- The Washington Times - Friday, March 22, 2002

BMW expands its already impressive X5 lineup of SAVs (sport activity vehicles) with a new high-performance version: the X5 4.6is, featuring a larger-displacement and more powerful V-8 engine coupled to a specially programmed five-speed automatic transmission.

Sport suspension is standard, as are 20-inch wheels and tires, and uniquely distinctive exterior styling elements complemented by special trim and upholstery inside.

In fact, the standard equipment and feature list is so extensive, that optional extras are few indeed.

The superperformance X5 4.6is is priced at $66,845 with destination and handling included. The original 4.4i V-8 X5 is priced at $50,045 and the entry-level 3.0i six-cylinder model X5 rings up $39,545 at the register something for everyone.

All three X5s combine the sought-after features of more traditional SUVs with the not-so-traditional levels of safety technology, athletic design cues and performance attributes that have come to be associated with BMW. The X5 truly lives up to the sophistication, road manners, luxury and quality of the renowned German moniker.

All X5 models are built at BMW's recently expanded factory in Spartanburg, S.C., for both domestic and export markets. New features that are common to all X5s include: an automatic headlight control; an in-dash single-disc CD player with cassette player; a four-way power lumbar support with sport seats; and new power-adjustable rear-seat backrests (part of 3.0i and 4.4i Premium Packages, and standard on 4.6is models).

Power ranges from the 3.0i's 225 horsepower and 214 pounds-feet of torque to the 4.6is that pumps out 340 horses and 350 pounds-feet of torque. The 4.6is sports a special aerodynamic ground-effects kit the front bumper/spoiler incorporates multiple functional air intakes with "wind splitters" at the outboard edges, while the rear bumper uses an air diffuser with similar "wind splitters" at each end as well.

The X5 4.6is is available in two exclusive BMW colors Imola Red and Estoril Blue.

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