2014 BMW X5 review

By: Greg Leech

Hi-tech and more efficient X5 will build on strong fan base...

2014 BMW X5 review
Driven: 2014 BMW X5


BMW X5 50I, X5 30D, X5 M50D

BMW led the pack in 1999 by identifying a market niche in the premium car segment. It called it the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) category and it caught on, with major manufacturers clamouring to get offerings in front of the well-heeled, riding-crop set that swallowed it like so much automotive foie gras.

And it made a lot of sense. The X5 was just alright off-road, with big inappropriate wheels and tyres and not a whole lot of clearance. But it was a sort of GT for the masses. It was competent on sealed surfaces, offered levels of comfort that were almost unmatched and came with a badge that had Mum sitting proudly outside the private school for longer than normal. Yes, the X5 made its mark.

The latest offering continues to hit that brief. BMW reckons this third iteration – about the same size as its predecessor, but it doesn’t share a panel – "raises the standard, presenting a faster, more efficient, more intelligent and more highly specified vehicle to the Australian vehicle market". And largely it seems to be right.

There are three engines (with more on the way). First up is the xDrive30d’s 3.0-litre diesel. It has 190kW (up 10 kW) and 560Nm (up 20 Nm) of torque. The 0-100 km/h sprint is consequently seven-tenths of a second quicker at 6.9sec.

The latest X5 rides on 19-inch alloy wheels and comes with a new exterior Design Pure Experience package, bi-Xenon headlights, LED front fog lights, High-Beam Assist and anti-dazzle exterior mirrors. Furthermore, safety-crats will be all a-fizz with head-up display, Driving Assistant (which includes lane-departure warning, forward collision warning and pedestrian warning with light city braking function), rear-view camera and 360-degree surround view.

You also get electric adjustment with memory function for the front seats, an automatic tailgate, a Hi-Fi speaker system, internet functionality and BMW’s Professional navigation system with iDrive Touch controller and voice control.

Next up is the xDrive50i, the 4.4-litre V8 which now develops 30kW more power (330kW) combined with a 16 per cent reduction in fuel consumption. Maximum torque has jumped 50Nm to 650Nm and the 0-100 km/h sprint now takes 5.0sec.

This one gets standard 20-inch alloys and standard metallic paint while inside there are ceramic surrounds for the controls and a leather instrument panel. The xDrive50i gets the adaptive suspension package ‘Professional’ that adds Dynamic Performance Control and Dynamic Drive to the Dynamic Damper Control and rear-axle air suspension.

You also get adaptive LED headlights with Anti-Glare High-Beam Assist, LED front fog lights, surround view and head-up display, Driving Assistant Plus (which adds active cruise control), front-seat heating, a Harman/Kardon surround sound system, an alarm and DAB+ digital radio.

Top of the model line-up remains the M50d, which retains the 3.0-litre straight-six turbo-diesel with M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology including three-stage turbocharging. It produces 280kW and 740Nm, but the 0-100 km/h time is up by 0.1sec to 5.3sec.

The M50d gets most of the same features as the xDrive50i, but adds a new adaptive suspension package ‘Dynamic’, which combines with Adaptive M suspension that underlines the model’s ‘performance’ brief.

All will be in BMW showrooms in March.


BMW X5 50i

Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 330kW @ 5500rpm
Torque: 650Nm @ 2000-4500rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto, AWD
Fuel economy: 10.4L/100km
Price: from $133,900 plus ORCs

BMW X5 30d

Engine: 3.0-litre turbo-diesel six-cylinder
Power: 190kW @ 4000rpm
Torque: 560Nm @ 1500-3000rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto, AWD
Fuel economy: 6.2L/100km
Price: from $99,900 plus ORCs

BMW X5 M50d

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder
Power: 280kW @ 4000rpm
Torque: 740Nm @ 2000rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto, AWD
Fuel economy: 6.7L/100km
Price: from $147,900 plus ORCs

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