You’ll experience a ride that is calm and collected, as well as smooth and enjoyable…
It’s hard to believe that the BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) was launched in the last century.
It was a pioneer vehicle in 1999, which essentially launched a brand new segment.
Fast forward to 2014 and you now have the latest installment of five-passenger people mover. The 2014 BMW X5 xDrive 35i – the third generation X5 – continues the tradition of modern luxury mixed with a capable xDrive all-wheel drive system, and of course, some of the latest tech gadgets.
It also comes with an overhauled look, on the inside and out. Starting with its Mineral White Metallic exterior, BMW continues to build on the X5’s soft-edge features, meaning, designers didn’t ditch the rounded curves for more angular or boxy characteristics.
Its physique continues to embody the philosophy of a short front overhang, a long wheelbase, upright A-pillars and a short distance between the front axle and the leading edge of the front door. The broad-set kidney grille reaches out and touches the front headlights, making its head-on appearance bold and seamless.
To me, I find the overall looks to be understated but not necessarily awe-inspiring. My mind wasn’t blown when I first laid eyes on it. Then again, looks aren’t everything.
And if functionality is what you’re after, the X5 has plenty of that.
Instead of starting in the front row, let’s skip to the back seats. The leather-trimmed cabin offers each occupant a cuddle when sitting inside. Furthermore, legroom in the second row is generous, especially when the front seats aren’t pushed all the way back. There’s even a decent amount of space in the cargo area, which totals 650L.
In the driver’s seat, the captain of this luxurious vehicle has the best of all worlds. Within arm’s reach is the iDrive infotainment system, easily readable centre stack and the gearshift lever to the 8-speed automatic transmission with Steptronic. The transmission is then linked to BMW’s award-winning engine.
Powering this particular vehicle was the 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-six cylinder engine. It has an output of 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Should you desire more ponies, you can always opt for the 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8 offering more get up and go (445hp and 479 lb-ft of torque.)
When you turn on the X5 via the push button start, you also have the option to have more or less pizazz when it comes to driving dynamics. There are four modes in which you can enjoy this SAV including, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Eco Pro.
The names are self-explanatory. If you’re romping around town, and don’t want to bridle all the horses, and you want to save on some fuel, Eco Pro is the mode you’d want. But if you’re feeling like you want a little more something something, Sport or Sport+ will do the trick.
Aside from changing the feel of the X5 when driving, you’ll experience a ride that is calm and collected, as well as smooth and enjoyable. Steering is done via a rack-and-pinion system, therefore it’s not a chore to get the vehicle moving in a direction that you want. I’d categorize it on the “heavier” side, but because of that, I felt I was better able to interpret what was going on underneath, especially at higher speeds.
Another perk of the steering wheel? It’s heated. Other things inside that keep you and the passengers warm is the ability to control four different climate zones. Thanks to the Premium Package ($5,500) one of its features is the Auto 4-Zone Climate Control. This package also adds heated rear seats, a head-up display, manual side sunshades, and a feature that I really like, surround view with top view.
Surround view allows gives you a 270° projection of what’s going on around the X5. For a vehicle as large as it is, it’s a wonderful feature to have.
Of course, BMW also loaded this particular test vehicle with the Technology Package ($3,800) that includes active LED headlights, active bind spot detection, lane departure and collision warning and more.
And to make life behind the wheel a little more musical, there was an integrated Bang and Olufsen system that will add $4,900 to the base MSRP of $62,900.
The price as tested came to $77,950 (excluding the destination charge of $2,095)