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2014 BMW X5 xDrive30d and 2014 BMW X5 xDrive50i Henny's First Drive and Production Specs

2014 BMW X5 xDrive 50i (select to view enlarged photo)
2014 BMW X5 xDrive 50i

By Henny Hemmes,
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel

2014 BMW X5 xDrive 50i (select to view enlarged photo)

VANCOUVER, August 29, 2013. The first drives with the new BMW X5 leave no doubt about it: the third generation is an overall improvement. In 1999, BMW introduced its first SUV and dubbed it SAV, Sports Activity Vehicle. Back then, BMW was exploring the segment with a sturdy looking premium model that turned out to be the leader of the new pack and a worldwide success. Up till now, around 1.3 million X5 units have been sold.

After a facelift in 2010 of the outgoing model (E70), the robust Bimmer, internally fondly called ‘The Boss’, has remained popular until this very moment. Last year, sales went up by 3.5 percent and even during the current lasts months of production, sales have been consistent.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Of all BMWs leaving the showrooms, one third is an X5, which makes it the company’s second best selling model after the 3 Series. Right now, production of the new generation, internally coded F15, has started in the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina. The X-models are built there and shipped all over the world, making BMW the largest exporting car manufacturer in North America.

2014 BMW X5 – Dynamic Looks, Spacious Interior

2014 BMW X5 xDrive 50i (select to view enlarged photo)

The new X5 definitely looks ‘leaner’ than the current model. This is not only the result of increased width and length and a lower height, but also of the crisper exterior design. The somewhat longer hood and roof, the small roof spoiler in the back and the stretched lines on the side enhance the modern look.

Interior designer Oliver Heilmer points at the nose: “The kidney grille is more broad set and extended to the headlight units, while the X shaped bumper contours enhance the modern stance. At the rear, the new design with horizontal lines of the 2-section hatch and the L-shaped lights also give the X5 a more dynamic look.”

2014 BMW X5 xDrive 50i (select to view enlarged photo)

Mr. Heilmer, who is responsible for BMW interior design, was in Vancouver to accept the compliments of most of my colleagues for the much improved look and feel of the cabin. “We listened to our customers, who wanted a higher quality of the materials and more space.”

2014 BMW X5 xDrive 50i (select to view enlarged photo)

The interior has improved indeed. Beautiful quality and trim with nice leather upholstery and a design that is light and spacious. Oliver points out where the ambient light runs from right to left in the dashboard. The color can be adjusted through the iDrive controller into blue, white or orange, or a combination of white and blue and white and orange. Because it is such a thin line, I have the feeling that it will not be disturbing when driving at night. However, I could not test this as we only drove during day time.
2014 BMW X5 xDrive 50i (select to view enlarged photo)

The interior is roomy indeed and offers enough space for the optional third row of seats.

In the normal 5 passenger configuration, the luggage compartment has been increased by 1.06 cu-ft (30 liter) to 23 cu-ft (650 l) and can be ‘extended’ to 66 cu-ft (1870 l) which is an increase of 4.2 cu-ft (+120 l).

2014 BMW xDrive 30d Diesel Power

2014 BMW X5 xDrive 50i (select to view enlarged photo)

We started our test drive in British Columbia with the xDrive 30d. You must already be aware of the fact that we Europeans like diesel engines and this 6-cilinder 3.0-liter power plant is no exception.

We left the hotel in down town Vancouver moving actively through the early morning traffic. Once outside the city, we headed to the mountains on a beautiful road along the bay. When pushing the throttle, the X5 takes off aggressively. With TwinPower turbo technology it generates 258 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. Maximum torque is available from 1,500 rpm up to 3,000 rpm, which in combination with the unsurpassed 8-speed automatic transmission provides good flexibility. The 30d should be able to sprint from 0-62 mph in 6.9 seconds and will reach a top speed of 143 mph. More important is the fact that this model has a maximum trailer load of 5,952 pounds.

2014 BMW X5 xDrive 50i (select to view enlarged photo)

On the road up north, the engine purrs softly and is always actively reacting on any movement of the right foot. Overtaking the many campers on the road is just easy and quick.

In Comfort mode, the xDrive 30d offers a stable feel with the road and stability is good. Both my colleague and I preferred the firmer steering feel of the Sport mode, but you are not able to make the combination with the comfort set up of the suspension (yet). Fuel consumption of this engine has been improved to 45.6 mpg imp. with 162-164 grams CO2, depending on tire size. If the 30d is on the optional 275/40/R20 tires up front and 31/35 R20 in the rear, the CO2 is 2 grams higher than on the standard 255/50 R19 and 285/5 R19 tires respectively like those on our test car. With the 22.45 cu-ft contents of the fuel tank, it means a range of around 1,000 miles.

This diesel engine will not be available for the North American market, but the xDrive 35d model will, as from December this year.

Upon the market launch of the new X5, the US will get the 35i and 50i engines

BMW X5 xDrive 50i Mighty V8

2014 BMW X5 xDrive 50i (select to view enlarged photo)

On our way back south, we changed cars and got into the X5 xDrive 50i. I love the V8 engine that has again been improved for the new generation F15. The power output is 450 hp, or 10 percent more, while torque increased by nearly 37 pound-feet to 479 lb-ft.

Inside the car the engine sound is not prominent, but during photography we took our turns and stood outside watching the X5 pass by, the sound is clearly that of a mighty eight-cylinder.

With the two turbochargers incorporated in the TwinPower Turbo technology, power is instantly available and acceleration only takes 5 seconds. The top speed of 155 mph can only be reached on certain stretches of the German Autobahn. North American customers who would like to drive the X5 in Germany have to hire a car there, as European delivery will not be available: it would mean shipping from Spartanburg to Munich and back!

Fuel consumption of this engine is also improved and now amounts to also 27.2 – 26.9 mpg imp, depending on the tire format.

Henny’s Hot Laps

2014 BMW X5 xDrive 50i (select to view enlarged photo)

When the 2014 BMW X5 50i is in Comfort mode, we feel that the car is somewhat stiffer than the diesel. Upon asking later that day what makes the difference, Cornelius Zirn, in charge of Driving Dynamics of the X5, explained that indeed the front suspension has a stiffer set up to be able to deal with the higher cornering speed that V8 drivers usually have.

“Our purpose was to provide dynamic handling with the necessary comfort.” Point taken! We also have to beware that a vehicle like the X5, which is relatively heavy and high on the wheels cannot have the same dynamic handling as a normal passenger model. But handling is excellent nevertheless!

The X5 is available with Comfort, Dynamic and Professional adaptive suspension packages and Adaptive M. The Professional package is a combination of Comfort and Dynamic. Electric Power Steering is standard on all models, while Active Steering is optional. The X5 is also available with Dynamic Performance Control as part of the Dynamic and Professional adaptive suspension packages.

The standard model is equipped with steel springs, the optional combination of Comfort and Professional uses air springs in the rear. Mr. Zirn said that the torsional stiffness of the new X5 is up 5 per cent versus that of the outgoing E70 model.

2014 BMW X5 50i No Ski-jump

2014 BMW X5 xDrive 50i (select to view enlarged photo)

That afternoon, we had a go on an off-road course around the Olympic ski jumps of mount Whistler. It could have been more exciting, as we felt we did not have to put much effort to get the X5 50i through the rough terrain, but it was nice for pictures anyway!

2014 BMW X5 xDrive 50i (select to view enlarged photo)

We just pushed the Hill descent button in the center console, disconnected traction control and set the speed limiter to 15 mph. By using the iDrive controller, we found the xDrive status displayed in the monitor. This feature debuts in the new generation and shows the pitch and roll as well as the angle of hill ascend/descend. People who want to drive off-road would be interested in the overhang angle, which is 25.0 up front and 20.0 in the rear. The ramp angel is 20.0 degrees and ground clearance (unladen) is 8.23 inches and fording depth at 4.3 mph is 19.68 inches

It speaks for itself that BMW offers a luxury outfit, great connectivity, the latest safety technology and a good choice of options.

Prices start at $ 52,800 for the sDrive 35i, $ 55,100 for the xDrive 35i, $ 56,600 for the xDrive 35d and $ 68, 200 for the X5 xDrive 50i.

Destination and handling for all models is $ 925.

A price for the M50d is not available yet. This model has the 3.0-liter 6-cylinder diesel with M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology with 3 turbochargers. Its output is 381 hp with 546lb-ft of torque.

The X5 is completely new, except for the underpinnings that have been adjusted. With its lighter and more dynamic looks, and the improved handling in combination with excellent comfort, the 3rd generation X5 will undoubtedly be able to maintain its leading position in the all-wheel drive premium segment.