2014 BMW X5 xDrive35i SUV (3.0L 6-cyl. Turbo AWD 8-speed Automatic)
Driven On 2/6/2014
The X5 is big but drives small, a characteristic that has made it one of the more popular luxury SUVs. The 2014 X5 is essentially a new vehicle, and it continues to be a sharp-driving, well-equipped example of its kind. Whether you opt for turbo-six, turbo V8 or turbodiesel, all are pricey. And fantastic.
PerformanceSurprising agility and strong, willing engine choices competently move this heavy SUV around. We tested the base turbocharged inline-6 version in this rating, and found it more than adequate.
The 300-hp turbocharged inline-6 is smooth, refined and has plenty of torque. There is some slight throttle hesitation from a stop. Shifts from the crisp 8-speed automatic are similarly smooth.
Adequately firm pedal is easy to modulate around town. Its stopping ability in a panic situation is limited less by its brakes and more by its all-season tires.
The precise steering doesn't necessarily tell you about every divot in the road, but it doesn't feel synthetic, either. Effort is substantial, but not offputting, at parking lot speeds.
A heavy vehicle at 4,836 pounds, the X5 manages to get around corners feeling sharp-footed, never ponderous. Capable and confidence-inspiring. Test car was equipped with optional Dynamic Damper system.
It's hard to fault the X5 for its driving dynamics, given its class of vehicle. This is an accomplished machine that sweats the details of the primary driving controls.
ComfortThe cabin appointments are first-rate, and the X5 comports itself well on the road. Few faults to be found here, apart from some extraneous noise, which is likely a consequence of the run-flat tires.
Superb comfort and support from the seats, which are well-suited to long-distance driving.
The X5's suspension is tuned on the firm side, yet still capable of absorbing most road imperfections. From time to time the ride gets choppy on rough pavement, but this is the exception and not the rule.
Road noise is present to a degree that is not quite up to the standards of the class. Also prominent wind noise from the driver's side windshield pillar at elevated freeway speeds.
InteriorRichly appointed and easy on the eyes, the cabin is a well-engineered space. Cargo room is a tick bigger than before, but still not exceptional. The running boards aren't well-designed.
Controls are logically laid out and easy to access. The X5's knob-based multimedia system (iDrive) is preferable to many touchscreen-based systems.
Ingress is -- ironically -- severely hampered by running board extensions, which are too narrow to be useful. It's also a rather large step up into the cabin.
Lots of headroom and plenty of space to sprawl out, both up front and in back.
Great view ahead and to the sides. Substantial rear pillars block view over your shoulder. Good thing there's an (optional) backup camera.
The X5's cargo area has been upsized for 2014, now with a more useful amount of space. It's still not cavernous, given the exterior dimensions, but it's appropriate for the segment.
ValueA finely-executed SUV that is significantly more expensive than the outgoing model. The base price is high and there are loads of available features with which you can drive the price even higher.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Panels fit with consistent gaps and no squeaks or rattles were to be found. The interior oozes quality. This is a well-made crossover.
Base equipment is less comprehensive than some competitors. While every known creature comfort is available, checking these on the options list quickly escalates the price skyward.
The 2014 X5 gets a big jump in base price over the outgoing model. The rear-driver starts at $53,725, the AWD at $56,025. Our test car rang in at more than $67,000, and that's with the base powertrain.
On our 116-mile evaluation loop, we matched the EPA's 21 mpg Combined rating (18 City/27 Highway). The X5 is among the most fuel-efficient SUVs in the class.
The X5's 4-year/50,000-mile basic and powertrain warranty coverage is on par for the class.
Free scheduled maintenance for 4 years/50,000 miles plus 4 years/Unlimited mileage roadside assistance takes some worry and expense out of the ownership experience.
Fun To Drive"Fun" isn't usually a word associated with a large SUV, but the X5 manages to drive crisply despite its size. You can even hustle it on a winding road and actually enjoy the process.
The effort and response of the driving controls are more like a car's than anything else. This is partly why this big SUV has been so successful over the years.
The X5 has a disposition that spans a fairly broad spectrum. You can use it on a twisty two-lane, light off-roading or a night on the town. It never feels out of place.