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In 1999 BMW introduced the industry’s first Sport Activity Vehicle segment with its go any place at any time attitude. Since that time BMW has sold about 1.3 million X5 vehicles and after my seven-day test drive, this third-generation edition is the best so far. As seen before this all-new 3rd. generation X5 sets new standards for luxury, versatility and of course, BMW’s fabled driving dynamics. The class leading driving dynamics features BMW’s xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive that can be complemented by BMW’s Dynamic Performance Control as part of the optional (my test X5 has it) Dynamic Handling Package that includes Active Roll Stabilization providing an additional edge to the X5’s sporty handling attributes as well as Dynamic Damper Control and its rear-axle air spring suspension. I have a choice of Comfort or Sport setting by pushing a console-mounted button. There is also an Eco mode button to increase my mpg specs. Besides being all-new, the X5 sDrive35i model is the first with rear-wheel drive.
Among the elements that have set the BMW X5 apart in the SUV segment is its unique blend of sporty, elegant exterior styling and its luxurious, flexible interior ambiance. These attributes have been enhanced with an entirely new design, inside and out. Stunning, head-turning new styling is seen from any angle and the all-new X5 is outfitted with the latest in LED front and rear lighting technology. Its distinctive appearance is once again defined by a short front overhang, long wheelbase, raked A-pillars and the short distance between the front axle and the leading edge of the front door. The three dimensional design of the BMW kidney grille, set within the triangle of the dual round headlights and front foglamps, and the bumper’s X-shaped contour lines also identify it as a standout BMW. The new X5 has a broad-set kidney grille that extends all the way to the headlight clusters which extend from the kidney grille all the way into the front fenders. The signature four round headlights are trimmed by LED accent rings. To provide a new look, the light rings are flattened along the bottom edge and overlapped at the top edge. Sweeping chrome inserts and the prominently three-dimensional design of the lights underline the vehicle’s sophisticated character. LED front foglamps come standard and my test X5 came equipped with the optional adaptive LED headlights that are identified by the horizontal light sources in the center of the rings. The front apron with working side slits are positioned far to its outer edges and accentuate the wide track and planted stance of the new X5. The striking underbody protection elements also provide a nod to its tough character. Drag-reducing Air Curtains make their debut on a BMW X model. These vertical apertures guide the incoming air around the wheel arches, where it creates a curtain of air over the wheels before making a controlled escape through the Air Breathers in the side of the front fenders. The designs of the X5’s sides reflect the BMW X5’s power and sporting ability. Precisely drawn lines rising up toward the rear build a wedge shape that draws attention to the dynamic character of the X5 and breaks up the taut surfaces around the flared front fenders, doors and rear wheel arches. Each wheel arch features black contrasted trim pieces. The resulting light and shadow effect brings out the athleticism and agility of this very fine Sports Activity Vehicle. The upright nose of the X5, with its forward-thrusting BMW kidney grille, cuts an arresting figure from the side. The familiar BMW character line rises steadily from the headlight units, through the door pulls and into the tail lights. It combines with the character line extending from the upper edge of the Air Breathers and another, more obvious crease above the side skirts to stretch the figure-hugging surfaces of the car’s flanks powerfully to the rear. Underbody panels enhance front to rear airflow for excellent stability at high speed. The large windows let in light giving the interior a more spacious feel and are fully wrapped with a thick chrome strip to enhance its luxury exterior look. Also featured outside are the integral aluminum with rubber inserts running boards, body-colored pull-out door handles with LED lights for easy nighttime use. Horizontal lines on the two-section power tailgate and around the rear apron emphasize the wide and robust stance. The thin, three-dimensional LED light strips of the two-section, L-shaped rear lights create a striking nighttime look. Plus, the new X5 is the brand’s first model to feature Aero Blades. These black air-channeling elements are contiguous with the roof spoiler and help to optimize the car’s aerodynamic properties. Up top are standard aluminum roof rails to extend the cargo-carrying capacity of the X5. Down below the rear bumper are two, 4-inch round aluminum exhaust tips cut out at each end. My test X5 came painted with new Sparkling Brown Metallic.
The interior is both elegant and spacious with lots of light coming through the windows and the double panoramic sunroof that opens to the rear seating section. The horizontal structure of the layered surfaces underlines the broad sweep of the instrument panel and reflects the impressive amount of space available on board. The interior materials selected for the new X5 also play a role in shaping the exclusive onboard ambience. The trim strip and accent strip extend into the front door panels and are picked up again in the rear door panels. Red ambient lighting gives the interior a soft glow at night. The dark Oak Wood Trim now sits atop a high-gloss black surface, which is bordered on its lower edge by an accent strip in Pearl Gloss Chrome. The BMW Navigation system includes a touchpad and a freestanding 10.2 inch Control Display Monitor. The displays for the dual-zone climate control/ventilation systems feature black panel technology. The newly designed Dakota leather/heated seat surfaces are super comfortable and very supportive with 10-way power adjustment and 4-way lumbar support for comfortable long drives and features a 3-person memory with also includes the great leather-wrapped/power tilt/telescopic steering wheel and power-remote/heated/self-dimming sideview mirrors. When I turned the X5 off the power steering column moved up and away for easy exit and entry. Furthermore, I started the X5 by pushing the above mentioned dash-mounted button. The signature BMW instrument cluster is straight-ahead and easy to see and understand with colored LEDs warning of system or safety failures. My X5 test model also came with BMWs Head Up display which enables me to see my speed and other pertinent data without taking my eyes off the road. The center console features dual cupholders and a deep storage bin with LED light and dual-opening armrest. The stick shifter is perfectly placed and ergonomic to make using it so comfortable and direct. The rear seats are split 40:20:40 which allows for load capacity to be increased in stages from 23cu.ft. to 66cu.ft. This is 7% more than the last X5 model. The rear also features heated outboard seats and a fold-down armrest with dual cupholders. Additional storage compartments and door pockets can accommodate 1.5 liter bottles up front and 1-liter bottles in the rear that contribute to X5’s functionality both in day-to-day use and on longer trips. The new X5 again comes with a split two-section tailgate. The lower element can be folded down horizontally to form a single level with the load surface and the power tailgate operation for the upper section is standard. All buttons, dials and switches are fully illuminated for safe nighttime traveling.
Standard features inside not mentioned above includes all power express up/down windows, power door locks, self-dimming rearview mirror, soft close automatic doors, Bluetooth hands-free phone, satellite radio, universal garage door opener, enhanced USB connection, heated steering wheel, rear air outlets behind the front center console, dual lighted vanity mirrors, flip-down sunglass holder, grab handles above each door, dual map lights, rear LED reading lights, map pockets behind the front seatbacks, rain-sensing wipers/washers with a rear wiper/washer/ front headlight washers, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player audio system with HD radio and Surround Sound Speakers,
My test all-new 2014 BMW xDrive35i is powered by BMW’s 3.0 liter TwinPower Turbo inline-6 engine. It develops a maximum output of 300hp at 5,800rpm with peak torque of 300lb.ft. from 1,200-5,000rpm for excellent low end power. The engine was the first BMW inline-6 to combine turbocharging, High Precision direct fuel injection and Valvetronic Double-VANOS steplessly variable intake technology. It features a single, mid-sized turbocharger with a ‘twin-scroll’ housing to boost performance and minimize response lag. Using Valvetronic for the first time on a turbocharged inline-6 allows the engine to ‘inhale’ air more efficiently for combustion with virtually no delay and with reduced pumping loss. The new X5 xDrive35i accelerates from 0-60mph in just 6.2 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than last year’s model.
All X5 models come standard with a smooth shifting eight-speed automatic transmission with sequential shifting and whose high internal efficiency, precision and short shift time helps to improve both efficiency and responsiveness. There are three diving modes-Sport/Comfort/ECO PRO that I activated by pushing a console mounted button. In ECO PRO mode, the engine management, accelerator response and transmission characteristics are systematically tailored to support a particularly fuel-efficient, low rpm driving style. At the same time, ECO PRO mode also programs electrically powered functions like the climate control, heated seats and heated exterior mirrors for extra-efficient energy management. In ECO PRO mode, a coasting function periodically decouples the engine from the rest of the powertrain whenever I eased off the accelerator at speeds between 30-100mph without then applying the brakes. This allows the new BMW X5 to coast without engine braking, for maximized fuel efficiency. In conjunction with the standard Navigation system, high fuel efficient ECO PRO navigation routes can be selected. When the navigation system is activated the Proactive Driving Assistant function also tells me exactly when to ease off the accelerator when approaching corners or a speed –restricted section of road, in order to save fuel. Along with the additional ECO PRO mode functions, the new BMW X5 also comes with many other BMW EfficientDynamics features. These include Brake Energy Regeneration, Auto Start/Stop, on-demand operation of ancillary units, Electric Power Steering, and a variety of weight-and-drag reducing features. Along with other measures, use of ultra-high-tensile steels in the body structure, thermoplastics in the front fenders, aluminum in the hood and magnesium in the instrument panel support all help to reduce curb weight (4,790lbs.). Intelligent lightweight design also means that the increase in standard equipment compared to before does not translate to increased vehicle weight. The curb weights of the X5 xDrive35i are reduced by approximately 170 pounds. The BMW X5 also offers best-in-class aerodynamic design with standard air curtains, the air breather system, vertical aero blades at the rear window, air deflectors on the front wheel arches and a range of other detail improvements reduce drag and enhance fuel mileage to 18mpg/city and 27mpg/highway.
The X5 xDrive35i comes with the xDrive that active manages the drive power split between the front and rear wheels at all times. The latest power version of the xDrive power divider boasts optimized efficiency and a three pound reduction in weight. xDrive’s control logic uses information about road speed, wheel speeds, steering angle and accelerator position to accurately interpret both the driver’s intentions and what the vehicle is actually doing, and then apportions power front-to-rear in order to get as much power as possible to the road. BMW xDrive maximizes both traction and stability whatever the road and weather conditions, and also offers improved cornering dynamics by working to help counteract oversteer before I am even aware of the need. With the optional Dynamic Performance Control, the drive power split can be even more finely controlled. The electronically control DPC is integrated into the rear differential. In combination with xDrive it takes handling dynamics and directional stability to new levels. Dynamic Performance Control seamlessly varies the drive power split between the rear wheels (torque vectoring), with significant benefits in terms of steering response and road-holding at all speeds. The stabilizing action of DPC remains in effect even when you lift off the accelerator while cornering.
The electronically controlled power steering system is so responsive thanks to the 3-strut tower braces in the engine bay. Two are attached in the rear and the front of the engine features a 1 inch thick brace for incredible rigidity that helps with keeping the front end flat during cornering. These three strut tower braces also enhance the fully independent front double-wishbone and rear a multi-link suspension that features dynamic damper control and automatic rear self-leveling air-springs enhanced by the electronic logic system that adapts the damping characteristics to changing road condition and driving situations. The Dynamic Handling Package maximizes both comfort and dynamics combining the components of Dynamic Damper Control, automatic rear self-leveling suspension, Dynamic Performance Control and Active Roll Stabilization. The Dynamic Stability Control includes brake fade compensation, start-off assistant, brake drying and brake stand-by features with dynamic traction control and dynamic brake control. The power-assisted brakes measure 13.6 inches up front with vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 12.5 inch vented discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear. My all-new X5 xDrive35i came shod with giant 19X8.5 inch light alloy wheels wrapped with 255.55R19 inch Goodyear Eagle RS all-season radial tires for a smooth quiet ride with excellent traction and grip.
Standard safety system aboard includes front/rear crumple zones with steel beams in each door, front active headrests, front airbags, front side impact airbags, front/rear side-curtain airbags, rear side impact airbags for outboard seats, 5-3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, LATCH system for child seats, tire pressure monitoring, front/rear distance assist, a rear backup camera and BMW Assist eCall with a 10-year subscription.
Well that’s a mouthful but the all-new 2014 BMW X5 xDrive35i has a lot to offer the consumer with loads of interior comfort, luxury and safety; stunning new looks, a high-tech powertrain, the latest in 4-wheel drive control and suspension technologies. Starting price for the model is $55.100.00 and my loaded model stickered at $67,375.00. This new BMW X5 was hard to give up after my seven-day test drive.
COPYRIGHT: 2014: HARVEY SCHWARTZ
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