BMW X5 E70 3.0D SE

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BMW X5 E70 3.0D SE

Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:21 pm

BMW X5 E70 3.0D SE (pre LCI)

It's been a while since I was last on here...but... :tumbleweed:

Right, for those of you who have the time or inclination, I thought I'd write a little summary of my E70 3.0d. Not as detailed as the E53 version, but hopefully gives potential purchasers a bit of extra know how. I have lived with mine for nearly a year, and thought I would share my experiences. Feel free to press the back button on your browser at any time!

I have not included facts and figures as these are readily available on the net. What I have done is try to give an honest unbiased view on my E70. Being an Ingineer, I am rather finicky about things- please bear with me!


In terms of car history, this is my fourth BMW- 318i touring, E53 3.0i Auto, E53 3.0d Auto, and now the E70. Prior to this I was a through and through Ford man, and still have a classic Escort RS in the garage- waiting to be restored!

The majority of the info is based on my 3.0D SE pre LCI model.
LCI models (2010 onwards) feature cosmetic changes, updated engines, more options, 8 speed Auto boxes and updated I-Drive system. 2007-2010 cars had CCC I-Drive (Car Communication Computer). LCI cars benefit from CIC I-Drive (Car Infotainment Computer). Later system more refined and more feature packed- but I guess that is why it is the later system!

OK - BMW X5 E70 - taking over from the E53 X5. Bigger, quicker and more economical... according to the official blurb. BUT the economy is a disappointment- there is plenty of chat on other forums with the E70 not being able to achieve anywhere close to the 'book' figures. This from my experience is true. Economy locally is 16-18 MPG, and on a steady motorway run with cruise around 29 MPG. More on this and possible causes later.

Engine variants: Majority of cars in the UK are diesel (2 engine variants, both 3.0 straight six- 30d with single turbo, and 35SD with twin turbo's), but the 3.0i and 4.8i petrol are also available, for those who prefer them.

My E70 is the 3.0d single turbo. When purchased, it was a trade off between a lower spec'd 3.5SD, or a higher spec'd 3.0D. I went for the latter, as I like my toys, and the single turbo engine is perfectly OK most of the time. If funds permitted, I would have gone for the SD version- the economy on both engines is about the same, but the SD has less lag lower down the rev range.

I was also insistent on buying from a BMW Main Dealer, with the benefit of the AUC warranty. Had I gone private or auction, I could have picked up an SD for my target price, but I didn't fancy buying a third party warranty- which for the majority of things are OK, but does not cover as much as the AUC. Google is your friend if you would like to delve deeper into AUC -v- Third Party warranties. (Most third party warranties have an excess of some sort, and sometimes do not cover diagnostic charges etc)

My car is also the SE spec as opposed to the M-Sport. This was by choice. The M-Sport has different bumpers/ arch extensions but critically no running boards. With young kids, it would be nigh on impossible for them to get into the car. An SE car with 'Dynamic Pack' is to all intents and purposes an M-Sport underneath. The 2 sensible options you should look for as a minimum on an SE are the 'Dynamic Pack' (Sports suspension, sports seats etc) and the 'Media Pack' (Sat-Nav, Bluetooth etc).

M-Sports also have concerns with the paint on the rear arches chipping due to road debris coming off the front wheels. This is easily rectified by sticking clear paint protection film on the affected areas. Indeed BMW now do this form the factory.

Brief comparison to other cars? (well my thoughts anyway...)
Range Rover L322:
Pros: Seating position, Quality of interior, Badge
Cons: Too big, ride too wallowy, lack of Third row seats

Range Rover Sport L320:
Pros: Looks, Badge, driving position
Cons: Interior rather cheap (new models with a bit better, but still way off competition), lack of Third row seats, handling poor

Audi Q7
Pros: Size, Proper third row seats, Quality of interior, Electronic wizardry is way beyond BMW (pre LCI)
Cons: Size, Looks

Mercedes ML
Pros: Badge
Cons: Everything else.

How does the E70 compare to E53?
The E53 is a great car, and set the standard for so called 'SAV's. It handles great, and is a nice place to be. The E70 IMO build on these qualities and is an evolution of an already great car. For me it was a natural progression. The E70 is beautifully engineered, and well thought out- with the focus being around the driver.

My opinions of the E70 ('Standard' is across the range, 'Option' is- well you've guessed it)

Sound System - STANDARD
My dad's MK V Cortina had a better sound system than the E70. Mine has the base audio system. Things improve a little with the Professional Audio option, but is still no where near the BOSE in the Q7 or even the Harmon Kardon in the Range Rovers. It is possible to upgrade the speakers, but from what I have gleaned, the biggest problem is there is not enough power from the amplifier.
All E70s also have 2 x 6" shallow mount subs under each of the front seats, and use the sill cavity as an enclosure. Sounds great on paper, but doesn't sound great in the car...

Base system has no tweeters in the Doors- just empty grills. Constantly reminding you that sound is not BMW's priority when designing cars! Quick check to see if car has base system is to check these. If there are tweeters present, you have the upgraded sound system.

Rear Entertainment: - OPTION
Great for kids, and benefits from IR headphones. Slight problem for the third row passengers, because they can't see anything! The screen is a fold up/ down version, located at the back of the centre armrest. Ideal position would be on the roof (not outside the car obviously!), but with the Panoramic roof option this is a no no. Also, can take a bit of getting used to for the driver and front passenger, to make sure you don't inadvertently elbow it! Also not possible to watch the same DVD on the front screen (even with the car parked). You can however listen to any audio device connected to the phono sockets on the rear DVD player through the car speakers.
Still, has kept my kids quiet for may hours- so can't grumble!

Digital TV tuner if you have the option. Again, you can't watch the TV channel on the rear screen. Oh, and you can't expand the TV tuner to cover more than 2/3of the main I Drive screen. Still a nice feature to have, to catch up on Corrie or whatever else you may admit to watching.

Reversing camera - OPTION
Not bad during the day, but very poor at night. The new LCI version is a lot better I believe. Audi Q7 camera on the other hand is very good.

Head Up Display - OPTION
One of my favourite features. Makes you feel like a Top gun pilot- only on the M6 just outside of Birmingham! Really 'cool' feature, and shows warnings as well (bulb out, low fuel etc etc). Also shows Navigation directions in arrow form. The display is also adjustable, to suit the height of the driver. A quick note- if you have HUD, and need a new windscreen- make sure it is a genuine BMW item, and is fitted correctly, otherwise you will get blurry images. Overall definitely a great feature.

Hated by some, loved by others. Once you get used to it, it is quite intuitive, but at times a bit slow. The lack of buttons around the controller throws some people. Overall I like it. Sat-Nav however does not allow full 7 digit postcode input. Improved on LCI version.

Programmable Touch buttons - STANDARD
Just above the Navigation DVD player in the front console, there are 8 buttons (numbered 1-8 funnily enough). These are programmable shortcut buttons for Telephone numbers, Navigation destinations, Audio inputs etc. Very good- especially the futuristic way you hover your finger over the sensor bar, and it tells you what the button does, without having to press it!

Programmable Steering wheel buttons - STANDARD
There are 2 buttons you can also programme on the steering wheel- e.g. for air re-circulation etc. A nice touch.

Heated front Seats: - OPTION
3 settings available. Great for those cold winter mornings!

Heated rear seats: - OPTION
2 heat settings. Great for the kids on those cold winter mornings!

Heated Steering wheel: - OPTION
Again a nice feature. Can be switched on or off by the driver.

Comfort Access- OPTION
'Keyless Go' by BMW. You can lock/ unlock and start the car without taking the key out of your pocket. Works most of the time, but if you keep your phone / wallet in the same pocket as your keys the signal can sometimes be weakened- requiring minor adjustment of said keys in pocket to allow the car to do what it needs to.
Also- the handbook says it is IMPOSSIBLE to lock the keys in the car because the car has sensors to prevent this. Truth is it is possible, as I found out. The BMW tech said there were certain 'dead spots' in the car where the keys would not be sensed. Needless to say, the keys are now always on my person. Nevertheless a very good feature.

Climate Comfort windscreen - OPTION
Prevents the interior getting hot. Works quite well. Small issue with some aftermarket Sat-Nav's not being able to get a signal through the screen. Climate comfort windscreen has a distinct blue hue to it when view from outside the car. The standard BMW sat-nav does not allow for full 7 digit postcode input- so I carry a Tom Tom just in case.

Third Row Seating - OPTION
Good 'emergency' option. Can be used well by children, and I have even had adults in the back- albeit on very short journeys. Not the best seats in the house, but good to have. The middle row seats have rake adjustment and are on runners- can be moved closer to the front seats to allow more legroom for the third row occupants.

Panoramic Glass Sunroof - OPTION
A very nice feature, and changes the whole feel of the cabin. In 2 sections, similar to E53. There have been stories of the tilt mechanism playing up on the rear most section. (Not closing from tilt position). Fairly expensive to get sorted if it fails, as it requires windscreen and headliner removal.

Electric Dipping STANDARD / Folding mirrors- OPTION
Folding part is great. I have found the tilting mechanism does not 'tilt' as much as my old E53s. I have seen a couple of other E70s and all exhibit the same adjustment. Sometimes difficult to see the kerb as a result.

Simply put- the best 4x4 I have driven- on the road! (And I have driven pretty much all of them). Off-road it is not fantastic but not the worst. But mine never goes off road, so I don't see it as a problem. It's never going to be a 911 beater, but then it's not designed to be. Long journeys are a pleasure, with the infinite adjustments on the seats. All controls are in perfect position and visibility out the front is also good. It still makes me smile going round roundabouts or taking it through B roads.

Seating position.
Not as high as the E53- my wife can just about see over the bonnet on the E70, even with the seat on the maximum height setting- with the E53 it was 'much better' (her words!). I however have no problems.

Adaptive Drive - OPTION
By far my most favourite option. I have driven E70s with and without this, and would definitely have it. It has 2 settings - 'standard' or 'sport'. the standard setting is smoother over the bumpy stuff than basic non-sport suspension, but handles a lot better than the Sport stuff. Fancy active anti-rollbars and constantly adjusting electronically controlled dampers make for a thrilling drive. The car literally stays flat around corners. Very Very Good- and great if you really like driving your car. The sport setting makes the ride considerably firmer, but handling improves further. If I was to buy another E70, this would be a must-have option. Be aware though, mine has had work done under AUC- and the parts are eye wateringly expensive.

Adaptive Headlights with Xenons - OPTION
The headlight aim turns with the steering wheel. Having not driven and E70 without this in the dark, difficult to say how good they are. Overall, the lighting is much improved from the E53, and on totally dark roads visibility s greatly improved.

High Beam Assist - OPTION
Turns main beam on and off automatically on dark unlit roads. Sensors pick up when another vehicle approaches from same or opposite directions and automatically switches off. Comes back on again once other vehicles have gone. Very good option. However, living in a city where most of the roads are lit, I don't really use it that much. I can see the benefit if I did a lot of driving on unlit roads.

RFTs Run Flat Tyres - STANDARD
Very hard compared to standard tyres. Some have changed to standard tyres, but may be worth checking with your insurance company prior to doing this.

ECU Remaps
I have so far resisted doing this due to the car still being under warranty. On my E53 3.0d a remap provided more power, smoother delivery and a little improvement in economy. Will not consider this until warranty runs out, just in case they decide not to cover me. Speaking to a few friends who have been caught out- the dealers are getting quite clued up on looking for remaps, and rejecting claims as a result.

I love my E70 and all it's features. It is a balanced car to drive, and I am happy I went the Bavarian route as opposed to other Marques. OK it has some areas that can be improved, but it's strengths far outweigh it's weaknesses. Would I buy another? In a heartbeat. :)

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E70 3.0D SE, Black with Black - Gone but not forgotten!  >:D
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Re: BMW X5 E70 3.0D SE

Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:46 am

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