After seven years, the current BMW X5 midsize crossover has aged gracefully, but it’s time for its replacement to take over. If you were expecting a design revolution, we’re sorry to disappoint you. To the untrained eye, the 2014 BMW X5 might as well just be a refresh. The most adventuresome BMW is willing to get is that dopey new fender scoop.
Why should we expect anything different? Last year, BMW sold more than 44,000 of its South Carolina-built crossovers at prices starting around $48,000, with some models easily cresting the six-figure mark. The BMW X5 is a cash cow for a brand once thought to have betrayed its roots by making something other than a rear-wheel-drive sports sedan. A few weeks ago, we showed you pictures of six-cylinder and V-8 prototypes testing in Malibu, along with grainy stills of the new crossover.
Finally, here’s the real deal, unsheathed, and with details abound. It may not look like much to get excited about, but there’s plenty to share about the 2014 BMW X5.
Like other BMWs, the ’14 X5 is adopting trim lines that allow for a bit more personalization: the rugged-looking xLine, the fairly straightforward Luxury Line, and the M Sport Line, which is available with the new Dynamic Handling package. In addition, they’ll be available with two interior packages featuring Ivory White or Mocha Brown leather. Dakota leather will be standard on six-cylinder models, while Nappa leather will come standard on V-8-powered vehicles, coddling up to seven passengers.
All 2014 BMW X5s will come standard with adaptive HID headlights; LED headlights will be available. To cut drag through the wind, BMW is giving the X5 new underbody trays as well as Air Breathers–those fender vents–to feed air in and around the Bimmer. This should help net better fuel economy, helping especially since the BMW X5 looks more upright and robust than even the last one.
On the technology front, a 10.2-inch monitor with a navigation system will be standard, displaying climate control functions as well as radio information. An adaptive suspension and active driving assist–which includes an intelligent lane-departure warning, cruise control, collision prevention system, and pedestrian warning–will be available. The 2014 BMW X5 will even have Traffic Jam Assistant, automatically keeping it within its lane, starting, and braking at speeds under 25 mph.
Engine and Drivetrain
Like the current BMW X5, the 2014 models comes standard with a 300-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine. Optionally available, however will be an upgraded twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 with 445 horsepower–up 45 horses–allowing the behemoth of a crossover to sprint to 60 mph from standstill in a scant 4.9 seconds. Coming a little later will be the popular 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel, down slightly to 255 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. Blame stricter emissions standards.
All three engines will come paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and will have selectable drive modes that will allow for sharpened throttle response in the case of the Sport or Sport+ modes or a duller, more economical approach in Normal or Eco Pro modes. We’re not sure how well you’ll be able to hypermile a 445-horsepower crossover, though. For the first time on the X5, rear-wheel drive will come standard, while all-wheel-drive will now be optional on most models; standard on higher-end versions. And we expect the next-gen X5 M to grow even more powerful than the current 555-horsepower models when it’s released.
BMW didn’t need to change the game with this vehicle; it just needed to move the needle far enough to keep its competition on its feet, which includes everything from the Mercedes-Benz M-Class to the Porsche Cayenne to even the Acura MDX. We wish BMW took a few more risks with the 2014 X5, but instead what we have is a handsome, refined crossover that will undoubtedly still look good in another seven years when it comes time for replacement.
Except for that fender scoop.
We always clamor for revolution when new cars come out: bigger, lighter, more economical, and perhaps some space-age materials to spruce things up. With the 2014 BMW X5, all we’re hoping for is a little more luxury, a dynamic driving character, and a bit more daylight between it and the smaller, cheaper BMW X3. We’ll see how well BMW delivers when it goes on sale in the fourth quarter of this year.