View Full Version : X5 Diesel as daily driver and towing monster?

03-19-2017, 09:09 AM
I am planning to buy my next SUV either later this year or early next year and am considering an X5 Diesel. I've read conflicting feedback from owners about it's towing capabilities. While it's rated by BMW at 6,000 pounds I would think it can tow much more given the amount of torque it produces; 2013 X5 Diesel produces 425 Lbs vs. 417 from a 2013 Cadillac Escalade which is rated to tow ~8,500 pounds.

I would be towing my 2012 e92 M3 with an open trailer for now but might use an enclosed trailer in the future, which could drive the combined weight to more than 6,000 pounds.

Any advice or experience is appreciated.


04-09-2017, 08:08 AM
Raw torque numbers do not solely define how a vehicle will tow.

Now, I will introduce myself so you can know that I know a few things about towing, sometimes.

I have a current CDL A license, as I am a heavy truck and equipment mechanic (currently running a shop so not really a mechanic anymore), I have driven a few class 8 (80,0000lbs capable) setups that have had trailers, I have personally spent many hours behind the wheel of HD pickups with cars in tow, and have a personal affliction where I love HD pickups (though this love has been strained in the past 5 years by the HUGE inflation of prices in the market, I liked heavy trucks before anyone cared about them)

My Vehicles
I currently own a 2011 BMW X5 xDrive50i, that features the 4.4L twin turbo BMW V8, it makes 400hp, and 450lbs ft of torque. My preferred vehicle to tow with is my 1984 Ford F250, it has a 6.9 liter diesel, I have installed a non inter-cooled non waste-gated (I have disconnected the OEM one) single turbo, that makes 10lbs of boost +-2, and when towing will occasionally flash to 12-13lbs. This is an extended cab long bed 2wd truck, it runs 16" wheels with E rated tires.

What I have towed with this particular truck and how far plus other tow stories
I have put my 7.5foot long toolbox in the back of the bed, and that weighs, if I had to guess, somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000lbs
I have pulled many cars with this, most notably my 300zx to someone I had sold the car to in Tennessee.
The heaviest load I have ever pulled was and always will be my wife's 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee limited with a hemi V8 that truck weighs 5,000lbs, I hauled it with a steel surge brake U-haul trailer, and they typically weigh around 2000lbs. It pulled it great, like everything else it has ever pulled, she is awesome

Compare and Contrast
A 2017 Cadillac Escalade has a 116" wheelbase and weighs 5780 lbs, with an overall length of 203.9"
A 2011 BMW X5 xDrive50i has wheel base of 115.5" and weighs 5379 lbs with an overall length of 191.9"

An Escalade is only rated to tow 8500lbs with 2wd, when you option the AWD/4WD, like 89% of the world who buys these trucks will, the tow ratting drops to 8100lbs. The reason why this is rated that way, is you have a body on frame truck, with big beefy springs, big beefy suspension. You don't noticed the big beefiesness because the Escalade sits higher, so those big beefy components have a longer travel and it does not adversely take away from the ride quality. the x5, though quite capable, is a unibody construction. These uni bodies can be strong, but in the case of BMW is based off of a car. This means they have relatively beefy components, but they are more towards car components then truck, so you lose a little weight carrying capacity, and gain a sports car like drive.

Also, I don't think you understand how much girth an 8,000lb load is, I would not, under any circumstance tow that with an x5. 8,000lbs is also near the limit of off the hitch loads. Typically once you jump into the 9k and above range, your trailer to tow said load turns into a gooseneck or 5th wheel.

So to summarize, no, I would not tow beyond 6,000lbs, yes your load of a 3 series will be fine for an X5, that car with a typical 2,000lb car trailer will put you right at 5k +- a few, and any x5, even the 6 cylinder, should be fine to tow that. Don't get snobby on the power, I once towed a Camaro with a early 80s Chevrolet Silverado with a v6, that probably made a worn out 100hp. People these days just want to haul everything at 80mph, but sometimes slow and steady gets the job done with no fuss, see my F250 above.

p.s. I think we spoke at the Aktiv DIY meet about this?

04-09-2017, 09:32 AM
Thanks Joey, this is really helpful. I didn't go to that DIY event so it wasn't me that you spoke with but thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic.

Aesthetically, I like the older (2011/2012) model Escalade and I'm a sucker for big engines, hence one of the reasons that I love my e92 M3. My car is right around 3,400 pounds so with an open trailer, I should be under 6,000 pounds. When I do get around to towing an enclosed trailer (no immediate plans to get one), I will probably exceed 6,000 pounds at which point neither the Escalade or the X5 would be sufficient. But that's a road I don't foresee myself having to cross or quite some time so for now, I jus need to be able to tow my car and an open trailer.

I also like the Mercedes GL550 (hope I don't get kicked out of the car club for saying this); beautiful truck with a towing capacity of 7,000 pounds. So this is another option I'm considering but I still have the rest of this year to do some more research. For the coming season, I'm going to rent from Enterprise Truck Rental Service. It's the cheapest and easiest short term solution and they have plenty of full size pickups that can do the job.

04-14-2017, 01:36 PM
UHaul rents trucks to. Buddy of mine rented a Ram 1500 with a hemi from them. to pull a 5.9 limited. Its funny you aren't the guy, a gentlemen at the DIY had the same kind of idea. I think he had an older M3 though, I believe an e36, I saw M3 and thought you 2 where the same. If I ever get around to getting a hitch, your welcome to see how mine pulls a load.

04-16-2017, 09:15 AM
Thanks, I'll check with uHaul as well. Would love to check out your setup once you have it ready. A good friend who also happens to be a BMW tech said that the V6 X5 wouldn't have any issues in terms of engine capability but he's not sure if how happy the transmission would be towing a vehicle, particularly over long distances. After all of the modification shopping I did in the offseason, I certainly will not be buying a new truck this year but next year would be a possibility.

04-19-2017, 03:37 PM
He may know better then me, but it would depend on the spec the ZF8 is built to. I know they can be built to handle over 900lbs ft of torque. If you were really concerned about the transmission you could just shove a big auxiliary transmission cooler on the 'truck' and keep it moving (think B&M 24,000lbs cooler). I think you would be Ok with that, they shift quite crisp, and people forget that about a decade ago, transmissions were kind of hit and miss. They have come a long way, as cars and trucks move more towards being like toasters and refrigerators in peoples minds, as they lose the passion.

04-19-2017, 03:39 PM
p.s. since your in potomac, do you know the guy with the e92 that has a bay plate that read "subzero" its a blue car, with some carbon bits. I think he may work at the giant off shady grove road?

04-20-2017, 05:47 AM
I do not know him or have seen that car but it sounds cool. I organize informal social events with some of the guys in the car club and would be happy to invite yourself or other folks (like him) if you are interested in joining us.

These events allow us to speak freely about all of the money we have wasted, errrr I mean invested in our cars without getting in trouble with our wives :)

Our next one is "Cars, Beer and Mexican Food" on 4/28 at El Tio Grill in Falls Church.

04-23-2017, 01:15 PM
what time is that?

04-27-2017, 11:35 AM
We will get there around 5:30.

If you need to get a hold of me, my cell number is: 703-625-6918.


04-30-2017, 07:57 AM
I missed it. Friday I went to bed early, long day. Thanks for the invite.

05-01-2017, 09:48 AM
You're welcome, I'll let you know when the next one is.