We replaced a 2007 X5 4.8i with the new 2014 X5 sDrive 35i model year and it is a much improve vehicle. Key areas of improvements for us are: 1) Idrive & Connect Technology - Voice command is incredibly accurate and easy to use. 2) Interior quality & refinement. Seats, instrument cluster and leather dash are higher quality material & overall design. 3) Ride comfort & Handling. You can still feel and have the legendary BMW style handling and road manners, but harshness is all but gone, as compared to 2007 model year. The car feels much lighter and agile than the previous model. 4) LED Headlights are impressive in looks, brightness and visibility while driving at night.
I will start by saying that I consider my self a BMW enthusiast. This is my 5th BMW and sadly my first review, were I feel compelled to put out there, what my disappointments have been. I understand that one can be the unlucky bearer of a rare lemon. However the abysmal difference of expiereiences with this, my first US made BMW makes me believe that there could be fundamental quality control differences between plants. Here is what went wrong: loud ringing on the right-rear column (4 visits to repair), transmission box failure (1 visit, but the engine sounds funny, when going up a hill, ever since), cargo door would open on its own (3 visits where I was mostly blamed for "inadvertently hitting the open button", until on the 4th visit, they found that there was in deed an issue), failure of the soft-locking mechanism (this being the worst of all issues, as the doors would open by themselves while the vehicle was being operated!!). I swear this to be true. It took 4 visits as well, where BMW service centers would refuse to fix the problem since they had to "witness" the issue happening. The challenge being that if the episodes would happen at random, the service tecnitians could not drive around the car for days until they actually saw the phenomenon happen. So of course, as a customer, to have to deal with the disbelief of the dealerships, while being forced to drive around when doors can open at any time, is beyond frustrating. I believe that BMW still makes very good product, but I have moved my vote of no confidence in the North Carolina quality control and for the first time in 15 years, I steered off from BMW SUV's.
It is a premium car if repairs are need, so proper maintenance is essential. BUT, it is a wonderful automobile. Lot's of extras, a sound system like none other, bells and whistles that have bells and whistles. Plus it is just plain well built. An enjoyable ride. I'm already anticipating my next BMW.