2014 BMW X5, sport meets luxury, faster: Motoramic Drives
BMW would probably claim to have put the “sport” in “sport utility vehicle” back in 1999 when it introduced the first-generation X5. Back then, the BMW bigwigs cooked up the term “sport activity vehicle,” and marketed the decidedly sporty X5 under that banner. After driving the all-new third generation X5, however, we’d like to propose a slightly different descriptor: “Luxury activity vehicle,” marking the X5’s evolution from high-riding sports SUV to a bonafide luxury chariot.
While it’s true that the second-generation grew considerably to accommodate a third-row seat, it remained a rather athletic vehicle nonetheless. The third generation X5, conversely, is closer in character to the 7-Series sedan than, say, the Porsche Cayenne (which is a “sport activity vehicle” if there ever was one).
The styling changes offer the first hints of the X5’s newfound maturity. While it clearly represents an evolution of the previous model, there is a slab-sidedness that even the numerous side swooshes and scallops cannot hide. The windows are positively huge and upright, standing in stark contrast to the narrow-windowed, gangster-chop profiles of the Range Rover Sport and aforementioned Cayenne. And the tailgate is more upright, like a minivan, boosting cargo space but eliminating style. Despite a growth spurt of two inches, BMW managed to shave roughly 200 lbs. from the X5’s overall weight.
While the shape is stoic, the design shines in the details—literally. The headlamps bling like Lil Wayne’s teeth, featuring an LED “eyebrow” to accentuate its determined, predatory scowl. Talking of grills, the X5’s remains wide and bold (if a little blunt), leading into a beautifully contoured hood.
Offered with rear-wheel-drive in the sDrive35i ($53,725), as well as all-wheel-drive xDrive35i ($56,025), xDrive35d ($57,525), and xDrive50i ($69,125) models, each can be outfitted along four distinct “lines:” Base, Luxury, xLine and MSport – delivering luxurious upgrades for a sizable price, while the MSport line comes bedecked with a subtle hint of sporting ferociousness.
Inside, the X5 stuns, featuring beautiful, sweeping lines and artfully placed wood, satin-finished metal, chrome and piano black materials – taking a nice step forward from the outgoing X5. The 10.3-inch infotainment screen now stands up separate from the dash. The rear comfort seats can be ordered with or without the optional, non-too spacious but still workable third row of seats.