Test Drive: 2011 BMW X5 xDrive35i

BMW’s X5 has always been synonymous with class, sophistication and family life. As at home in the CEO’s parking spot as it is parked in the family estate driveway, the X5 is and – in my opinion – always will be BMW’s number 1 SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle). Sure, the X3 and X6 are fantastic options, but they just do not have the stamina and credibility that the X5 does. In this video, WatchMojo.com spends a week behind the wheel of the 2011 BMW X5 xDrive35i, and proves why this car would be Don Draper’s choice of automobile if he lived outside the world of Mad Men.

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The look of the X5 has not seen a dramatic change over the years -- and that’s perfectly alright. The X5 is kind of big, kind of boxy, but that’s fantastic for the kind of car it is. This is a “practical” luxury vehicle, meant to look sleek and classy while carting around the dogs and the kids to soccer practice.

Inside the X5, the tradition of sophisticated practicality continues. Everything about the X5 is big and bold, but in a classy sort of way. The X5 is uber roomy in the front and back, ideal for larger families or road trips with friends. And the trunk space in the X5 means this is the ideal vehicle for camping trips, groceries... people (you watched the video, right?).

Sitting in the X5 and it’s clear to see why this would be Mad Men’s Don Draper’s car of choice. He’s a family man, but a successful family man. He’s not just wealthy and powerful, but he’s got kids at home and the X5 is the ideal BMW to make that crossover seamlessly. Draper would want to be seen as equal to his peers in the office, and they would undoubtedly be driving BMWs. However, the family-man BMW driver (like Draper) would be silly not to choose the X5.


The X5 xDrive35i is a pleasure to drive. True, it’s big and heavy, but BMW has a way of making all their vehicles extraordinary on the road no matter how big or small. The steering is precise and stiff, hard to get used to at first but a fantastic feature that ensures precise maneuvering on the road at all times.

The 3.0-liter turbocharged engine gives the X5 a nimble, quick feel and is surprisingly good on gas. I expected to watch the gauge drop the moment I hit the throttle, but such was not the case. With 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft. of torque, the X5 is not the most powerful BMW around, but it has enough grunt to keep dad happy on the weekends and mom on time for all her yoga classes.

Gadgets abound in the X5 xDrive35i as is the case with most BMWs. However, for me personally the automatic lift-gate feature is the best and coolest. There’s nothing worse than struggling to open a trunk with an armful of cargo. BMW alleviates this struggle with the push of a button. The trunk opens automatically and can also be closed with the push of a button. Fantastic - Draper’s wife Betty would love it.

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