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X5 xdrive35i for towing?

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Old 01-17-2017, 03:26 PM   #1
Shandingo
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Default X5 xdrive35i for towing?

I am considering buying a 2017 X5 xdrive 35i for general use as a family and communter car, but would like to be able to also use it to occasionally tow my GT4 to the race track. Just looking for opinions as to whether it will be adequate for towing an open trailer with the GT4 on it. The specific car I am looking at does not have the air suspension option, and getting a car with that option would be difficult and costly for certain reasons that I do not want to get into here. I am not considering the V8 due to the higher cost of that model.

I am also interested in advice on setting up the X5 with a hitch, brake controller, etc. This would be my first foray into towing a trailer, so assume I know very little about the subject. I have been told that the X5 has a 6,000 lbs towing capacity, but have not seen any figures published by BMW. In addition, I have not been very successful at finding any real world opinions as to whether the X5 makes an adequate towing rig (for occasional use), even if the max towing capacity is in fact 6,000 lbs.

Thanks for your help.

Last edited by Shandingo; 01-17-2017 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 01-17-2017, 05:59 PM   #2
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I can't speak to the 35i, but we have an E70 35d that I've done some towing with. I had a small enclosed trailer for my motorcycles, and I towed my M3 back on a UHaul trailer when I purchased it. That particular trip put me right up against the 6000lbs limit, and the X5 handled it just fine. I think they're great for what you're looking to accomplish, but the one thing that worries me long term is transmission reliability...I don't have much to back that up with, but I just felt like I was putting a lot of strain on the tranny, especially with the enclosed I was towing.

I think you'd be fine for occasional trips with a light open trailer and a ~3,000lbs car. BMW makes a hitch and there are one or two aftermarket options. You'll need the BMW wiring harness, and will need the car coded to recognize the harness. I never had a brake controller setup (which makes that one trip towing the M3 seem pretty stupid...), but your best bet is a Prodigy wireless setup.

There are lots of X5's in the paddock at HPDE's, so a lot of others have made the same choice your considering.
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Old 01-18-2017, 12:24 AM   #3
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I had a 2012 X5 3.5i. Towed my GT3 on a featherlite open trailer very well.

I now have a 2015 x5 3.5d which does a little better up hills and on startup.Also gets better mileage.

I'd say that the x5 3.5i did just fine. Note, I have the third row seat in both so had the self leveling suspension (which is IMO a very important to maintain stability towing). I also used the BMW factory hitch on the 2012 and The invisihitch on the 2015. Both wired with the BMW harness to interface with the stability management. I use the BMW brake controller (Prodigy?) with the wire coiled up in the rear right compartment near the fuse panel when not in use. Fits ito the cupholder when in use.

Did both hitch and wiring installs myself. The 2012 had to be reprogrammed by the dealer. The 2015 recognized the harness and did not need reprogramming.
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Old 01-18-2017, 12:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by lmnsblu355 View Post

I'd say that the x5 3.5i did just fine. Note, I have the third row seat in both so had the self leveling suspension (which is IMO a very important to maintain stability towing).
This. The self leveling feature on a towing vehicle makes a big difference. It's either a $900 or $1500 dollar option, right? Without this you really should get a sway control set up, pain in this a**


You also want a review view camera, unless you will always have someone with you when connecting the trailer.
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Old 01-18-2017, 12:37 PM   #5
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This. The self leveling feature on a towing vehicle makes a big difference. It's either a $900 or $1500 dollar option, right? Without this you really should get a sway control set up, pain in this a**


You also want a review view camera, unless you will always have someone with you when connecting the trailer.
Thank you for these comments. Unfortunately, I am not able to buy the car with the self-leveling suspension. Is that something that can be retrofitted to a car that does not have it? What does the sway control setup do and why is it a pain?
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:38 PM   #6
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I tow with a 2015 X5 35D without self leveling suspension and I tow with an open steel trailer and my 135 about 5 times last year roughly 300 miles each trip. I had no problems with it and total weight with tools, fuel jugs, etc was around 5000 pounds. I have the etrailer hitch for the X5 rated to 6000 lbs, the wiring harness from BMW and it did not need coding and I also have the Prodigy RF wireless brake controller that worked really well. Gas mileage was around 21 22 mpg and I could cruise comfortably on the highway, up hills and even do some overtaking with the slower moving traffic. It was also my first time ever towing last year and did the install and setup on my own.
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:51 PM   #7
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I tow with a 2015 X5 35D without self leveling suspension and I tow with an open steel trailer and my 135 about 5 times last year roughly 300 miles each trip. I had no problems with it and total weight with tools, fuel jugs, etc was around 5000 pounds. I have the etrailer hitch for the X5 rated to 6000 lbs, the wiring harness from BMW and it did not need coding and I also have the Prodigy RF wireless brake controller that worked really well. Gas mileage was around 21 22 mpg and I could cruise comfortably on the highway, up hills and even do some overtaking with the slower moving traffic. It was also my first time ever towing last year and did the install and setup on my own.
You have no idea how much better that makes me feel. Thank you. I purchased the X5 last night from the dealer's inventory and thought I had made a mistake not order one with the self-leveling suspension. I got a great deal on the one I bought, and it would have been more expensive to order one to my own specs (significantly more than the cost of any additional options). I was feeling pretty anxious about my decision this morning, but seeing your post has given me some confidence that my decision was not too bad after all. If you would not mind sharing more info on the brake controller, wiring harness and hitch that you installed, that would be great. I really have no experience towing, so any info would be great. Btw, I assume that the base suspension on your X5 diesel and my non-diesel Xdrive 35i is the same, but if you think that is not right, please let me know.
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Old 01-18-2017, 09:35 PM   #8
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I am glad my first post ease some of your anxiety lol I had a lot of anxiety the first time towing but I did my research and took it slow and easy. I just made sure to leave late the first day at night so traffic was minimal.

The hitch that I purchased is from draw tite, just go to etrailerdotcom and look up for the X5 and you will see it.

Brake controller is from the same website and it is the Tekonsha Prodigy RF wireless brake controller...really recommend as others have because it is so easy to use and install.

Wiring harness you can get from getbmwpartsdotcom under F15 X5, you will need the trailer harness and the control module...pricey but this is the only way to get the trailer brakes integrated with the car.

Base suspension should be the same its just a spring and damper instead of air ride in the rear.
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Old 01-18-2017, 11:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tzanido View Post
I am glad my first post ease some of your anxiety lol I had a lot of anxiety the first time towing but I did my research and took it slow and easy. I just made sure to leave late the first day at night so traffic was minimal.

The hitch that I purchased is from draw tite, just go to etrailerdotcom and look up for the X5 and you will see it.

Brake controller is from the same website and it is the Tekonsha Prodigy RF wireless brake controller...really recommend as others have because it is so easy to use and install.

Wiring harness you can get from getbmwpartsdotcom under F15 X5, you will need the trailer harness and the control module...pricey but this is the only way to get the trailer brakes integrated with the car.

Base suspension should be the same its just a spring and damper instead of air ride in the rear.
Thank you again for this. Very helpful.
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Old 01-21-2017, 02:11 AM   #10
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My E70 X5M was a great do everything vehicle, and it even ended up saving my life in an accident. With the OEM hitch, I pulled a trailex open trailer for a couple thousand miles. Plenty of power, plenty of brakes, and good stability with the max tongue load. F85 is about the same. I have the OEM hitch again, and now pulling an enclosed trailex with the RF controller mentioned above. The new OEM hitch is silly (as are all the aftermarket units). I don't understand why people are so concerned with how a damn hitch looks, but enough were so BMW designed their new unit to be hidden and use modules that plug in with different fixed attachments. It seems solid, but waaaaaaaaay too complicated and prone to user failure, and "imagined" mechanical failure, so I'm continuously paranoid. Only advice I'd throw out there is that you can easily hook up a trailer winch to the X5. The battery is in the rear, and there is space to put the cable under the trunk floor.
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Old 01-23-2017, 12:27 PM   #11
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Check out Xoutpost (x5world) for X5 towing details, but under 6000lbs, with factory tow package, every gen of X5 has been more than capable. Some even do it with NA 6 cyl. V8 , desiel, or turbo 6 all have enough grunt for occasional towing and family SUV duty. Short distance from hitch ball to rear axel makes for good trailer control and proper ball weight setting from trailer balance is key.
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Old 01-23-2017, 01:42 PM   #12
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Thank you for the responses. Now that I am fairly comfortable that I have an adequate towing vehicle, I need to figure out a way to get access to a trailer. I do not want to park one in my driveway on a regular basis because I live in the city and my wife and neighbors would hate me. I think I am going to try to find someone who is interested in renting their trailer to me from time to time when they are not using it. Not sure if how likely that is, but storage options in my area are not great, so I am running out of ideas.
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Old 01-23-2017, 02:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shandingo View Post
Thank you for the responses. Now that I am fairly comfortable that I have an adequate towing vehicle, I need to figure out a way to get access to a trailer. I do not want to park one in my driveway on a regular basis because I live in the city and my wife and neighbors would hate me. I think I am going to try to find someone who is interested in renting their trailer to me from time to time when they are not using it. Not sure if how likely that is, but storage options in my area are not great, so I am running out of ideas.

Not sure if U-haul in your area has trailer rentals. Renting from an individual opens up a can of worms that you might have to accept; like if they go to the same event you want to go to, what happens on a tire or 2 blow out, what happens on theft or damage, who pays, etc.?
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Old 01-23-2017, 02:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shandingo View Post
Thank you for the responses. Now that I am fairly comfortable that I have an adequate towing vehicle, I need to figure out a way to get access to a trailer. I do not want to park one in my driveway on a regular basis because I live in the city and my wife and neighbors would hate me. I think I am going to try to find someone who is interested in renting their trailer to me from time to time when they are not using it. Not sure if how likely that is, but storage options in my area are not great, so I am running out of ideas.
I've never personally gone this route, but look into self-storage facilities in your area. They're as secure as you're going to get without the trailer being in your own garage, and many offer storage for trailers and RV's.

As mentioned above, UHaul would be another decent option. But renting from an individual seems like it come with all sorts of logistics and liability concerns.
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Old 01-23-2017, 03:55 PM   #15
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UHaul does rent trailers in my area, but they are significantly heavier than alluminum trailers and some of the features on the UHaul trailers do not sound great, like the trailer brakes and the need to attach safety chains to the underside of the vehicle being transported on the trailer. I think the trailer brakes on the UHaul are not modulated by the brake pedal in the tow vehicle, but rather work on some sort of passive basis.

That said, if anyone has tried towing a UHaul car trailer, I would be interested in any insight you have regarding that option.
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