2012 BMW X5 xDrive35d Diesel: Review Roundup

bmw xdrive 35d 2012
photo courtesy of BMW of North America

Shopping for a 2012 clean diesel and thinking about the BMW X5 xDrive35d SUV? Here’s a round up of major reviews of the vehicle to help you decide. Be sure to leave a comment at the bottom if you have questions, or something to add!

The BMW X5 xDrive35d  experienced a major refreshening in 2011 and, although some options have become standard, not much has changed for the 2012 model year. Of course, it is the  diesel engine that attracts interest in this car. It sprints from 0-62 mph in 6.9 seconds and fuel economy is attractive at 19 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway. MSRP starts at about $52,000.

The Diesel Driver — BMW X5 xDrive35d Review

The Diesel Driver touts the diesel engine on the xDrive 35d. They say, “While the 335d is the embodiment of the Ultimate Driving Machine, the X5 xDrive35d, which competes with the Audi Q7 TDI, Mercedes-Benz GL320 BlueTEC, and the Volkswagen Touareg, is the performance leader in this crowd.”

They add that the BMW X5 xDrive35d is “virtually indistinguishable in appearance from the 3.0-liter petrol model – until you lift the hood. Peer inside and you’ll see an all-aluminum, twin-turbo, 3.0-liter oil-burning I-6 that… provides the X5 xDrive35d owner with the performance of a V-8 with the fuel economy of a four-cylinder.”

They also lavished praise to the available space within the cabin saying, “The interior has capacious amounts of space for its passengers, as befitting a car of this size. Thanks to the electric shifter and parking brake control, there’s an impressive amount of storage in the center console as well as a very large glove compartment.”

The Diesel Driverliked the handling: “we found the X5’s handling to be exceptionally sure-footed. It benefits from the BMW xDrive all-wheel drive system, which constantly adapts to changing road conditions, as well as multiple electronic systems including Electronic Damping Control (which controls body roll) and dynamic stability control…” They said it was a joy to drive on the open road and city streets. They note that the engine noise was noticeable at low speeds, but referred to the noise as a “pleasant clamor.” They added that the sound was “…virtually inaudible at speed.”

They ended their review mentioning that the diesel is about $5,000 less than the V-8 version of this model, and it has a longer cruising range of almost 600 miles.

Edmunds.com —  2012 BMW X5 Diesel

Edmunds praises the “athletic handling” of the car as well as its “potent and efficient engines; luxurious and comfortable interior; huge list of features; steadfast high-speed stability. However, it was not perfect. “Standard steering is stiff at low speeds; ride may be firm for some; hefty price,” they listed as cons. The vehicle includes Bluetooth, iPod input, side curtain airbags, stability and traction control. Available as options are a navigation system, third row seats and DVD player.

Road & Track — 2012 BMW X5

Road & Track was succinct in its praise of the X5 xDrive35d saying, “We think most owners will be quite happy toting 6 passengers with the turbodiesel X5 xDrive35d’s 425 lb.-ft. of torque, although the $1700 optional third-row seating is a tad expensive and only for use by children.”

Popular Mechanics —  Year-Long Review of the BMW X5 xDrive35d

Popular Mechanics was short and sweet concerning its praise of the 35d:  “By way of breaking in the X5 xDrive35d, we hopped a flight to BMW’s factory in Spartanburg, S.C., and returned to our New York offices in style—and in just over 11 hours, averaging 60 mph and 26.7 mpg, impressive for a large, feature-laden five-passenger wagon (seven with the optional third row). First impressions are all positive…. the 425 lb-ft of torque at 1750 rpm provides a 0-to-60-mph time of under 7 seconds. Best of all, the big Bimmer’s odometer currently shows 1020 miles, and we’ve only refueled it once.”

2012 BMW X5 xDrive35d diesel SUV Summary

In conclusion, the consensus appears to be:


  • xDrive 35d is “performance leader”
  • Impressive torque
  • Price compared to V8 version
  • 600-mile cruising range, 30% better than the V8
  • Athletic handling
  • Efficient engine
  • Luxurious, spacious interior


  • Some engine noise at slow speeds
  • Steering stiff at low speeds
  • Ride too firm for some
  • Third row only comfortable for children

Do you own this car, or have you driven one? What’s your take?

Leave a comment and help out the people who are researching this car!