BMW first debuted the E53 X5 back in 1999 as their first ever SAV, or Sports Activity Vehicle. Since the German automaker still owned Land Rover at the time, the X5 even got to use certain Range Rover off-road components, like the Hill Descent system.
Alas, 20 years have gone by and the X5 is now in its fourth generation, a far cry from the original in terms of tech. Still, in order to see how they compare, Redline Reviews took the latest X5 and placed it alongside a 2001 3.0i model.
If we go by design alone, it’s obvious that BMW have slowly but surely given up on boxier shapes. There are a lot of rounded off surfaces on the new G05 X5, and in contrast, the original model really shows its age.
Then there’s the size difference, where the E53 X5 is now actually slightly smaller than an X3. However, the E53 arguably still has a strong presence about it, looking rugged and very capable thanks to its generous ground clearance.
Inside, the E53 featured here came with an aftermarket infotainment system, but other than that, it had the same E39 5-Series sourced cabin that was so popular in the late 1990s-early 2000s.
In the end though, this reviewer did enjoy several things about the original X5, including the way it rides and the steering feel.