchase decision. It is just way down their list, and I suspect it is for many BMW owners as well.

I always figured that if you want a great handling tow vehicle, it makes sense to start with a great handling solo vehicle, and make sure you stay within axle and tire limits. The converse is starting with a vehicle that has high axle load ratings, but doesn't handle very well.

I towed with two different X models, and never had them let me down. Towing a cargo trailer (with a large box) over the Rockies one December, we were on snow packed roads through Roger's Pass, and I couldn't get it to break loose (under controlled circumstances in a large parking lot) even when I tried. I couldn't get the trailer stability light to come on. I know the system worked because I could get the traction lights on, just not the TSC light triggered by the yaw sensor.

I think the best advice is to start with a good handling vehicle like the BMW or another Euro SUV, then consult with a towing expert such as Can Am on what modifications may be required to make it such that it tows very well. Usually that is a reinforcement of the receiver hitch, and attention to setup, if one wants to access the full capability of the vehicle when towing. Or just tow a smaller lighter trailer, that works too.

Just my experience.
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Old 05-30-2020, 07:38 AM   #29
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Hitch Weight Science

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Originally Posted by matthewk View Post
I bought the FC 23fb over the Caravel. At 525#s, you are about 7 gallons of water away from being over BMW's hitch weight limit. Cords, hoses, blocks, clothes and food and you've got a 650# hitch weight. This is over the limit.

That said I would be comfortable rolling that load, but I am by no means an expert or experienced in this matter.
Matthewk, Congrats, the 23FB is our dream trailer. We walked through one at our local Airstream dealer yesterday. Please let me know how this works out for you. I know very little about hitch weight science. Does it increase pound for pound, based on additional trailer load (water, clothes, hoses, etc.). Or is there a proportion calculation that takes into account where the extra weight is (for example, if the water tank is toward the back of the trailer, away from the hitch)?
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:00 AM   #30
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Given your choice of tow vehicle, I'd give the 23FB and smaller Airstream models a good long look, as those are most likely perfectly suited to its capabilities. I'm not going to be a "gloom and doomer," or a pretend lawyer, but I will say that in terms of hitch weight our RAM 1500 is right at the limits of its capabilities in towing a 27FB, and if we had a smaller vehicle for our 27FB, or for a 25 model (which is even heavier on the hitch), we probably would not have been satisfied with the arrangement.
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:48 AM   #31
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Why we chose the X5 to tow an Airstream under 5,000 lbs

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Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
Given your choice of tow vehicle, I'd give the 23FB and smaller Airstream models a good long look, as those are most likely perfectly suited to its capabilities. I'm not going to be a "gloom and doomer," or a pretend lawyer, but I will say that in terms of hitch weight our RAM 1500 is right at the limits of its capabilities in towing a 27FB, and if we had a smaller vehicle for our 27FB, or for a 25 model (which is even heavier on the hitch), we probably would not have been satisfied with the arrangement.
Great point! Attached is a summary of why we picked the X5.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Why X5 for Airstream under 5,000 lbs.pdf (58.6 KB, 41 views)
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Old 05-31-2020, 12:35 AM   #32
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Given your choice of tow vehicle, I'd give the 23FB and smaller Airstream models a good long look, as those are most likely perfectly suited to its capabilities. I'm not going to be a "gloom and doomer," or a pretend lawyer, but I will say that in terms of hitch weight our RAM 1500 is right at the limits of its capabilities in towing a 27FB, and if we had a smaller vehicle for our 27FB, or for a 25 model (which is even heavier on the hitch), we probably would not have been satisfied with the arrangement.
A friend towed an AS27 with a RAM 1500 Ecodiesel. His payload was several hundred pounds less than my X5, and he had less power, and not as much braking on the tow vehicle. Naturally, handling was quite a bit different. The two vehicles weighed very close to one another, if that is important to you. All that said, it did fine as long as the payload was managed. If your RAM 1500 is working for your 27, then similar tow vehicle loading with an X5 would provide even better results. Even an X3 has more power, and more payload, than some RAM 1500 models.
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Old 05-31-2020, 06:50 AM   #33
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A friend towed an AS27 with a RAM 1500 Ecodiesel. His payload was several hundred pounds less than my X5, and he had less power, and not as much braking on the tow vehicle. Naturally, handling was quite a bit different. The two vehicles weighed very close to one another, if that is important to you. All that said, it did fine as long as the payload was managed. If your RAM 1500 is working for your 27, then similar tow vehicle loading with an X5 would provide even better results. Even an X3 has more power, and more payload, than some RAM 1500 models.
Good go know, thanks for sharing. Just to be clear, our 1500 is not "working" to tow the trailer. We've traveled back and forth across the entire country several times with our trailer in tow, back and forth across the Rockies, and many times up and down 9% slopes without concern or incident, also with enough power to feel confident. The towing experience overall has been fine, so that's not what I'm referring to.

I was specifically referring to the load on the hitch, vs. the total weight of the trailer. Load on the hitch is something no dealer really wants to discuss - not the car / truck dealer, and not the RV dealer. They only want to discuss the total weight of the trailer and the towing capacity of the vehicle. For us, the actual tongue weight on our Airstream was a bit more than the specifications suggest, and this is what can be an issue, even if the total weight is well within towing capacity. Our 27FB supposedly puts 10% of its weight on the tongue, but after driving our rig over the scales and measuring the actual increase in weight on our truck, it was more like 13%. When a trailer weighs 6700 pounds, as ours did at the time, a few percent here and there adds up quickly, and next thing you know, the load on your vehicle is greater than expected. Then, on top of that, we learned by reading the yellow sticker in the door that the load capacity of our truck was nowhere near what we had expected. To put it succinctly, a 1/2 ton pickup doesn't necessarily have anywhere near the 1,000 pounds of available load capacity this moniker implies. So, that can become an issue, even if the total weight of the trailer is well below the towing capacity of your vehicle.

My mantra is always, "your money, your rig, do whatever works best for you," so I'm not directing anyone. I'm just sharing what we've learned for consideration. As you probably noticed, I'm not promoting towing with anything in particular, just raising an issue that I think is worth considering. Honestly, if we had it to do over again, we'd probably go for a 23FB and something more like an X5, just because a shorter trailer smaller overall rig would have been easier to get into some of the most spectacular campgrounds in national parks, national forests, and other places like them. Again, that's just us, and others should do what's best for them.
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Old 05-31-2020, 09:58 AM   #34
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Good go know, thanks for sharing. Just to be clear, our 1500 is not "working" to tow the trailer. We've traveled back and forth across the entire country several times with our trailer in tow, back and forth across the Rockies, and many times up and down 9% slopes without concern or incident, also with enough power to feel confident. The towing experience overall has been fine, so that's not what I'm referring to.
Sorry for the confusion, I was referring to working out, eg all good, not working hard. I have no doubt that your RAM can tow your 27 very well if properly set up. It is just that if a RAM 1500 is well matched to a 27, I don’t think the upper limit for a properly set up X5 would be a smaller trailer, all things considered.

By the same token, if an individual is not able to manage their additional cargo with a RAM 1500, IMO they will be unlikely to be able to do so with the small additional payload capacity of the X5 over some versions of the RAM.
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Old 05-31-2020, 10:18 AM   #35
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Not directly related to your question, but....

We have a FC30 Bunk. We really like how the back of the trailer seals off for a "2nd bedroom", giving the kids a modicum of privacy. Fully loaded, the CAT scales tell me we're less than 8000lb trailer weight, even on multi-week trips. But that's not the constraint. For us, payload capacity is the limiting factor that pushes us to HD truck. Trailer tongue weight, 4 passengers, 2 dogs, bicycles, firewood, etc. add up quickly. Do your best to calculate/estimate all your towing parameters and then decide if want to try to make the X5 work for you.

My wife drives a 2017 X5 diesel. While I'm sure the car could pull our AS quite nicely (especially with the ProPride hitch), that vehicle has far too little interior space for the 4+2 of us and all of our travel gear (snacks, electronics, books, etc.).

Good luck with your decision!
Spot on - we too have the 30' Bunk - fantastic camper - have hauled it all over the US - in two years we have somewhere around 19,000 miles on it. The name of the game is payload. When we travel we take bikes, firewood, cooler(s), chairs, grills - the list starts to get long (and heavy) and you'll appreciate the ability to go on longer trips with the stuff you want. Some of our friends here prefer the minimalist approach. If that is your gig then what you have may work. For us, and all of the things that make camping what it is for us, we need the payload capacity of a truck. I bought a 2,500 Silverado with the duramax - combine that with the equalizer 4 hitch and it was awesome. A great hitch is a must regardless of what vehicle you choose.
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Old 05-31-2020, 01:06 PM   #36
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Towing capacity is not the most important nimbet

Cargo capacity is. The sticker on the driver side door frame, required by law in the US, will give an accurate number for your individual vehicle, reflecting optional equipment, etc. “Cargo capacity” means everything the vehicle is carrying, except for a full tank of fuel. That means people, stuff and the weight your trailer puts on the hitch. A weight distribution hitch will put a few hundred pounds of that weight back on the trailer axles, but that’s it. Running your vehicle substantially overloaded will compress the suspension, probably affecting ride and handling. For example check the maximum permissible load of your tow vehicles tires.
So, that’s your choice to make.
We have done about 50,000 miles in a Flying Cloud 27, being towed by a GMC Sierra 1500 with a rated cargo capacity of 1940 lbs. This proved to be a happy combination with me, my wife and our 90 lb. dog. Regarding quiet and all that, most people who have never ridden recently in a 1/2 ton pickup are amazed at how quiet and comfortable it is. Beginning in 2015, GMCs have double seal doors and double pane glass. The big 6.2 liter engine (420 hp; 460 lb-ft of torque) usually lopes along at under 2000 rpm towing on flat ground at 60 mph. Vary rarely does it exceed 3000 rpm at cruising speed. So, you should assume that a pickup will be some sort of penalty box compared to your BMW, and your back seat passengers will have more room. Based on our test drives, a 3/4 ton truck will ride harder and feel more ponderous as a daily driver.
Also, be advised that many National Park campgrounds have a trailer length maximum of 27 feet. That was the basis for our choice over a 30 footer. Our kids are adults, so having more than 2 People plus dog was not a consideration.
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Old 05-31-2020, 02:22 PM   #37
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I own a 2020 X5 with the 4.0 inline 6 turbo, great vehicle. I also own a 2017 30’ International. My best advice to you is do not plan on towing an Airstream that is 20 plus feet long with the X5. It is just not a good fit. While the BMW can pull the AS it will not be very stable and braking will be marginal. If you could only compare the feeling of pulling your AS with the X5 vs a 1500 or even better, a 2500 pickup you would quickly understand why you don’t want to live near the “margins” when it comes to safely, comfortably towing. I pull my AS with a 2500 pickup and it’s wonderful.
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Old 05-31-2020, 02:37 PM   #38
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I own a 2020 X5 with the 4.0 inline 6 turbo, great vehicle. I also own a 2017 30’ International. My best advice to you is do not plan on towing an Airstream that is 20 plus feet long with the X5. It is just not a good fit. While the BMW can pull the AS it will not be very stable and braking will be marginal. If you could only compare the feeling of pulling your AS with the X5 vs a 1500 or even better, a 2500 pickup you would quickly understand why you don’t want to live near the “margins” when it comes to safely, comfortably towing. I pull my AS with a 2500 pickup and it’s wonderful.
Your X5 is a 3.0 litre, not a 4.0 litre. The model designation is representative of more power than the 3.0 model 30, which was naturally aspirated. So, we have had model 35 and 40 turbo 3.0 litre models. The only 4.0 litre was a V8, now out of production.

Your opinions on the stability of an X5 compared to a pickup don’t line up with my experience. If yours wasn’t stable for you, it was due to setup issues IMO.
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Old 05-31-2020, 03:33 PM   #39
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I have an older X5, when we were shopping for our Airstream we were considering using the X5 as the TV. But the max tongue was the limiting factor not the towing capacity of the X5. We ended up with a 25’ FCFB which has a tongue weight of close to 800 lbs as I recall. Don’t be fooled that a WD hitch will allow a higher tongue weight. The hitch will still have to transfer the total tongue weight thru the hitch to the TV. The WD hitch just shifts some of the weight from rear axle to the front. It does that by putting a bending moment in the hitch. We still have our X5 and love it but we bought an F-150 with Max Tow package, tow mirrors, Class 4 hitch and 36 gal tank to be our TV. Works great but I seriously Doubt i would be as happy using my X5 to tow my AS.
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Old 05-31-2020, 08:12 PM   #40
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Test Tow

Today I test drove towing my 2019 AS Nest w/ my 8-day-young 2020 BMW X5, and it was great! Felt like the wheels hugged the road, and the body stayed firm and stable over bumps. It accelerated up hill from a stop with no problem. The only issue was not with the BMW but the Tekonsha Prodigy wireless brake controller. I could not get it to pair, despite using my IT troubleshooting skills. Plan B is to use manual downshifting to engine break on downgrades. But I’d prefer to fix the break controller before our camping trip this Friday. Any suggestions?
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