The BMW X5 is a luxury crossover SUV introduced in 1999 as the first generation E53. It was BMW's first SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) also known as "Four-by-Four" (4x4) in the UK. It features all-wheel drive which is branded as the "X" drive system and is available with either manual or automatic transmission. The second generation X5, known as the E70, was launched in 2006, with the first M version announced in 2009.
BMW describes the X5 as a Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV) rather than an SUV, to emphasize its on-road ability despite its size. Like the Lexus RX 300 and Mercedes M-Class, the X5 heralded the shift from light truck-based body-on-frame SUVs to crossovers underpinned by unibody car platforms that would come to fruition in the late 2000s.
X5s are manufactured in Greer, South Carolina at the Spartanburg BMW plant and in Mexico at the BMW de México Toluca plant. Since July 2009, some assembly operations are also performed in Kaliningrad, Russia by Avtotor.
In 2003, BMW launched the smaller X3, which uses the "X" prefix for the 4 wheel drive system or BMW "X" drive system and the BMW SAVs which were derivatives of the BMW number-series models.
On August 31 2011 the fuel filter heater of 2,120 units, was recalled due to a defect that can cause fire and battery drainage, even while the vehicle is non operational