BMW has reserved the “is” badge for sporting models that didn’t quite make it all the way to being M-worthy. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice X5 is just such a car. Let’s see what the fuss “is” all about.
While it may have long been established that the consideration of aesthetic beauty is subjective and open to individual decree, the styling of yesterday’s 2010 Honda Crosstour found itself almost universally panned. I didn’t come across a single comment that argued in defense of what the majority of you seemed to find as an ungainly and inelegant design. That opinion extended to the Honda’s $9,800 asking price as well, which fell in an 83 percent No Dice loss as a result.
If yesterday’s Honda was a pretend crossover that was lamentably fugly, today’s 2003 BMW X5 4.6is could be considered the popular category’s apex predator.
The E53 X5 was the first SUV to be produced by BMW and came about after the company’s purchase of Land Rover, which exposed it to the dramatic financial potential upscale off-roaders can provide. The initial X was built alongside other models at both the Spartanburg, South Carolina and Toluca Mexico plants with a choice of six or eight-cylinder power. You could call the standard X5 capable, but when thrown into the ring with the contemporary Mercedes-Benz ML55 AMG, it didn’t have the reach. Enter this model, the 4.6is, to do battle with the AMG-ized Benz.
As the name implies, this X5 gets 4.6 liters of displacement doing nervous things under the hood. That’s a bored and stroked version of the DOHC M62 V8 found in lesser editions. With a little wand-waving by contracted tuner Alpina, the bigger mill upped the ante to 340 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. That’s matched to a five-speed automatic and BMW’s all-the-time all-wheel-drive system. Those driven wheels, by the way, are massive 20-inch alloys with equally impressive low-profile meats wrapped around them. They frame enormous and very capable multi-pot disc brakes on each corner. Performance on these models — both going and stopping — is stunning. That’s especially so when you consider that it’s two and a half tons of truck that you’re dancing with.
You could get your 4.6is in any color you wanted just as long as that color was either Imola Red, Estoril Blue, Titanium Silver, or Black. This one sports an Imola coat, which makes it stand out all the more. Add to that all the is-specific winglets, flares, and tailpipes big enough to stick a fist in and you know this isn’t your everyday X5. The seller claims the truck to be in great condition “for an 18-year-old SUV,” and considers it to be a future classic.
Over the course of that 18-year life, the truck has only managed to rack up a mere 80,000 miles. It’s also had four owners and, according to the present owner, a lot of maintenance and massaging to bring it to its present, sorted state. Much of that work is listed in the ad, along with a bit of the truck’s history, at least all that the current owner knows. It certainly looks good.
There are no obvious issues with either bodywork or trim and the wheels look to be free of scaring from curb encounters. The interior too seems to have been kept relatively tidy with the only possible complaints being some minor wear on the seat bolsters and a few dropped pixels on the instrument cluster. The red trim on the dash and console is unique and possibly not of broad appeal, but if you dig it, then it’s at least in good nick.
Issues noted in the ad include a faulty front parking sensor and what the present owner considers a poor quality respray on the back bumper. That’s attributed to an attempt to fix a failing top coat and not an accident repair. The truck’s title is clear and while originally sold in Texas, it now calls Colorado home.
The price tag is $15,500 and the seller attempts to rationalize that by claiming anything cheaper would not be anywhere near as nicely sorted, will have many more miles, and will have “one foot in the wrecking yard.” That may be true, but we’ll still need to be judge and jury on that price. What do you think, is this hot X5 worth that $15,500 asking as it sits? Or, does that price have you thinking about BMWs with actual M badges on them?
H/T to Chris Kelly for the hookup!
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