2014 BMW X5
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.
- 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
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined