It’s no surprise that BMW has been a leading luxury car brand since soon after it’s inception in 1917. A latecomer to the SUV market, BMW released its first X5 SUV in the year 2000 followed by the X3 in 2003. Now in 2006, there are a great number of options and features to choose from in a used BMW SUV. With such a broad range of choices, choosing the perfect SUV can seem a bit overwhelming. In this article, we’ll take a look at the year to year variations in the X5 and the X3 BMW SUVs.

The 2000 X5:
The 2000 model BMW SUV is the earliest year model you’ll find for any used BMW SUV. The first release of the X5 was an 8 cylinder model (4.4i), but if you’re looking for lower price, all years of the BMW SUV also come in a 6 cylinder version (3.0i.) Among the many common features that you’ll find on every X5 used BMW SUV some of the most prominent are an anti-skid system, 4 wheel drive, traction control, a hill decent control feature, and front side impact air bags.

The 2001 X5:
You’ll find no differences between the 2000 X5 SUV and the 2001. However, you may find feature variations within these 2 years due to the presence or absence of optional features such as head protecting tubular air bags located above the front door windows, rear lower body side air bags, and a super-slick luxury option for the 6 cylinder with 18 inch tires, leather seats, and elegant wood trim.

The 2002 X5:
As seems to be the trend with many new models, the 3rd year of production is where the X5 saw the most changes. When shopping the 2002 BMW SUV models, you’ll find yet another 8 cylinder SUV; the 4.6is with 20 “wheels as opposed to 19”, a more robust engine, and more stylish interior. Sun-lovers will enjoy the fact that both the 6 cylinder 3.0i and 8 cylinder 4.4i model of this used BMW SUV come with a Panorama glass sunroof.

The 2003 X5:
The 2003 is identical to the 2002 year model.

The 2004 X5:
The 2004 offers a fresh new styling with new taillights, a redesigned front end, and a new wheel style. The 2004 used BMW SUV sports upgrades under the hood as well with the 6-speed “x drive” for both manual and automatic transmission models. The 2004 SUV turns up the luxury factor a notch also with rain sensing wipers, a power passenger seat, and an optional heated rear seats.

The 2005 X5:
If you love those optional luxury features but have been having a hard time finding them in other year models, you’re likely to find them in the 2005 model. Instead of creating new features in 2005, BMW decided to make many of the optional features standard on the 8 cylinder 4.4i model. You’ll find features such as front and rear obstacle detection and Xenon headlights are standard on the 2005 4.4i used BMW SUV, but still optional on the 6 cylinder 3.1i.

The 2003 – 2005 X3:
In 2003, BMW introduced the X3, designed to compete with the smaller luxury SUV’s on the market like the Lexus RX. The main difference between the X5 and the X3 is that the X3 is smaller; referred to by BMW as a “compact luxury crossover SUV” or a “Sports Activity Vehicle.” The X3 is built upon the 3-Series car platform and truly is a beefed up version of the beloved 3-Series BMW with all of its class and styling designed for drivers in the new millennium.

The 2005 X3:
Whenever a new model is released, there are always some kinks to smooth out in the design or engineering. For the X3, the complaint seemed to focus on the X3’s rough ride, which was rectified in 2005. Earlier models had mismatched interior plastics and carpeting – another issue addressed in 2005. Other changes you’ll find with the X3 2005 BMW SUV are one-piece front wheel fenders, and an “open door” indicator.

The 2006 X3:
The 2006 X3 model offered no significant changes over the 2005 – apparently the 2005 changes were enough to keep critics and buyers smiling. This 2006 X3 used SUV won both the Intellichoice Best in Class awards for highest retained value and for lowest maintenance.

The year or model of BMW SUV you choice will be as individual as you are. Any used BMW SUV is a smart option when it comes to value, prestige, and satisfaction of ownership. The greatest benefit of buying a used SUV or luxury vehicle is having the opportunity to read consumer reviews, to review crash test reports, and to see the progression of a new model over the course of several years before choosing the one that fits your lifestyle as well as your price range.

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