Now that I’ve been doing these Junkyard Finds for 13 years and having just written my annual 10 Best Junkyard Cars post, I’m taking a look back to see what historically significant vehicles I’ve neglected as I pursue weird examples of badge engineering and trivia–question AWD versions. I’ve been working on filling in the blanks with junked BMW 3 and 5 Series cars lately, along with 21st–century econoboxes, and now I will be trying to shoot more German luxury SUVs.
We’ll start off with this clean-looking ’02 X5, which I found in a yard just south of Denver.
After the runaway success of the Ford Explorer, followed during the 1990s by ever-larger trucks and truck-influenced vehicles to be used as suburban commute appliances, the facts became clear to the European car manufacturers: build SUVs or watch your sales in North America go to hell. So, the E39 5 Series got a thousand-pound hat and a bunch of Land Rover hardware, and the first X5s showed up in showrooms for the 2000 model year.
It was tall, it was comfortable, it was American-built, it drove more like a car than a truck, and the interior boasted plenty of soft bovine flesh. X5 sales went well.
This one is the 4.4i version, with 282-horsepower M62 V8 engine. With a curb weight of 4,960 pounds, every one of those horses helped.
Unlike its 5 Series sibling/cousin, the V8 X5 had no manual-transmission option in 2002. Instead, you got a six-speed automatic.
The base price of this high-tech machine came to $59,695, or about $86,600 in 2020 dollars. You’d think that such a high-zoot vehicle would get white-glove care and last for decades, but many third-through-ninth owners of costly European cars don’t keep up with maintenance, and the junkyard gets a phone call when a $1,200 repair becomes necessary. That’s why I see so many not-so-old A8s and 7-Series and S-Classes and Jaguars in the graveyard.
I’m going to guess that the towing package was an uncommon option on the first-gen X5.
Dedicated storage for audio CDs seems so old-fashioned now.
Just the thing to drive to the ski resort.