2007–2013 BMW X5 (E70) 2nd Gen - Common Problems

Are you planning to buy a 2007–2013  BMW X5 and wondering which of the models might be the best choice? Codenamed E70, the 2nd generation of this popular SUV offers impressive performance and looks at an affordable price.  In this article, we will cover the most common issues with this model, helping you avoid buying an X5 with problems. 

About the car

Following the original X5, it was only logical for the new E70 to have a similar layout. The body lines of both cars are roughly the same, although the design of the new one is sleeker.

To make it different from X3, which was almost as big as the outgoing X5, the E70 grew in size. This generation was in production from 2007 to 2013 and received a mid-life, Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) update during 2010.  

The most notable changes were under the hood, as the E70 offered a wide range of new and updated engines. For a start, there were a couple of straight-six engines, one with a turbocharger and the other without it. More power and grunt were available with one of two V8 engines, which could be naturally aspirated or turbocharged.

A diesel engine was a popular choice in many markets, as it offered a balanced mixture of performance and economy. At the top of the range, this SUV shared a turbocharged V8 engine with M5. As with the previous car, all models come with an X-drive system that transfers power to all four wheels.

BMW X5 Common Problems 

Here is a list of common problems that affect many 2007–2013 BMW X5 vehicles. 

1. Broken Coolant Pumps

Naturally aspirated six-cylinder engines, designated as N52, are robust and reliable, although they have one potential weak spot. These engines use an electric coolant pump instead of a belt-driven one to increase efficiency and improve fuel efficiency.

This sophisticated assembly can fail and stop working without any prior warning signs, which causes the vehicle to overheat. Replacing the pump is not a difficult job, and it is best to only use an OEM one, despite its higher price.  

2. High-pressure Fuel Pump Issues 

Turbocharged six-cylinder engines, designated as N55, have an advanced fuel system that injects gasoline into the cylinder under very high pressure. This requires a potent and precise fuel pump, whose failure is a common issue on these engines.

The problem is premature wear within the pump itself, which causes fuel pressure drops and results in engine running issues, poor acceleration, limp mode, and check engine light coming on. Using high-quality fuel, which is cleaner and has a higher octane rating, can prevent this from happening. Before replacing the pump, contact your authorized BMW dealer to find out if any sort of Extended Goodwill warranty is available.    

3. Diesel timing chains

While the early E70 vehicles had the same diesel engine as the first generation, later ones switched to a new design. Designated as N57, this updated engine featured a fresh design with a timing chain assembly at its’ backside.

This makes the power train more compact, but it also requires the engine to be removed from the car when replacing the timing chain. Because of this, timing chain renewal is a difficult and time-consuming job, which results in high labor costs.    

4. Extreme Oil Consumption 

Among potential problems with naturally aspirated V8 engines, designated as N53, an issue with valve stem seals is the most common one. They become hard and brittle with time, allowing the oil from the cylinder head to enter the combustion chamber.

The most prominent symptom is a large puff of smoke coming from the exhaust when accelerating after idling for a while. Replacing the valve stem seals is a demanding job due to the sheer complexity of the cylinder head assembly.  

5. Failing fuel injectors

Turbocharged V8 engines, designated as N63, have several potential issues and can be a handful if the owner neglects them. Among them, failing fuel injectors are the most common ones, as they are susceptible to gasoline quality.

This causes various engine running issues, ranging from rough idle and stalling to loss of power and sluggish acceleration. Using premium quality fuel and avoiding short drives is the only way to prevent this from happening. 

6. Noisy Front Suspension

Unlike its predecessor, which used a traditional McPerson strut assembly, the E70 has a double-wishbone suspension in the front. This improves both handling and rides comfort, but it also adds to the complexity and increases the number of potential failure points.

Worn bushings and loose ball joints are the most common issues here, manifesting as various noises when going over bumps. When renewing damaged or worn components, it is best to replace them in pairs, as only this ensures lasting results. 

7. Failing Rear Leveling Suspension

Many of these vehicles have a rear air suspension, which keeps it at the same level regardless of the load. This is possible thanks to rubber bellows filled with compressed air, replacing traditional steel coil springs.

However, dirt and small rocks may rupture these rubber bellows, as they can form buildups between them and connecting steel components. A detailed wash of the rear suspension area regularly can prevent this from happening.  

8. iDrive glitches 

E70 was the first X5 to receive iDrive, which most other vehicles in the BMW range already used. In its early versions, this otherwise revolutionary setup suffered from sporadic glitches and functions that were less than intuitive.

However, BMW fixed most of these issues by constantly developing and upgrading their software. Ensuring the iDrive has the latest software version will ensure a smooth operation and the best possible performance.   

Reliability

If you want to buy a BMW X5, you are probably asking which BMW X5, E70 is best? 

Regardless of trim levels and engine choices, an X5 is a capable and sporty vehicle. If you want an X5 that is reliable and simple to repair, we recommend choosing the entry-level trim.

Naturally aspirated N52 engines in these vehicles are the most reliable and will run strong for ages if maintained properly. Other engine choices can be reliable if their owners ensure proper maintenance, but they have a certain level of added complexity, and repair bills can be higher.