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About this guide

This guide is aimed at buyers seeking information on the 2000-2007 BMW X5 which has the BMW factory code E53. This guide does not cover the replacement E70 first built in 2007. This guide is not a definitive knowledgebase but is intended to provide some useful buying information, give some idea of what ownership may involve & provides some limited data.

What did I buy & why?

In 2006 when I was looking for a used E53 X5 the 3.0d was strongest in residual strength & MPG, (I was not considering LPG converted cars). The 4.4i had more power torque & performance than the 3.0i whilst not being much thirstier. I recall someone claimed that driven back to back progressively his business partner’s petrol engine 3.0i allegedly consumed more fuel than his petrol 4.4i over a considerable distance.

At the time I was looking my budget would not stretch to facelift cars or decent 3.0d cars regardless of age, (Used prefacelift 3.0d Sport models in 2006 were typically 30% higher in used price terms compared to petrol models. Today diesel models still tend to command a premium.

I primarily began looking into ownership of pre facelift petrol cars with the Sport Pack, (wanting the firmer suspension & other Sports pack kit). The 3.0i straight 6, (231HP), & 4.4i V8, (286HP), petrol cars tended to go for about the same used money. My anticipated & relatively low annual mileage steered me towards the 4.4i. There were of course 4.6is cars to consider but, (with rare exception), these were not quite within my budget then. After much searching I eventually sourced a 2 owner 2002 4.4 Sport. The used market has changed since I purchased in 2006. Used E53 X5’s with either petrol & diesel engines are now far more affordable.

What about spec & pre viewing questions?

Whilst I seemed to be aiming towards a 4.4i Sport I kept an open mind on all used E53’s that were within or close to budget & of acceptable spec & trim. If you crave a certain type & option spec of car & want a you may have to be prepared to wait for the right car &/or travel to see &/or buy it. It is advisable to ask plenty of questions before embarking on a major trip to view. Consider having a list of questions for the seller. There are general used car buyers guides available on the internet which list things to check when viewing used cars but questions over the phone or by email can save a lot of wasted time. Ask about mechanical condition, cosmetic condition, functionality of equipment & service history. If after a tidy car ask the seller to walk talk you around the car describing each panel, (including the roof which is prone to marks from unwashed bird droppings. tree sap or roof bar use). 

What about you’re Test Drives?

I test drove various E53 X5’s – My experiences are summarised below :

Prefacelift  4.4i Sport :

I drove several 4.4i  cars & all of which had useable power delivery for everyday driving as well as being urgent enough to make decent progress when required.  The V8 4.4i Sports I drove were all super smooth to drive. Equipment levels of 4.4i cars typically more generous on the earliest launch cars.

Facelift 3.0 Diesel Sport Auto :

Facelift Diesel Sport has 218HP engine (as opposed to the 186HP Pre-facelifted engine which takes over 10 seconds to climb to 60mph

Facelift 3.0i Sport Auto (manual discussed in text) :

The only car available to drive locally was a 3.0i Sport Auto. I went with an open mind despite having read many arguments for the 4.4i V8 over the 3.0i. I wanted to sample some real world driving at higher motorway/autobahn speeds. The 3.0i Sport auto drove was not as fast as the 4.4i when pressing on I felt the 3.0i was perfectly adequate for 90 % of driving & also had a smooth quiet engine. The 3.0i felt a little lighter up front than the V8.  The inadequacies of the 3.0i only show when you push harder at speeds you perhaps shouldn’t need to travel at.  Some claim the 3.0i petrol engine is the most bullet proof E53 X5 engine choice, (the well-developed engine having also featured in various 3 and 5 series cars).  The 3.0i is perhaps for some the obvious “less guilt car” for those concerned on declaring their engine sizes to green folk.


The Alpina developed 4.6is car does not command higher servicing prices over a 4.4i Sport but commands higher insurance premiums, (as with its facelifted successor the facelifted 4.8is which is the daddy of the E53 X5’s). The 20″ tyres on the 4.6is are rumoured by some as often less repairable & are dearer than smaller tyres.  4.6is fuel consumption is a little worse than the 3.0i & 4.4i with an official combined figure of 18mpg. But what a car and what a spec too! The 4.6is (346HP), is not a million miles off the pace of a, (facelift only), 4.8is albeit the later car has better MPG despite the larger engine & added HP no doubt helped by the 6 speed auto.

Did you consider fuel costs when you chose a V8 car?

Having driven a 3.0d and preferred the drive in the 4.4i as well as the cheaper price I had to consider fuel costs. Then the mpg increase using more costly diesel versus unleaded over a year doing say 10-12k miles P/A was around £600 annually. I would have needed to keep a 3.0d for 5 years to see fuel saving in my pocket, (not considering future resale), and that maths assumed the turbo unit on a 3.0d wouldn’t fail  (can cost £1.5k upwards to rectify). The official 4.4i figure combined is 20.3 and is just about attainable in combined driving running super unleaded fuel (which can improve consumptions by up to 10%). I expect nearer 15-16mpg around town and maybe 26mpg on a steady motorway run if being light with the gas. 28-30 mpg has been seen in perfect conditions setting cruise at 60mph, (rather than sitting nose to tail with all the panic breakers in the outside lanes of busy motorways). Edited – Since 1st writing this fuel prices have soared globally. There arguably is some merit in converting petrol engine cars to LPG or sourcing cars that have had this work done. I am no LPG expert so I would advise you to ensure any LPG installation fitted is top quality & has been fitted properly. Some report yellow dash lights due to cars being confused re different kit fitted albeit usually with little repercussion. BMW independent specialists generally don’t advocate fitting LPG kits. I personally wouldn’t buy an LPG car without a recent LPG specialist documented clean bill of health……..Beware of cars with cheap conversions.

What are the Gearbox choices  ?

All V8 X5’s are Automatic albeit with a steptronic,(stick shift only), manual mode.
5 Speed Auto, (made by GM), was an option on the prefacelift 3.0d & 3.0i cars plus facelift 3.0i.
6 speed Auto, (made by ZF), was standard on all V8 facelift cars. 6 cylinder cars.
All 3.0i & 3.0d came with manual boxes unless Auto selected as an option though most were optioned with Auto.
Buyers should be aware that there are some reports of lurching on 6 speed Auto boxes.
Manual cars are rare & used to book at £1k less than an Auto, as I prrdicted some years ago these cars are now sough by used buyers who dislike auto’s &/or auto repair/replacement bills.
Some mixed views re the quality and merits of manual gearboxes, (with some stating 1st gear is a little short on the 5 speed).

Auto boxes are either Made by General Motors (GM) or ZF & are fitted as follows :

5 speed 5L40-E (BMW reference A5S 390R) : Prefacelift 3.0i, Prefacelift 3.0d & Facelift 3.0i

ZF 5 Speed 5HP24 (BMW reference A5S 440Z) : Prefacelift 4.4i & 4.6is.

ZF 6 speed 6HP26 : (BMW reference GA6HP26Z) Facelift 3.0d, Facelift 4.4i, & 4.8is.

Failures are not unheard of either of the GM units or the ZF units. I recall reading one article where one speciallist indicated the 5 Speed GM unit did not always cope well with increased torque from remapping but this is just one opinion. Some owners & BMW specialists recommend causing the Auto Gearbox Oil to be changed to prolong longevity of the box. BMW did claim the units are filled with lifetime fluid though some claim the state of oil & filter from changes suggests that an oil change is sensible. Futher discussion yields mixed opinion(s) as to merits of changing Auto Tansmission Fluid, (ATF), over say 75k miles. One school of thought suggests it can be unwise to dislodge things & unsettle the box. One iundependent I spoke to advocates he has  changed fluids on many & not encountered problems. It is however, worth entrusting this work to a specialist as it is deemed important that ATF change is conducted when certain temp range is reached. Main dealers will be reluctant to do this in abscence of a problem. Auto box reconditioning can be arranged at specilaists for around£1700. BMW dealer cost for a new box is circa £3k.

What about leather trim ? 

Absences of leather (optional but common on  6 cylinder cars), & communications pack used to reducebook value of cars. Cloth trimmed cars are an increasing  rarity as many traders and owners swapped out to salvaged leather (standard on all V8’s), have caused leather strim to be retro fitted.

What does an E53 X5 drive like & how does it handle ?

Many have claimed the X5 handles like a car. It was loosely based on E39 5 Series with 7 series underpinnings.  The E53 X5 is a competent vehicle with good handling. I can confidentially drive mine through twisty stuff with some pace but I also respect it’s size and weight. The X5 can out handle many if not most big 4×4’s on the road in the twisties. At the time of launch it blew the Mercedes M Class away and was a distinct marketing move way from the L322 Range Rover, (which was also built by BMW at the time). When launched, the 4.4i Sport allegedly lapped the Nurburgring only a few seconds behind an E36 328i .

What about performance comparisons ?

Figures on paper give the prefacelift 4.4i Sport a top speed of 143-145 mph depending what you read and 0-60 mph of 7.3 – 7.5 secs, (again depending on what you read). The 3.0i Sport has a top end of 134 mph in rare manual guise with 0-60 times of 8.9 for the manual rising to over 9 seconds for the Auto. 3.0d in prefacelift guise takes over 10 seconds to get to 60 and tops out at 124mph. It is probably academic and more a sub concious performance issue but but SE models are supposedly limited to 130mph, (diesels will be slower regardless on prefacelifts), this is partly due to the lower speed rating tyres and partly to help BMW charge extra for the Sport Models. (Details of the sport pack as listed later in this article). 4.8is claims 7.0 secs to 62mph & 4.8is claims 6.5 secs.

What about remaps ?

Stealth ECU remaps were a poplular choice for quite a few early 3.0d owners , (taking prefacelift cars to facelift power output levels), & depending on where done are allegedly sometimes not immediately detectable by dealers or insurance companies. Tuning boxes, ( previously a more common site), however, are visible so declaration to insurance is a must if you want cover after an insurance assessor sees your car, should the worst happen. Some insurance companies refuse cover if your car has been re-mapped & others may charge if you declare such a modification. Declaration of course a personal choice albeit it is owners reponsibility to declare or not & whilst considering all implications including those legal. There are various specilaists that will perform remaps on diesel and petrol cars.


Okay so what about some data? 

Fuel Consumption figures:

Pre-facelift cars:
3.0d (5 speed Manual):  Urban 25.4 mpg/Extra Urban 38.7 mpg/Combined 32.5 mpg
3.0d (5 Speed GM Auto):    Urban 23.0mpg/Extra Urban 34.4mpg/Combined 29.1mpg
3.0i  (5 Speed Manual):    Urban 16.2mpg/Extra Urban 28.2mpg /Combined 22.2 mpg
3.0i  (5 Speed GM Auto):  Urban 16.1mpg/Extra Urban 27.4mpg /Combined 21.9 mpg
4.4i  (5 Speed ZF Auto):  Urban 15.0mpg/Extra Urban 25.4mpg/Combined 20.3 mpg
4.6is (5 Speed ZF Auto):  Urban 13.5 mpg/Extra Urban 24.8mpg/Combined 19.0 mpg

Facelift cars:
3.0i  (6 speed Manual):  Urban 16.2mpg/Extra Urban 28.2mpg/combined 22.2 mpg
3.0i  (5 Speed GM Auto):  Urban 16.1mpg/Extra Urban 27.4mpg/Combined 21.9 mpg
3.0d (6 Speed Manual):  Urban 24.8 mpg/Extra Urban 40.4 mpg/Combined 32.8 mpg
3.0d (6 Speed ZF Auto):  Urban 23.5 mpg/Extra Urban 35.30 mpg/Combined 30.1 mpg
4.4i  (6 Speed ZF Auto):  Urban 15.5mpg/Extra Urban 27.7 mpg/Combined 21.6 mpg 
4.8is (6 Speed ZF Auto):  Urban 15.1 mpg/Extra Urban 26.9mpg/Combined 20.9 mpg

Pre-facelift 3.0i vs 4.4i comparison from Autocar Magazine road tests :
30-70mph 3.0i-  8.6 secs versus 4.4i – 5.8 secs.
0-100mph 3.0i- 27.7 secs versus 4.4i – 19.3 secs.
Range on a tank  :  3.0i = 459 miles    4.4i = 440 miles.
Torque                : 3.0i = 221lb/ft      4.4i = 325 lb/ft 

What about comparative equipment & toys?

It is to a certain extent pure myth that the 3.0i is a lesser specification car compared to the 4.4i as the basic specs are near identical. As mentioned before, when the X5 was first launched it came in 4.4i guise only so many first adopters ticked plenty of option boxes. Options vary from car to car & buyers need to be aware as to what standard kit is and what the official options are for any chosen car. The absence of the (optional on all cars except the 4.8is), communications pack used to knock £2.5k off the used values of these cars……. V8’s were near impossible to sell without this kit fitted.

What about running Costs, Reliability and servicing?

Despite what some may believe, it is also a fact that BMW, (perhaps like Mercedes), are not always as bulletproof as many might believe. Parts on the X5 are not the cheapest. Any financial savings made by buying a car a bit cheaper than another equivalent can be wiped out by a big bill or two.

Servicing costs will vary depending on who does the work. Service cost at main dealers are higher for V8 models. Depending on where you are you can expect to pay silly labour rates with £140 per hour being a reality for some. Allow £500 or more for an Inspection 2 at main dealers. Some dealers will do labour discounts scheme for older cars so politely ASK!  It is worth phoning/emailing around &/or asking for price matches at the dealer of your choice, (allow for regional differences).

In reality many use trusted BMW independent specialists with up to a 50% savings on main dealer labour rates. In my view there is nothing wrong with getting independent, (Indy), car servicing outside of warranty but some feel this has a negative effect on values later. In 2016 specialist Indy prices seem to be £60-£70 per hour in South East. Do your homework & if you go down the Indy route try to find a good Indy & build a two way trust based relationship.  More often Indy workshops are run by ex BMW staff who have access to the latest diagnostic equipment etc.

DIY servicing is an option but the only repair manual is American & ntended for LHD petrol models only.

What is so called BMW Goodwill?

It was not unheard of for BMW UK through BMW dealerships to make the odd “Goodwill” full or part payments for failed components outside of warranty to owners of cars with complete main dealer histories. Sadly this is a thing of the past for most but it is always worth haggling repair quotes if your car still has full main dealer history.

Do I need to keep up the service history?

If you buy with a part independent history then it could be argued that you may as well stay outside of dealership & keep it serviced at a good BMW specialist, (unless you feel confident with d.i.y. servicing & are prepared to take a hit come resale unless able to convince next buyer of your spanner abilities.

One thing is for sure a neglected car in obvious need of maintenance and servicing will be an unattractive proposition to many a used buyer due to the potential costs involved to sort a potentially neglected car. It can be nice to see a car with FBMWSH up to its first big service (Inspection 2), this is usually due at around 60k miles or so.  Attitudes towards FBMWSH are changing. Not that long ago many used buyers would reject a car unless service book was full of BMW stamps, however, with there being plenty of good specialists who are experienced at working on BMW’s. Personally I would not reject a car with a healthy stack of parts invoices for work done, (e.g. a receipt for a header tank or maybe some pads), but I would personally want to see some indication the work had been done properly or at least to have a quick look at things done on the car by owner(s).

What about warranty?

Both BMW & independent warranty providers can provide warranty cover but do check the small print. Do consider that excess payments are applicable per claim and that policies can have restrictions &/or sliding scale settlement percentages based on age & mileage. More discussion on this forum if you are prepared to do some research.

What goes wrong? 

X5’s can have an appetite for discs/pads/bushes/ball joints & front outer CV joint boots so worth keeping an eye on these as if left you will need new CV joint also. Auto boxes are not bullet proof. Door locks can freeze in winter and damage may result if forcing open same. Electric window regulators can fail and this is an hour job for a good Indy. Panoramic electric roof where optioned can fail also and is expensive to fix outside of warranty – BMW do list a repair kit for same but expect a few hours labour.  Dash pixilation is a common but fixable. A new alternator on a V8 costs £950 as it is water cooled! Batteries will easily drain if you sit in car watching TV or listening to radio etc. Other faults can cause parasitic current drains. Decent quality jump leads should be a minimum piece of kit to carry. Some battery drains can be linked to faulty Final Stage Resistors (FSR – also known by nickname as hedgehog). Coolant leakage can result from header tank bleed valve failure, (cheap fix), header tank failure or maybe leaking hoses, ventilator pipes or connections. Water pumps can fail on the V8’s at around 100k. Auxiliary pusher a/c fans can fail on petrol models at surprisingly low mileages. I have heard of them failing at 65k. Radio modules can die but can be sent for repair for sensible money. Failing that second-hand ones seem to cost circa £200 for a properly reconditioned unit. Thrust bushes on front suspension arms can fail as low as 70k and rear subframe bushes can fail circa 90k miles.

Prefacelift V8 cars : After say 70k miles these engines can need new rocker gaskets which can cause further problems if unchecked. PCV hoses known to fail & my Indy reckons this can cause problems with the rocker gaskets. Best way to check for failure of gaskets and hoses  these is to use the allen key which should be in the tool kit for the car,  remove the 4 bolts to the engine cover and check condition of hoses and for signs of gasket leaks.  Water pumps known to fail usually circa 100k.  O2 Sensors (4 on a V8), can also fail. Timing chain has plastic guides which can fail. If noisy do not drive further, get it fixed (allow £1200-£1500 at a decent independent) or sell as spares/repair. Vanos on 4.6is can have issues.

Facelift V8’s. The valve stem seals allegedly an issue affecting facelifted V8 cars. Some reports of valley pan coolant pipe leaks also.A modified aftermarket collapsible pipe is available stateside.

Diesels: Turbo’s can fail in later life. Breather worth changing when buying any car with more than say 50k. Modified/revised part now sold. Info on forums re this. Swirl flaps can fail in BMW 3 litre diesel engines No definitive info on presence of same in E53 but indications are nobody yet to have found swirl flaps in an X5 3.0d.Beware cars that smoke heavily or make odd noises. If in doubt view others to compare. 

I am told that 6 cylinder cars can have starter motor issues when windings fail & cause excess current be drawn.  Hard to diagnose as symptoms similar to a flat battery (slow cranking). Replacement can be a DIY job for some but fiddly.

Auto reliability & repair/replacement costs discussed above.

The above is not exhaustive………..Searching these or other forums may help with issues but remember forums are often places folk come to when they have problems. Do not expect all forum comments to be accurate or representative of how commonplace certain issues may be.


What are your General viewing & buying tips?

You could end up buying 100% reliability or a money pit……the later likely if you buy unwisely. The suspension, discs & pads can take a hammering from speed humps driven over by heavy footed town drivers as these vehicles are not light in weight Check everything electrical, ( known issues can include electric window and folding/dipping mirror failures as well as that dash unit I mentioned). Check tailgate function and look for tailgate open dash messages or double clicking ( once is fine) when unlocking……not a problem as new catch can be sourced but it comes unpainted with surround trim so allow for this. Check PDC  – ideally walk test each sensor. Check CD autochanger and Nav if fitted. Check rain sensor. Do be prepared to walk away from flashing lights on the dash unless seller is prepared to fix same at garage, specialist or dealer of your choice or cause a proper diagnosis to be completed with a transparent quote you can discuss against sale price. With the person who has performed the diagnostic work. Also consider it is possible for rogues to disconnect engine fault warning lamps. Lots of logic in viewing driving the nicest example you can find – even if too much cost wise it will give you a good benchmark as to what a sorted car should be like. Be nice but be guarded – Remember that many private sellers sell for financial reasons.

Checking BMW History & dealer visits:

You can call BMW to get spec & dealer service info on any given car. One good reason to buy a car with BMW history is that you can get info on dealer visits then call dealers to try to get a more complete history picture. Of course there’s nothing to stop you calling independents if a car has Indy stamps in the book but independents do not typically provide this info. Don’t expect them to have a nice chat re your car unless you indicate strongly you are keen to take it to them later for further work when required.

Should I buy something more reliable or less risky as a used buy?

Those on a tight running budget may want to have some sensible thoughts prior to use E53 X5 ownership. The X5 can be as costly to run as can say a Range Rover.

What about the service lights?

Servicing is variable & indicated as due by way of service lights….. Reckon on servicing every 15k miles or thereabouts. Servicing stamps should read as follows on the earlier E53 models. (PDI- WHEN NEW ONLY) OIL INSP> INSP 1>.OIL INSP >INSP2 THEN REPEATED. A car just serviced will have 5 green lights illuminated. If the only lights indicating are red or amber  service overdue lamps then proceed but with caution but ensure this is reflected in the price paid and that the servicing has not been overlooked when covering star ship mileages.

What about Tyres?

The Sport came with Michelin Diamaris which can be good for 30k miles if driven sensibly. Other brands such as Tokyo’s can come in cheaper- some love them and some prefer the Diamaris. In winter don’t expect your X5 to be a snow plough. The default Diamaris are summer tyres….. In winter some fit winter tyres &/or dedicated winter rims. Some bash the X5 for poor winter abilities but those who have fitted dedicated winter rubber in colder months have been happy with their cars.

What is the Sport Pack?

The definitive list for the Sports package in the UK was:

1. Sports alloys (V-spoke style 63 5 spoke 10 J x 19 “) with extra wide tyres 255/50 R19 front & 285/45 R19 rears.
2. 3 spoke sports steering wheel (as above) multi-function.
3. Sports seats, (electric front seats with driver memory).
4. Sport suspension setting
5. Anthracite headlining
6. Clear indicator lenses
7. De- chroming
8. Titanium Line Interior trim, (dark or light poplar zero cost option if selected by first purchaser)
9. Black chrome tailpipes, (certainly on the 4.4is)

SE cars won’t have the above and come with 17 inch rims as standard. Some feel the SE gives a smoother more comfortable ride as a result of the tyre profile and slightly softer suspension set up.  An SE should typically be a slightly cheaper purchase than an equivalent age/mileage/condition/history Sport. Beware SE’s that look like sports – easiest way to check is steering wheel. All SE’s had 4 spoke wheel as standard.

What does the Communications (Comm’s) Pack consist of?

1. GSM phone, (in the UK this was initially a BMW firmware Motorola V50 – the firmware of which ensures the phone does not drain the battery if the phone is left plugged into the cradle (later cars came with Bluetooth preparation  from 2004). If car should have been equipped with a V50 phone it’s maybe worth checking it’s there as these can cost £150 second-hand to replace. (Non firmware V50 will drain car battery when ignition off- proper firmware phones have BMW logo on screen of handset but you can pay to get a non BMW firmware phone upgraded).   
2. Satellite Navigation system (Faster DVD optical drive & 3D bird’s eye view with correct software i.e.  2003. Newer DVD system  known as Mk 4 & can be retro fitted as plug and play to cars with older MK 3 system presently fitted (typical cost £3-400 used).
3. Monitor (OBM,) initially 4:3 aspect ratio screen until 4/01 when replaced by 16:9 split screen & wide-screen), incorporating TV ,(initially analogue), & text, (the screen displayed all computer functions etc.). Older cars need to be upgraded to view digital TV.

Individual components could be selected from the comb’s pack which was officially all 3 of the above & thus a car with a screen will not necessarily have TV functionality – this can be checked by accessing the main menu but easiest thing is to get seller to demonstrate functionality. The Phone option includes SMS text displays and address book functionality etc.


There were many factory options which include aluminium running boards, (which can corrode – deduct for replacements if required or be prepared to use some elbow grease if not too bad). Other options are automatic dimming and folding mirrors. These can be temperamental. Views vary but dried out bearings in the motors are suspected as are bent pins- not worth retro fitting in my view as more hassle than good.  Climate comfort windscreen was popular yet surprisingly the sunroof and even heated front seats are not as common as many might think. Rear airbags are rare on preface lift cars. The comb’s pack is a very popular option and still desirable on a used car Electric front seats were an option but standard on the Sport. Xenon lights were very popular and are keenly sought after but quite a few cars are absent of same. Rare comfort seats loved by those who have them Electric rear seats rare as hen’s teeth.  There have also been quite a few in car entertainment options added to some cars.  DSP is the top of the range optional factory BMW audio upgrade which has a multitude of various tone settings and effects as well as extra speakers and a sub-woofer. Many relative novices to car audio like the DSP but there seem to be audiophiles who loathe it. If nothing else it is an impressive toy for those that like to demonstrate such kit. Some used cars may have had audio and/or other in car entertainment kit fitted outside of the BMW network, (Nothing wrong with this but check quality, operation and installation as you don’t want a car that’s had a cheapo installation with butchered headrests to accommodate nasty or pixelated screens).The 4.6is came with a few more toys so expect much of the above on the the pre-facelift flagship model. The 4.6is also came with 20″ alloys and additional body styling bits added on which most agree do enhance the look of the car. High spec early 4.4 cars first delivered before the arrival of the 4.6is created a myth that the 4.4i has many more toys than the 3.0i and 3.0d models. A side by side comparison of various models on a decent used car internet site will hopefully give the true picture of standard kit.

What’s different on a Facelift Car?

Facelift models were made from 9/03 and for the 2004 Model Year, (MY), onwards.


Revised front end – New headlamps, bumper, grill nostrils, bonnet, and wings.

Minor change to rear lights – A keen eye required to identify if following an E53.

Revised alloys.

Interior – Revised 3 spoke steering wheel on sport models with solid spokes. Also dash saw addition of instrument bezel trims.

Power as follows:

3.0d up from 186HP (pre-facelift) to 218HP (facelift)
4.4i up from 286HP (pre-facelift), to 320HP (facelift).
4.6is (347HP) replaced in 5/05 with 360HP (facelift) 4.8is.
3.0i (only engine size without change to engine for facelift).

Xdrive added:  Basically more electronics & abilities when things get tricky.

6 speed auto & manual boxes replaced earlier 5 speed items.

Options: Pano roof became the default sliding glass roof option if desired/purchased.

Were there any special editions?

Prefacelift cars:  4.6is Carbon Black – Final run special model of the 4.6is same power but well specced. 

Facelift Cars:

Lemans Blue Sports Edition (released end of 05) – 20″ V spoke alloys, running boards and part Nappa/Alcantara as standard it retailed for £1540 more than the equivalent sport model.

Exclusive Editions (released end of 05) – SE gained Carbon Black or Stratus Grey paint, 18″ alloys, high gloss shadowline exterior trim, (like on the sport), interiors could be specced in cream or cinnamon nappa and with anthracite mats with colour coded leather piping to match the seat trim, electric sports seats grey poplar wood trim anthracite lining and matt chrome bezels also featured.

Sport Exclusive Edition – As above but with standard sport upgrades such as sports suspension, bigger wheels, and max speed not limited as with other petrol SE’s.

Additional Option packages (released end of 05)

Sports Plus, (for sport only), 20″ V spoke alloys, running boards, Nappa/Alcantara combo trim……cost of this pack was £880. 

Premium pack – Added panoramic roof, electric lumbar, xenon’s and nappa for £1140

Climate pack – Steering wheel heating, climate comfort windscreen heated seats & sun protection glass- No prices available.

What about Prices?

If seeking the best deals on an X5 then a higher mileage can still make sense if it’s had work done on it (such as Inspection 2, tyres, brakes, maybe bushes. Other work to look out for evidence of would include replacement front outer CV boots). Beware none or patchy history cars. X5’s with high indicated miles may have still done many more than indicated as these cars cope well cosmetically with miles – check driver’s seat outside pad for wear and maybe nose of car for starship mileage stone chips. Top tip from me would be to not be drawn in on top spec alone and to be big enough to walk away from neglected cars unless you know exactly what you are buying. Your family may be impressed with that DVD set up in the rear but the cost of sorting a scruffy car can run into thousands & thus can far exceed the cost of a later getting a decent  DVD player set up etc. if later desired. Best indication of prices is to look at many cars online nationally whether forecourt, independent trader or private. Many independents as competitive as or more so than private sales. The private sale has the advantage that you get to meet the last keeper but obviously buyer needs to sort own warranty or transfer any remainder of warranty if present. 

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