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The German carmaker's first foray into the world of luxury SUVs, the BMW X5 debuted in 1999 with all-wheel drive and powerful engines. Despite its size and capabilities, BMW designed the car for performance on roads where it handles impeccably.

While the first-generation model seated five passengers, newer versions can seat two more. Though newer generations resemble the original model, subtle changes have kept the vehicle fresh. The BMW X5 offers a unique blend of car-like handling and SUV features.

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About BMW X5

The first generation of the BMW X5 (internally coded as E53) was launched in 1999 while BMW still owned the Rover Group. This allowed BMW to utilise various bits of Land Rover technology including their Hill Descent system and their Off Road Engine Management system. Many of the rest of the X5's components are shared with contemporary BMW saloons to cut the costs of manufacture. In spite of the shared technology and design cues like the split rear hatch, BMW took quite a different tack with the X5 than Land Rover does with its off road vehicles. The emphasis with the X5 was always firmly on producing a luxury SUV that drove on the road like BMW's rear wheel drive saloons. To this end, BMW directed 62% of the power to the rear wheels and didn't overly concern itself about the fact that the X5 would be a significantly less capable off roader than a Range Rover or Land Rover Discovery. The combination of luxury with reasonably sporty handling and chunky SUV looks proved a hit with the public and a second generation of X5 (codenamed E70) was launched in 2006. This car is longer and wider than the original X5 which allowed the addition of a removable third row of seats in the car taking seating capacity up to seven. The car has an innovative electronic "joystick" gear lever which has no mechanical linkage to the gearbox. A brand new third generation X5 (codenamed F15) was launched in December 2013.