The BMW X5 appeared on the European market at the beginning of 2000 with the V8 petrol engine (4.4i 286 bhp), then in 2001 the range was completed with the six-cylinder petrol BMW X5 (3.0i 231 bhp), the 6-cylinder diesel (3.0d 184 bhp) and the V8 petrol (4.6is 347 bhp). It is the first 4x4 of the Munich firm then owner of Land Rover.
BMW decided to use the latter's know-how to develop its new model based on the E39 5 Series platform. The first generation 4x4 X5 weighed nearly two tonnes and had an all-wheel drive system that distributed 38% of the torque to the front wheels and 62% to the rear. It was not until the re-styled version in 2004 that the new Xdrive all-wheel drive system with electronic torque distribution was introduced, as well as more powerful engines.
The 4x4 BMW X5 4.4i increased from 286 to 320 hp, while the 4.6is saw its displacement increase to become the 4.8is 360 hp. Even the 3.0 Diesel is upgraded with second generation common rail direct injection from 184 to 218 hp.
In addition, the entire range becomes available with a six-speed transmission, giving the choice of a manual or automatic gearbox. The first X5 model was a great success, selling 580,000 units and becoming the first large BMW SUV to be awarded five stars in the EuroNCAP test.