The 2014 BMW X5 is the company’s interpretation of what the ultimate driving machine should be when it takes a form of an SUV (or an SAV in this case). The third generation X5 did not grow hugely in size and weight to become a family runabout. BMW stayed focused on outright performance and driving dynamics. The new X5 sits on the same 115.5 inch wheel base as its predecessor, but it is actually a little shorter overall and around 170 pounds lighter. This is a solid foundation from which to build the next X5.
The entry-level power comes from carry over engines: the 3.0-liter twin scroll turbo gasoline engine. Output remains the same as in the previous X5: 300 hp and 300 lb-ft. The xDrive35d diesel is updated for 2014. It now makes 255 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque, which is a little less than the previous generation. It moves out very quickly, smoothly, and without noticeable turbo lag. The xDrive50i model brings the excitement with an updated twin turbo V8, which now produces 445 hp and even more impressive 479 lb-ft of torque. This X5 has all the ingredients of a high performance machine: satisfying V8 sound and effortless acceleration. BMW is claiming the 50i can do 0-60 MPH in 4.9 seconds.
While the X5’s powerplants are good, BMW also tweaked the suspension and the steering to defend the ultimate driving machine name. Although, they were able to shave off some pounds, this is still an SUV weighing in close to 5,000 lbs. You can barely notice the weight as the new X5 seems to shrink around you on a winding road, as we found out during the launch event and driving these SAVs from Vancouver, BC Canada to Whistler and back. X5 lets you switch between several driving modes: Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus. These modes adjust throttle response, shifting points of the 8-speed automatic, steering feel, and suspension stiffness. You can clearly tell the character of the vehicle change between the modes, although the suspension adjustments are ever so subtle. The X5 remains comfortable in any mode, but it will also eat up any corner with outmost confidence. It remains nearly flat through corners with steering wheel providing the needed feedback.
The 2014 X5 hits a home run with the updated interior. All materials are high quality, fit and finish is excellent, and the overall design is uncluttered and functional. There is a large navigation/infotainment screen, which is now powered by a new iDrive controller with a touch pad interface. The touch interface recognizes hand written letters and numbers, and allows for pinch zooming in interactive navigation mode. This is an improvement, but the overall iDrive system is still cumbersome to interact with. Some tasks, like selecting a song, still take too many steps to achieve. In these cases, you can rely on voice command features that can get you through most tasks quicker.
The new X5 is also not afraid to go where the pavement ends. We tried it out off-road at the Whistler Olympic park. The course was not too difficult, but the X5 crossed the ditches and muddy obstacles with ease. In order to get the best results in the dirt, you need to turn DTC system off so it allows for more slip and lets the all wheel drive system to work a little harder to find traction. If you maintain momentum and the proper line, the X5 has enough ground clearance to carry you through an intermediate level trail.
Check out this TFLcar – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know video of the 2014 BMW X5:
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, reporter, and software engineer. He has been a contributor at TFLcar since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or simply ‘going for a drive’.