4 years later, the BMW X3 was released, which used the "X" prefix applied to the BMW SUVs which were derivatives of the BMW number-series models.
The history of the X5 begins in the late 1990s, when Chris Bangle drew the first sketches from his Designworks studio in California. In many ways, the current car closely resembles these initial sketches.
The takeover of Rover proved to be very beneficial for BMW in the development of the X5. BMW engineers were able to look at and use Range Rover technology and parts in the development of the X5 - one such example would be hill-descent control. In many respects, the design of the X5 was influenced by its British counterpart; for example, the X5 got the two-piece tailgate straight from the Range Rover. Many parts and electronics were also taken directly from the E39 5 Series parts bin to save costs.
In contrast to the Range Rover models, the X5 was designed as a sporting road car: its off-road capabilities are significantly less than those of Land Rover. BMW reportedly worked hard to ensure it was referred to as an SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) instead of an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle).
Even though the X5 was a four-wheel drive vehicle, BMW chose from the start to route 62% of the engine's torque to the rear wheels, making it feel as close as possible to the company's rear-wheel drive sedans. Many reviewers commented on its road and track "feeling" chiefly because this is essentially a jacked up 5-series with 4WD. As a result, its offroad prowess is limited to grass and gravel only. Because it's missing essential offroad components that upmarket SUVs like as the Porsche Cayenne and the Range Rover offer--such as a low-range case, locking differentials, 8-inch+ adjustable suspensions, and a waterproof intake just to name a few.
The X5, along with the BMW Z4 roadster, BMW X6, and soon BMW X3 are currently manufactured in BMW's South Carolina plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
A one-off version known as the X5 LM was equipped with the M70 S70B56 V12 engine from the Le Mans winning BMW V12 LMR. It was used by Hans Joachim Stuck to set a lap record at the Nürburgring in 2000.