BMW X5

Observations From the Driver’s Seat: 2014 BMW X5

First impressions mean a lot when evaluating a new car, and the all-new 2014 BMW X5 makes a strong one, first with the fresh appearance resulting from subtle but stylish changes to every  single body panel.  And when you grab the door handle for the first time, it feels so sturdy and smooth that it’s like you’re opening the way into an improbably luxurious European bank vault.

As it happens, I drove the new X5 for the first time at night, so the tasteful ambient interior lighting made a favorable impression as well, followed by the lovely growl of the engine as you push the starter button.  And it just kept getting better from there.  The X5 feels pretty much like a 5 Series sedan, but with a better view and a bigger trunk.  The ride is impeccably smooth and controlled, the acceleration – even with the mid-range 300 horsepower turbo six-cylinder – is thoroughly gratifying.  And within the first few feet of your drive, its apparent you are in a BMW… something about the feel is absolutely unique to the marque.

For the X5s currently in stock at Braman BMW, the most powerful drivetrain available comes in the xDrive50i, which combines a twin-turbo, 455 horsepower, 4.4 liter V8 with an eight-speed paddle-shift transmission and all-wheel drive.  A 300 horsepower, 3.0-liter straight-6 powers the xDrive35i, while the diesel-powered xDrive35d model will join the lineup next year with 255 horsepower.

For the first time, a rear-wheel-drive X5 will also be available with the 3.0-liter gasoline power six only.  This is the vehicle we test drove, and the reduced weight of the simpler drive system shows itself immediately in how responsive it is to throttle inputs… and should also produce improved fuel economy.

Inside is the most sophisticated cabin you’ve ever seen in an X5, with the subtle curves of the decorative wood, aluminum and double-stitched leather working together to produce an impression of sophisticated luxury.  The rear seats offer both comfort and sufficient room, and there’s even slightly more cargo space than before.  For those with major people-carrying needs, the X5 offers the option of third row seating, split 40/20/40.

Summary

The X5, first introduced in 1999, has evolved into one of BMW’s best-selling models.  As a result, changes are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but the current model (first introduced in 2007) features many new features for 2014.  Changes include sharper styling, a more sophisticated interior, more cargo room and, for the first time, availability of a rear-wheel drive only version.  The RWD model comes only with the 300-horsepower, 6-cylinder engine, while other models are available with the high-performance twin-turbo, 455 horsepower, 4.4 liter V8, and a 255 horsepower diesel will join the ranks shortly.  All models come equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The 2014 BMW X5 is luxury transportation for both people and cargo, but it’s still also very much an ‘Ultimate Driving Machine.’ If that sounds like the kind of vehicle that fits your lifestyle, give the team at Braman BMW Jupiter a call and they’ll help you tailor one that just your size.

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