BMW, the ultimate towing machine! Not familiar? Perhaps not. Bavaria’s famed automaker is better known for Hoffmeister kinks and persnickety gearboxes than for stump-pulling proficiency. So you might be surprised to learn that not only do BMW SUVs tow, they do it quite well.
Vehicle dynamics have long been the forte of the blue-and-white brand, and while you’re predisposed to think of dynamics as the way your M3 rotates when you chuck it into a 90-degree right, it’s the very same set of principles that informs the way your X5 behaves when pulling the family motorcraft. Naturally, BMW has taken all they know about building surefooted, smooth-riding cars and translated it into confident, capable towing machines.
Boating magazine recently published a review of the BMW X5 as a tow/haul vehicle. It received numerous compliments, not only for its capable towing, but also for offering boat owners a driving experience that is noticeably more comfortable than that of a domestic-market pickup. While diesel Fords, Chevys and Dodges have added semi-truck levels of torque to their outputs, the BMW’s powerful V8 and robust suspension package make it a worthy competitor for all but the largest oceangoing boats with its 6,000-pound tow rating and 4,000-pound payload capacity.
Smaller oceangoing craft and riverboats should be no problem for the burly X5, which you can also have in diesel flavor with a wonderful compression-ignition powerplant that delivers a hearty 413 foot-pounds of torque, sure to make your trailer feel feathery on the highway. All X5s enjoy 15.2-inch front and 13.6-inch rear ventilated disc brakes in a testament to what a serious towing machine this is. Lots of vehicles offer the power output needed to pull a trailer, but making it safe and controlled to slow all that moving mass is what separates the ultimate driving machine from its lesser competition.
Don’t Forget About Little Sister
You’ll find the same exceptional road manners that make the X5 a capable tow vehicle in the more affordable, more compact X3 for city-going outdoor aficionados and anyone with an active lifestyle. Even in four-cylinder guise, the Twinpower four-cylinder on the base model X3 develops 258 foot-pounds of torque, enough to enable a payload capacity of nearly 1,000 pounds and the ability to tow 4,400 pounds. That’s plenty to haul your small trailer or camper or a pair of watercraft or snowmobiles. It’s the perfect solution for nearly all those who want the ability to tow, but won’t rely on their BMW strictly for towing, and can appreciate the versatility of a crossover.
Plus, You Still Get a BMW!
Seldom do you hear anyone heaping praise onto the full-sized pickup segment for being nimble, responsive backroads dancers with supportive seats and well-placed controls. That’s more a BMW thing. While these cars are capable tow vehicles, they’re also very much BMWs. You’ll enjoy every day of ownership with your tow-package-equipped Bimmer, not just the ones where you visit the lake or pull a trailer.
Consider how often you need to tow. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a vehicle that can comfortably perform the role of tow vehicle while at the same time swaddling you in luxury and offering class-leading performance that makes it a joy to drive? That is precisely what we have in the X line of SUVs. BMW has found success with the suburban market already, but these cars have gone underappreciated as thoroughbreds for some time. The secret’s out now, so don’t be surprised if one of your Ford- or Dodge-driving pals asks you next time they see you, “Can I take your X5 for a spin?”