BMW X5 tyres
The BMW X5 may be a big vehicle but it is possibly the most car-like large SUV to drive. It has a huge engine and feels as if it rides on passenger car-like suspension. Indeed when it was launched back in 1999 no similar vehicle was available. Its immediate popularity helped the X5 to define the SUV market, one which now includes similar models from a large number of marques. Its car-like qualities extend to its reliability (as you’d expect from a BMW) and its economy. Even though most models weigh two tonnes and feature both four-wheel-drive and an automatic transmission, they are surprisingly good in terms of miles per gallon.
As with most modern BMW models, the X5 features run-flat tyres. It does not come with a spare wheel but an emergency repair kit is provided in its place. Since its front and rear tyres of different sizes, a full size spare would not be a practical option, quite apart from the large amount of space it would take up in the car’s boot. Additionally, being such a tall and heavy vehicle, the X5 would be impossible and unsafe to drive on a slim space saver spare wheel.
Another consequence of the sheer width of the tyres needed by an X5 is that the car won’t grip particularly well on snow or ice, even with its all-wheel drive. The sheer surface area of an X5’s tyre – they are approximately a foot wide – means that even on a car this heavy, the wheels won’t bite into the snow effectively. In contrast, the narrower tyre of a normal car will have better traction. In a skid on snow, the lack of grip will be compounded by sideways momentum of the sheer bulk of an X5. As such, both BMW and etyres recommend the fitting of specialist winter tyres in the colder months when the British weather can be at its worst.
When fitted with the right tyres, the X5 offers surprisingly high levels of grip. This roadholding, even when cornering at high speeds, is a key part of the enjoyment and safety of driving an X5. Needless to say, this grip is easily compromised by worn or damaged tyres. BMW’s approved and original equipment tyres will offer the high levels of grip which the X5 demands. These include Dunlop’s SportMaxx tyres, Pirelli’s P Zero range and Continental’s CrossContact tyres, all available from etyres.
All three offer the durability you’d expect from tyres from a premium manufacturer as well as the high levels of performance needed to support the X5. They may not be the cheapest tyres on the rack but in contrast, a less durable or lower-grade tyre will usually prove a false economy. We’d always advise sticking with the tried and tested approved tyres. It’s also worth noting that since an X5’s wheel size is so large, not every tyre manufacturer will offer a model which will fit it, so the choice of alternatives is limited.
It’s often recommended that all four tyres on a 4×4 vehicle should be changed at the same time. This is sound advice if all tyres are worn but can be an incredibly costly exercise if three tyres are in good condition and only one is damaged, rather than worn. A modicum of common sense is required! However, it’s best not to let the tyres of an X5 wear too far. Quite apart from any performance or safety issue, this car features a very sensitive four-wheel drive system which will suffer if any one tyre is worn even slightly more than the other three.