2014 BMW X5 RWD Review
Marking 15 years of luxury SUV popularity, the third-generation BMW X5 has many new comfort and convenience features for 2014. But the biggest news is the addition of a rear-wheel-drive option. Why RWD in X5? BMW reports that customer clinics show several potential X5 buyers aren't interested in taking a luxury SUV off-road. Indeed, it should be no surprise that the off-pavement activities of most X5s are restricted to the negotiation of gravel driveways.
Claimed to be aerodynamically slipperier and about 200 pounds lighter than the outgoing model, the new X5 retains its familiar profile. There's a bolder front end that features a large kidney grille that ties in with the Xenon or LED headlights. A two-piece tailgate and taillights that resemble those of the new X1 define the rear. According to BMW, a more contoured hood, a more pronounced shoulder line and an added feature line in the lower doors are all aimed at reducing visual bulk. At 192.4 inches long, 76.3 inches wide and 69.4 inches high, the new X5 is just 1.3 inches longer, 0.2 inches wider and 0.6 inches taller than its predecessor. The 115.5 inch wheelbase carries over.
The new X5 comes with a choice of two gasoline engines: a 3.0-liter, single-turbocharged inline-six with 300 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque in the sDrive35i and xDrive35i, and a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 with 445 horsepower and 480 lb.-ft. of torque in the xDrive50i. BMW claims 0-to-60-mph times of 6.2 seconds for the six and 4.9 for the V-8.
All engines use an eight-speed automatic transmission that offers selection of "Eco Pro" and aggressive "Sport+" modes. The Eco Pro can decouple the driveline when the driver lifts off the accelerator without hitting the brakes, as well as tailor the climate control and heated seats for maximum energy savings. Sport+ heightens shift and throttle response, firms up the optional adjustable suspension, and remaps the steering. There are also Normal and Sport modes.
The suspension uses double wishbones up front with a multi-link rear. You can choose between four different states of chassis tune: a basic steel spring setup or one of three optional air-spring suspensions -- comfort, dynamic and professional. The latter two come with adaptive damping and also receive BMW's Dynamic Performance Control system, with a mechanically operated torque-vectoring system on the rear axle for added agility.
Inside, expensive and pleasing shapes and materials are abundant, especially when you upgrade with any of the three trim packages: xLine, Luxury Line, and M Sport. BMW offers three audio setups: the base system; the mid-level Harman/Kardon unit; and a top-of-the-line, 1200-watt, 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen system.
To compete with the likes of the Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz M-Class and Porsche Cayenne, the 2014 BMW X5 comes with a long options list, such as head-up display, night vision with human and animal detection, lane-departure warning, lane-change warning, road-sign information, a 360-degree surround-view parking assistant and more. The new X5 also offers full Internet access, in-car use of Facebook, Twitter and other on-line services, plus a dictation function with speech recognition for e-mails and texts.
The rear-wheel drive X5 sDrive35i starts at $53,725, while the all-wheel drive xDrive35i starts at $56,025. The higher-end X5 xDrive50i starts at $69,125. BMW's diesel X5 (xDrive35d) begins at $57,525 and features a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six diesel engine with 255 hp and 413 lb.-ft. of torque. Except for the diesel model, the new 2014 X5s hit showrooms in late 2013 while the diesel will join the lineup in early 2014.
Manufacturer Photo: The all-new BMW X5 offers a new model -- as well as a first -- the X5 sDrive35i, marking the first time that an X5 model is offered with rear-wheel drive.
Class-leading driving dynamics are a hallmark for the BMW Sports Activity Vehicle from the very beginning and the new X5 is no different. All models in the new BMW X5 lineup feature an eight-speed automatic transmission, whose high internal efficiency, precision and short shift times help to improve both efficiency and responsiveness.
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2013