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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Tennessee
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    1998 Z3 1.9, Jetta TDI,

    X5 e70 3.0 a good towing suv?

    Me and the wife are going to get a RV trailer soon, looking at micro lites 3500 to 4200 range and are looking at a BMW X5 3.0 2009 model with the sport mode. Looking at a 3.0 i6 because it's the most reliable of the X5 engines. It has a tow rating of 6000 lbs, so does anybody have any experience with a set up like this and can share there experience with towing with the 3.0.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    Sacramento
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    2
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    E30 325i /E36 M3 /E70 X5
    Hey, I've done a ton of towing in my days, and actually just picked up a X5 35d for this purpose, so here's what led me to choose the 35d over a gasoline alternative:

    Firstly, a vehicle's tow rating does not necessarily correlate to how well it will perform. It just tells you that it will make it up most moderate inclines, stop at a reasonably safe distance, and still leave a bit of room for suspension travel at the top end of the rating without breaking your rear axle under load. My wife's 1.8L Sentra is rated for 2000 lbs., but you can imagine how pleasant that driving experience would be!

    If you want a comfortable towing experiencing, you need to consider how a drivetrain's power is delivered: Smaller displacement gasoline engines like the 3.0i are high-revving, with modest torque. This means that when you're towing, when you come to even mild inclines, your transmission is going to downshift to a lower gear to access the power of the motor. This is not only inefficient fuel-wise, but can really take away from your comfort if you want to enjoy a leisurely drive but your car is audibly straining to keep you going every time a hill approaches. On the other hand, diesel motors deliver their peak horsepower at lower RPMs and thus also deliver greater torque across the range of operating conditions. (This is because diesel fuel is actually more energy dense than gasoline, in case you're wondering) This means that when you come to a mild incline, a diesel motor is capable of creating pulling force (torque) without downshifting, which means that you can preserve your MPGs and comfort as you cruise. Overall, diesel powertrains tend to tow more effortlessly than gasoline motors, making for a better driving experience in this setting, while gasoline motors will give you a high-revving experience which is more appropriate for a sports-SUV configuration.

    Look at the specs of the gasoline v diesel powertrain options in the X5. The diesel delivers more HP at a lower RPM, and almost double the torque:
    2009 X5 3.0i: HP: 261@6650RPM, torque: 232 ft-lb@2750RPM.
    2009 X5 35d: HP: 265@4200RPM, torque: 425 ft-lb@1750RPM.

    I think if you're going to be towing regularly, you'll appreciate the power delivery of the diesel, and from what I've read, the maintenance on these motors tends to be equivalent or even less than that of the gasoline alternative. But, full disclaimer, I have yet to pick up mine, and only time will tell. Perhaps you should take them each out on a test drive to get a sense of how they perform. Best of luck with your decision!
    Last edited by ///Msport; 02-11-2018 at 03:01 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Vancouver
    Posts
    156
    My Cars
    2001 530i, 2007 X5 3.0si
    I have an e70 X5 with the 3.0 and have towed a trailer that weighed about 2500-2800lbs from Vancouver to Toronto through the States (Washington to Michigan).

    It was do-able but not something I would want to do on a regular basis.

    Bad

    -The gas mileage dropped heavily above 110km/h (68mph)
    -It has to gear down and rev high when going up even minor hills
    -Slow acceleration getting onto highways (dangerous if you have short merge lanes)

    Good

    -Stability-wise, it was fine the whole time (you couldn't really feel that you were pulling anything)
    -I had no issues breaking
    -I could drive 150km/h (but with horrible fuel economy)


    I suppose this would come down to your comfort level, just as some people are OK with a car that accelerates to 60mph in 11 seconds, while I feel much safer if I can do it under 8....

    I have never driven the diesel 35d, but I would be inclined to agree with ///Msport based on what he presented or maybe go for the 4.8 or 5.0

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Lancaster CA
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    4,495
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    e34, e38, e39, e46, e70
    The issue is not horsepower, its torque. I like the discussion above about the 35d since it has the torque.

    Above that is the issue of transmission wear. The I6 gas engines do not have high torque trans so your asking for problems if you tow on a regular basis. Going to the V8 you will get the torque for sure, but again, the trans is not made for regular towing, especially not high speed or heavy weights. Remember, this is a BMW, not a work truck, its made for dainty towing jobs.

    If you need to do regular towing, and heavy towing, go spend $5k on an old Chevy Tahoe/GMC Yukon and you can pull up to 10k lbs with no issues. I have a 2003 Suburban and even with 180k miles on it, it could care less what I'm pulling, even my e38 on a trailer.

    02 e39 540i Sport (Son), 01 DINAN 7 (Me), 12 e70 X5 x35i (Mrs), 95 e34 525i (Daughter 2), 01 e46 325Ci vert (Daughter 1)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Asheville, NC
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    13
    My Cars
    2009 X5 35d
    I've got an old pontoon I drag all over the place. It runs about 4,000 pounds normally loaded. I can hardly tell it's back there except over big bumps and slowing down. I also have a Ford F250 Crew Cab 7.3 diesel. I'll take the X5 any day over the Ford for pulling in this weight range.

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    colorado springs, CO
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    58
    My Cars
    Chevelle, jeep

    X5 e70 3.0 a good towing suv?

    My x5 towed great till I realized the rear camber had gotten jacked up on my trip and worn down to the chord on one side. 6000lb hitch and 600lb tongue weight rating on a 5k/500 lb tongue wt trailer. 2011 35d


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    "No I'm sorry, I'm not prepared to pursue my line of enquiry any further as I think this is getting too silly." Monty Python

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Tennessee
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    1998 Z3 1.9, Jetta TDI,
    Thanks for all the replies. Also agree that the diesel with more torque would be a better tower but the reality was all the X5's we looked at had over 100k in are price range and after reading many BMW forums and talking to are BMW indy shop mechanic that the BMW x5 diesel after 100k was going to be a maintenance nightmare with all the EPA crap going bad so we decided to get the 3.0 6 cylinder and did find a nice 2009 E70 3.0 sport. Even talked about getting a X5 diesel and having DPF delete and freed from all the EPA crap but it was way too expensive for this option.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Atlanta, GA
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    2017 Ram 2500d
    I would highly recommend against towing anything larger than a jet-ski with a 3.0. Go a year or two newer and get the 3.5 turbo, diesel, or a v8. The 3.0 are underpowered dogs.
    BMW Level 1 Master Technician

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Australia
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    2
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    X5 e53 3.0 Diesel
    Quote Originally Posted by tankbuster View Post
    Thanks for all the replies. Also agree that the diesel with more torque would be a better tower but the reality was all the X5's we looked at had over 100k in are price range and after reading many BMW forums and talking to are BMW indy shop mechanic that the BMW x5 diesel after 100k was going to be a maintenance nightmare with all the EPA crap going bad so we decided to get the 3.0 6 cylinder and did find a nice 2009 E70 3.0 sport. Even talked about getting a X5 diesel and having DPF delete and freed from all the EPA crap but it was way too expensive for this option.
    The e53 doesnt have a DPF and is a solid investment, have another look.😁

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Atlanta, GA
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    2017 Ram 2500d
    Quote Originally Posted by Acidgreeny View Post
    The e53 doesnt have a DPF and is a solid investment, have another look.
    The E53 wasn't available as a diesel in the US. Not sure where the original poster was from. I always assume the US, but I've been wrong before.

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    BMW Level 1 Master Technician

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=White94RX;29978404]The E53 wasn't available as a diesel in the US. Not sure where the original poster was from. I always assume the US, but I've been wrong before.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk[/QUOTE

    We live in Tennessee and last month we did buy a very nice 2009 X5 e70 so what would be a safe camping trailer weight to stay around that the 3.0 could tow ok? Aiming in the 2500 to 3000 light weight trailer range and hoping it will pull this OK.

  12. #12
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    You should be okay in that weight range. The main issue is the lack or torque from the 3.0, and the additional strain on the transmission. You're gonna feel the extra weight of it, compared to towing with a V8 or a diesel.

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    BMW Level 1 Master Technician

  13. #13
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    1998 Z3 1.9, Jetta TDI,
    Quote Originally Posted by White94RX View Post
    You should be okay in that weight range. The main issue is the lack or torque from the 3.0, and the additional strain on the transmission. You're gonna feel the extra weight of it, compared to towing with a V8 or a diesel.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk


    Makes you wonder why the X5 3.0i has a tow rating of 6000 pounds. The wife is a little disappointed when I told her the original 4200 pound camping trailer we had in mind is going to be to heavy for us to tow, so we are looking in a much smaller range now.

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