2014 BMW X5

2014 BMW X5

Episode 3336
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The BMW X5 arrived for the 2000 model year; a time when rival European brands were bringing high dollar sport utes to an American market that couldn’t buy up them fast enough. While the X5 has proven very popular with more than 1.3-million sold, competition grows more intense. Plus many ute buyers are downsizing to save on fuel costs. So let’s see if an all-new X5 factors in all the changes.  

The mid-size 2014 BMW X5 is actually the 3rd generation of BMW’s original Sports Activity Vehicle. And while BMW has expanded into smaller segments with both the X3 and X1, it’s still the X5 that makes up the bulk of their utility sales in the U.S. 

Perhaps the biggest news is that a rear-wheel-drive only sDrive X5 is now available for those that have no need for all-wheel-drive. The new-gen looks are in a word, evolutionary. But tweaks such as new headlights with flattened LED trim rings, and the increasing amount of aero elements will let those “in the know”, know you’ve upgraded.

While wheelbase carries over at 115.5 inches, overall length grows by 2-inches to 193.2. It loses a little in both overall height and ride height, giving this X5 a more hunkered down look. But like the guy at the gym with the cut-off sleeves, the very high mounted fog lamps and traditional twin kidney grilles try a little too hard to look cool. 

Thick body lines are still present along the sides, only now they emanate from a new front fender vent. All-in-all, not a bad looking redesign, though some of our staff did feel it appears more mini-van-ish than before. We’re all fans of the dual tailgate setup, as it makes loading heavy and bulky items easier.

While off-road credentials are probably not a high priority, the full-time intelligent all-wheel-drive system uses lots of electronic wizardry to be very capable. And should do just fine if the pending zombie apocalypse does arrive, or just on the snowy roads that we encountered here in the Mid-Atlantic this past winter. 

Regardless of driving mission, you’ll find the X5 rides more like a BMW sedan than any ute. The incredibly smooth shifts of the standard 8-speed automatic transmission, and one of the most unobtrusive start/stop systems we’ve sampled, add positively to the experience. 

And as you would expect, it’s a great handling experience as well. Though as with most BMW’s, we mourn the lack of steering feel.  But it’s hard to argue with the results, as steering is still impressively quick. 

Driven aggressively, the X5 begins to feel more like an SUV, but still one that handles better than most. And this 6-banger xDrive35i certainly hooks up and launches like few SUVs. It doesn’t feel overly powerful, just a civilized whoosh of acceleration taking you to 60 in 6.2-seconds. Power continues to pour on smoothly as you work your way down the track, with firm, quick shifts coming right at red line until you clear the ¼-mile in 14.8-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. 

Powertrain options are as before, gasoline and diesel fueled inline-6s and a 4.4–liter V8 xDrive50i. The V8 is updated while the diesel in the xDrive35d is all new. But, in our test xDrive35i, the 3.0-liter gas I6 soldiers on, pumping out 300–horsepower and 300 lb-ft. of torque with the help of BMW’s TwinPower turbo. 

Dropping the hood and opening the doors, the highlight of the interior is easily the huge 10-inch hi-res. screen indiscreetly plopped down on the dash. It’s controlled by iDrive of course, and we think BMW has finally struck a good balance with logically placed traditional controls; making tapping into iDrive central only necessary for more detailed requests. A new touchpad write-on feature helps as well. 

Seats, front and rear are firm, supportive, but comfortable. Back seat room is adequate but far from generous. Still, the soft close doors are a nice touch. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 18-City, 27-Highway, and 21-Combined. We averaged 20.2 miles-per-gallon of Premium. That Energy Impact Score is so-so at 15.7-barrels of annual oil use with 6.9 tons of CO2 emissions. 

Yea, we know fuel economy could be better, but we just love the power and effortless feel of the gas I6. But, go the xDrive35d diesel and you gain 20% on MPGs and lose little else. And, the diesel is only $1,500 more than our tester, and volume leader xDrive35i which starts at $56,025.

The 2014 BMW X5 is indeed a sweet ride. When it comes to all out luxury, we still prefer a Range Rover, but the X5 actually appeals to a different buyer. One that needs an SUV, but really wants a BMW sport sedan. And, that will keep the X5 a major market factor for years to come.

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.0-liter
  • Horsepower: 300
  • Torque: 300 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 14.8 seconds @ 95 mph
  • EPA: 18 mpg city/ 27 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 15.7-barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 6.9 tons/yr
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35

Goldilocks Approved: It Does Everything Just Right

Episode 4332
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

These days, you don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get some real-deal AMG performance from Mercedes-Benz, as they’ve spread their high-performance love throughout their lineup. So, let’s go for some high-speed bargain hunting in the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.

You may think of big cars and bigger horsepower when you hear AMG, but this updated 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4-door Coupe is certainly not a big car, yet there’s no doubt it packs a serious performance punch. The CLA is not the least expensive Mercedes you can currently buy in the U.S., but it is their lowest priced car, and it feels more right-size than small-size behind the wheel.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up. Standard engine in the base CLA 250 is of course a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, but it is ‘Benz’s latest with mild-hybrid assistance and a rating of 221-horsepower.

This CLA 35 is one of two AMG versions which cranks the turbo up to boost output to 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque; the CLA 45 S, goes even further with a full rebuild to crank it up to 416 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. The CLA is front-wheel-drive based but is sending power to all four wheels by the time it leaves the AMG shop with performance-tuned AMG 4MATIC.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2

AMG has done serious suspension tuning as well, and the great feedback that it provides through the AMG Performance steering wheel is a big part of this car’s fun-factor. But our test car came equipped with winter tires, which did hold us back a little bit through the cones at our Mason Dixon test track. Still, it felt both agile and fun and body roll was minimal. Not until we pushed hard could we really feel the lack of dry pavement grip from those tires. On the other hand, a few days after track day, we actually did have some winter weather to drive through and then we were very appreciative of the grip those winter tires provided.

With some assistance from AMG’s sweet launch control, which not only allowed us to launch at 3500 RPM with no wheel slip at all, but made sure the turbos were feeding full power, as we felt no turbo lag whatsoever on our quick 4.5-second trip to 60. AMG’s Speedshift eight-speed DCT lived up to its name, delivering quick and hard hits throughout the 13.1-second, 104 mph quarter-mile.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up.

When it came time to remove speed in a hurry in our panic runs from 60 mph, those winter tires again played a factor, as the brakes felt very strong and there was very little nosedive but stops took a longer than expected 125 feet.

Now this 2nd generation CLA arrived for 2020, and for ’24 gets a subtle restyling at both ends. At the front, the grille has been redesigned, AMGs getting their own unique version with big vertical slats, prominent Mercedes star and subtle AMG badge. LED headlights are new, now labeled as High-Performance headlights, joined by upgraded rear taillights and a very aggressive looking AMG diffuser with big exhaust outlets. The back-up camera is smoothly hidden in a flip-out Mercedes badge. Multiple new wheel designs are available with sizes up to 19-inches.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 22024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine

Inside the CLA’s cabin, additional standard content includes a leather steering wheel and 10-inch media display. Both of which were already part of the AMG transformation, though AMG Line buyers can now add some heat elements to their sport steering wheel.

As we’ve seen with most Mercedes updates, both the virtual gauge cluster and the central touchscreen reside in a single housing mounted on top of the dash, upgraded with the latest MBUX software.

Pricing for the CLA 35 starts at $56,100, with the more powerful 45 S coming in at $66,550.

Bottom line, the folks in Stuttgart have given us a 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 that’s clearly better without messing it up. That’s certainly good news to us, as these days we seem to be getting less and paying more for just about everything. So, while you might not think the new CLA 35 sounds like a bargain, there is no better gateway into the amazing world of AMG performance.

Specifications

  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo
  • Horsepower: 416
  • 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 125 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.2 MPG (Premium)
  • Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Torque: 369 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.1 seconds at 104 mph
  • EPA: 22 City / 29 Highway / 25 Combined