[VIDEO] BMW X5 Goes Off-Road in Moab with 40″ Tires & Axles

While BMW refrains from venturing into the lucrative off-road market, admiring Mercedes’s prosperous G-Class, enthusiasts have chosen a different path—crafting their Bavarian-rooted off-road SUVs. Notably, BMW’s luxury SUVs follow a unibody design, while the iconic G-Class has stuck to a body-on-frame platform since its inception.

ECS Tuning took on the challenge of transforming a first-generation X5 for this year’s SEMA event, resulting in the remarkable ULTRA X5. While the exterior retains the E53 body, virtually every other aspect has undergone extensive modifications. Notably, it now boasts robust solid axles and oversized 40-inch tires, alongside an LS engine swap paired with a General Motors six-speed automatic transmission. The BMW identity has been significantly reshaped in this impressive makeover.

With an X5 boasting greater suspension travel, this extraordinary build incorporates Bilstein shocks, off-road lights, and a rugged platform roof rack. While BMW’s initial SUV design didn’t prioritize off-roading, this E53 can more than conquer challenging terrain thanks to its elevated ride height and robust solid axles, providing superior traction and articulation compared to an independent suspension.

The availability of readily accessible off-road components allows even a high-end, road-focused SUV like the X5 to transform into an off-road capable machine with a touch of creativity. While dedicated off-roaders like the Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco, or Toyota Land Cruiser might be the practical choice, ECS Tuning aimed to add excitement by enhancing a luxury brand’s unibody SUV.

The extensively modified E53 showcased exceptional performance on the demanding Moab backcountry trails, although it’s likely that some BMW enthusiasts consider this custom build to be unconventional. While the iconic roundel has adorned numerous overlanding vehicles, this particular one stands out for the significant hardware alterations it has undergone, making it one of the more controversial creations in this category.

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