BMW Unwraps a New X5

You don’t mess with success. So when you’re BMW and you have such a stellar sales performer as the X5 sport-ute, you don’r risk messing it up.

   Hence the 2014 X5, that hits showrooms late Fall, makes big strides in terms of technology and puts a sharper focus on being even more the ultimate driving SUV.

BMW - 2014 X5 - automotive review

   The one disappointment? It kinda looks just like the last one.

   Of course, to the trained eye there are huge visual changes. That broad-set kidney grille is considerably bigger, more upright and now extends all the way to the new headlights.

   And those trademark quad headlights, ringed by brighty-whitey LED accent rings, are now flatter along the bottom edge, and overlap at their top. Details, details.

   At the rear, again it’s a case of evolution rather than revolution, though the new giant, hockey-stick-shaped LED taillights are going to look like Vegas by night.

BMW 2014 X5 SUV - automotive review - luxury driving machine

   The real substance comes beneath that new, 200-pound skinnier body. For starters, this new X5 will be available, for the first time, with just rear-wheel drive. After years of touting the handling benefits of all- wheel-drive for a sporty SUV, they’re now giving enthusiasts what they want.

   But it’ll only be offered with one engine choice – the base 3.0-liter 300 horsepower twin-turbo in-line six-cylinder that’s coupled to a new eight-speed automatic.

   For V8 lovers, there’s still the choice of the much-loved 4.4-liter twin- turbo which continues to crank out a feisty 445 horseys and muscular 480 lb-ft of torque. And all-wheel-drive is the only option here.

   For diesel fans, early next year will see the return of a diesel X5, powered by a 3.0-liter oil burner packing 255 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque.

BMW - 2014 X5 SUV - interior and dash

   But as is BMW’s way, the badging off these three models is an absolutely alphabet soup of numbers and letters. The new rear-drive 3.0-liter is badged X5 sDrive35i, the V8 is X5 xDrive50i, and the new diesel is X5 xDrive35d. Pay attention, there’ll be a written test later.

   For this new X5, BMW has really ramped-up its focus on handling. If the firm base suspension isn’t sporty enough, you can opt for adjustable dampers, or an M Sport suspension package, or the ultimate Dynamic Handling package which includes an active roll system.

   Inside, the cabin has been nicely re-jigged. There’s now third-row seating available, plus the gear selector has been moved on to the center console where it belongs.

BMW - 2014 X5 - luxury SUV - sneak peek at the newest BMW automobile

   One especially cool feature that’ll be available from December is Traffic Jam Assistant. This not only controls the X5’s speed during stop-start traffic, but it also keeps it centered in its lane.

   There’s no word on pricing yet, but don’t expect it to deviate too far from the current line-up. Again, you don’t mess with success.


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