Third Generation Perfection

Story By
Dino Moriarty

Back in 1999, the BMW X5 was the world’s first Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) and remains the most esteemed to this day. Fourteen years later, BMW’s X5 is getting ready to enter its third generation in a bid to keep up with changing times. Needless to say, this third-generation model sets a new agenda in its class in terms of driving pleasure, variability and luxury.

Some of the most noticeable updates we saw at the 2013 Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) this September included a more prominent grille, an aerodynamic front bumper and optional LED adaptive headlights. The new X5 also slightly increased in dimension – offering a roomier interior and a more accommodating boot. Interior-wise, BMW has focused on improving the car’s comfort level with the use of even higher-quality materials.

Let us look deeper into several important aspects of this third-generation X5 and see what’s what.

Familiar Exterior Improved

Despite its time-conscious evolution, the new BMW X5 is still distinctly recognizable, for it retains the same high-caliber design as its predecessors – streamlined with a few minor improvements.

The new model carries the trademark L-shaped tail lights and, as a first for a BMW, is equipped with Aero Blades: black air-channeling elements that are continuous with the roof spoiler and which make the car body more aerodynamic. 

Up front, the automobile gets a broad-set kidney grille that extends all the way to the headlight clusters, a new four-set of round headlights trimmed by LED accent rings and numerous chrome inserts. BMW has also installed a new front apron with the air intakes positioned at the outer edges. From here you will see the same familiar BMW swage lines, going all the way to the door handles and into the tail lights.

Customers may choose from a selection of eleven paints, including a new Sparkling Brown Metallic and Mineral White Metallic. 


Signature Interior Comfort

We all know that interior comfort is what BMW strives for in its Sport Activity Vehicles. Hence the redesigned seats offer added comfort and exquisite lateral support on long-haul drives.

The plush seating and notched-up luxury comes from BMW’s opting for the use of superior materials. However there is still the standard poplar wood trim dashboard combined with a high-gloss black surface. For the U.S. market, BMW is offering the standard BMW system, with touchpad—a freestanding 10.2-inch Control Display Monitor. Also as a standard feature, the new X5 boasts Dakota leather upholstery, with the exclusive option of selecting Nappa leather.  

The rear seats split into a 40:20:40 format to allow for optimal storage space and maximum seating at the same time. Cargo space can range anywhere from 23 cubic-feet to 66 cubic-feet, depending on which seats are folded.

The Torque Generator

The third-generation BMW X5 comes with a choice of three engines. The X5 sDrive35i and X5 xDrive35i models will be offered with a 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-six engine with a total output of 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. Aside from turbocharging and high precision direct fuel injection, this engine also comes with Valvetronic variable intake technology. The xDrive35i will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than the previous version.

The car’s top version is the X5 xDrive 50i. It is powered by a 4.4-liter V-8 engine (N63) that delivers a total of 445 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. This version will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds - or 0.4 seconds faster than its predecessor.

The diesel version, which will be launched in 2014, comes equipped with the X5 xDrive35d. It is powered by a 3.0-liter engine that delivers a total of 255 horsepower and maximum torque of 413 pound-feed delivered between 1,500 and 3,000 rpm. This version will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.9 seconds.

The three engines will be combined with an eight-speed automatic transmission and a new function called ECO PRO that accelerates response and transmission characteristics.

Pricing & Availability

Based on information to date, the new X5 and its three gasoline engine variations will be on sale on the U.S. market in the fourth quarter of this year, with the diesel version following closely in early 2014.

The 2014 X5 will base out with the sDrive35i model at US$53,725 and the Drive35i model comes in at US$56,025. The next step up is the xDrive35d at US$57,525. Moving up to the xDrive50i requires buyers with pockets deep enough for the US$69,125 price tag.