2014 BMW X5 details revealedThu, 30 May 2013 00:00:00 -0700
The third-generation 2014 BMW X5 has arrived, and its big news is an optional rear-wheel-drive variant. Those models will have a 300-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder gasoline engine in the U.S. We're expecting a Frankfurt motor show debut in September. Why rear drive? BMW says customer clinics revealed prospective buyers, including those in the U.S., aren't really concerned about the luxury SUV being able to take them off-road.
Developed under the codename F15, the new BMW X5 retains its upright profile and traditional features such as a two-piece tailgate. There's a bolder front end with a more prominent kidney grille, LED headlamps and a heavily contoured bumper with so-called air-curtain ducts on the lower outer edges sending air more efficiently through the front-wheel houses.
Overall, the new SUV has a more structured look with a more contoured hood, more pronounced shoulder line and an added feature line in the lower doors. BMW says it's all aimed at reducing visual bulk.
At 192.4 inches long, 76.3 inches wide and 69.4 inches high, the new X5 is a mere 1.3 inches longer, 0.2 inches wider and 0.6 inches taller than its predecessor. The new model carries over the 115.5 inch wheelbase.
Inside, the new X5 has a more luxurious interior, with styling following the latest BMWs. Buyers will get two rear-seat choices: a fixed 40/20/40 bench or a new 70/30 bench; it adjusts longitudinally for space for an optional third row. Cargo capacity grows 1.1 cubic feet to 23.9, rising to 66.0 with the second- and third-row seats folded.
Competing with the likes of the Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz M-class and Porsche Cayenne, the X5 comes with a long options list, such as head-up display, night vision with human and animal detection and a spot-light function, lane-departure warning, lane-change warning, road-sign information, a 360-degree surround-view parking assistant and … you get the picture. The new X5 will also offer full internet access, in-car use of Facebook, Twitter and other on-line services plus a dictation function with speech recognition for e-mails and texts.
The new car is based around a lightly modified, lighter version of the existing model's monocoque steel platform. There's more hot-formed high-strength steel in the floorpan to cut weight. According to BMW, the top-of-the-line xDrive50i weighs 4,784 pounds -- 209 less than the outgoing model, even though the new one is a little bigger.
The suspension uses double wishbones up front with a multi-link rear. Buyers will be able to choose between four different states of chassis tune: a basic steel spring setup or one of three optional air-spring suspensions -- comfort, dynamic and professional. The latter two come with adaptive damping and also receive BMW's Dynamic Performance Control system, with a mechanically operated torque-vectoring system on the rear axle for added agility. Much of this reworked chassis is pegged for the second-generation X6, planned for a Moscow auto show reveal in mid-2014.
Production starts this summer. Initially, three engines will be available including a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 producing 445 hp in the xDrive50i, a turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line six common rail diesel with 255 hp (xDrive35d) and BMW's 300 hp turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line gasoline six (xDrive35i and sDrive35i) will also be offered.
What about an M version? BMW hasn't confirmed one yet, though word is it will be added in 2014. The M will have a reworked, 560 hp twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 used in the M5 and M6.
The new X5 will roll from BMW's U.S. production line in Spartanburg, S.C., assembled alongside the second-generation X3, first-generation X6 and a production version of the X4 Concept, planned for U.S. sale late next year. Since its introduction, 1.3 million X5s have been sold worldwide.
By Greg Kable