What Are The Best Years For The BMW X5?


The BMW X5 is a luxury vehicle that comes at a reasonable price. The first X5 was one of the initial luxury SUVs introduced onto the market, so this vehicle has a lot of history. 

You might think you need to buy a newer than a used X5, but the truth is, a couple of the older models stand out as being some of the best. Ready to learn which model years top our list – and might end up topping yours?

What Are The Best Years For The BMW X5?

The most reliable BMW X5 model years are the 2000, 2005, and 2016 models. All years are pretty good but if you go for any of the three aforementioned models, you get vehicles with relatively few consumer complaints, solid build quality, and powerful engine options.

What makes these three model years so desirable? Just how reliable are they? And which model years should you avoid when searching for a BMW X5? Read on to get those questions answered.

Which Year X5 Is Most Reliable?

The 2000, 2005, and 2016 BMW X5 model years all have high enough reliability scores. 

Per RepairPal.com, customers are mostly satisfied with these older vehicles. One owner of a 2001 X5 stated that they experienced some electrical issues, but everything went smoothly once those were fixed. 

Owners of the 2005 model enjoy how secure its brakes feel and how quietly and smoothly it rides – just as a luxury vehicle should. 

The only downside is that, from a mechanic’s perspective, the X5s are not that easy (or cheap) to work on.

Putting expensive replacement parts in takes some time, which is why repair bills can get so costly. 

Other than that, owners praise the 2005’s ability to get a lot of traction in snow and rain. 

There is also a lot of cargo space, so you can stash your camping gear in the back or take a few buddies out for a round of golf with your golf bags stacked up in the cargo area.

While the 2016 BMW X5 has an average annual repair cost of $1,166, consumer reviews skew mostly positive. 

Buyers of a gently used 2016 BMW X5 will not have to worry about too many repairs needing to be made up-front. Buyers note that this vehicle has a strong build quality. 

Those with the 5.0 V-8 engine equipped are particularly fond of the powerful performance they get from the X5 on the open road. 

Having the ability to pull a fishing boat or small camper is something buyers like about this luxury SUV, even though it drags on the fuel economy.

What Are The Bad Years For BMW X5?

There are a few bad model years for the X5. BMW was particularly off their game when they crafted the 2011 X5.

The 2011 X5 is notorious for its engine stalling out while on the road. In most cases, the engine went completely dead and could not be restarted, leaving the drivers stranded. 

Although multiple vehicles caught fire (um, yikes), there were no accidents as a result of this problem.

Oh, and it is an expensive issue to fix. A new engine on that X5 costs about $7,000. A few owners just had to replace the X5’s computer, but that was also pricey.

Even after the engine was replaced, some drivers still had problems with the new engine stalling out. 

This usually happened around the 70,000-mile mark but did happen to some after the 100,000-mile mark. And, since the engine only came with a two-year warranty, BMW refused to reimburse these drivers.

14 recalls in total were made against the 2011 BMW X5. 

One such recall was for the fuel pump, which might have been what was causing those engine fires. 

Loose wires would cause the fuel pump to stop working, which would then lead to the vehicle stalling out.

These vehicles are also known for their high oil consumption rate. It got to be so problematic that a class-action lawsuit was filed against BMW. 

Transfer case issues were also common and would cost over $1,000 to replace.

The 2011 is the X5 to avoid at all costs. However, the 2008 gets a dishonorable mention. 

Its electrical failure issues cost up to $10,000 to get fixed. The 2013 has a few serious issues as well, mostly to do with the transmission.

Most Common BMW X5 Problems

The most common consumer complaints about the BMW X5 revolve around oil leakage. 

On the 2000-2008 models, at around 60,000 miles, the valve cover gasket would develop a leak, leading to the smell of burning oil. The repair cost was between $552 -$678.

Another leak issue is the coolant leak that would happen on the 2000-2008 X5 models. 

The water pump would have to be entirely replaced, and the whole cooling system would have to be inspected for leaks, as that is common at higher mileage.

Other consumers have noted issues like coolant leaking from the radiator, windows suddenly failing to open or close, failure of the blower final stage fan resistor, failure of the front thrust rod bushings, and coolant leaking from the radiator. 

Of course, quite a few people experienced the engine stalling and even engine fires that we mentioned earlier.

Why Are BMW X5 So cheap?

The biggest reason why used BMW X5 models are so cheap to buy is that the market is oversaturated with them. 

There are more people selling them than there are people buying them. 

So owners and dealerships price them down in order to make these vehicles look more attractive to would-be buyers.

Is The BMW X5 Expensive To Maintain?

Any BMW model is going to be expensive to maintain since it is a luxury vehicle. That means they use pricey, high-end parts. 

Even the replacement parts are more expensive than average. Most owners easily spend over $1,000 each year on repairs. 

The average cost to maintain a vehicle in this segment is almost half the price – $651.

Is It Worth Buying A Used BMW X5?

There are good reasons to buy a used BMW X5. When you find one that is in good condition and that has a moderate number of years left in its lifespan, you get something that is comfortable and powerful. 

These SUVs were built to handle snow, rain, and winding dirt roads. They’re capable people-haulers and towers

But the problems can outweigh all those good things. When a problem does occur (and it will), it will not be cheap to fix. 

And trying to backyard mechanic one of these suckers is nothing short of intense. 

Putting these expensive parts in is rigorous work, and BMW is not good at streamlining and simplifying their mechanical and electrical designs.

Closing Thoughts

You might be tempted to invest in a BMW X5 because, as a used luxury SUV, it is inexpensive. 

At least, it is at first. You will get a smooth, quiet, cozy ride with a good number of features packed in. But, in the end, you will likely end up with some expensive repair bills. 

Stick with the 2000 or 2005 if you prefer something older or go for the 2016 if you need something newer. Be mindful of the other model years, and start setting money aside for the expensive repairs to come.

John Nelson

You can find John stringing a hammock from the back of his SUV to a tree camping in the outdoors most weekends during warmer weather. John loves the outdoors and the freedom four-wheel-drive vehicles offer.

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