KBB Editors' Overview
By Matt Degen - Updated Date: 11/5/2013
BMW doesn't call the X5 a sport utility vehicle (SUV), but rather a "sports activity vehicle" (SAV), a moniker the German luxury brand has been using since the vehicle's introduction in 1999. The idea is to distinguish the vehicle as sportier than a traditional, rugged SUV. Marketing semantics or not, one drive in the X5 will make you a believer. The 2014 BMW X5 marks its third generation with a new design and more creature comforts, all while building on its reputation of combining BMW's famed driving dynamics in a roomy package. The X5 won't hop boulders like a Range Rover Sport, but it is far fonder of carving corners than an Audi Q7 or Mercedes-Benz M-Class.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you want a midsize luxury SUV that aspires to be a sports car and offers seating for up to seven, the BMW X5 is a tempting choice. Diesel fans will find a lot to like in the xDrive35d version, which nets up to 26 mpg yet still provides tremendous thrust.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Plan to regularly use 3rd-row seating? Consider the larger Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. If you're on a (relative) budget, be aware that the 2014 X5's $54,000 base price can skyrocket with options that are standard on some competitors. In this regard, the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 and Infiniti's QX60 and QX70 have the upper hand.
What's New for 2014
The 2014 X5 is all new as it enters its third generation. A new model joins the lineup as the base version: the sDrive35i, which is the first X5 to offer rear-wheel drive. All other X5 models continue to have all-wheel drive (xDrive) standard.
The 2014 X5's three engine choices provide varying degrees of power and efficiency. Even a "base" X5 with the turbocharged inline-6 is a quick beast, launching the midsize utility vehicle to 60 mph in the 6-second range. Choose the thunderous, thirsty V8 with its 445 horsepower and nearly $70,000 price, and you're looking at sub-5 seconds. Our pick, however, is BMW's turbodiesel 6-cylinder. It offers a fine balance of power and fuel economy, and only costs $1,500 more than a comparable gasoline-powered version. Whichever X5 you choose, you'll be treated to a larger utility vehicle that feels more like a sports sedan. The X5 is one of the few SUVs that's fun to fling around corners, though it's less adept on tougher off-road trails. It can climb snow-covered roads without drama, but steep off-road inclines are not its forte, as we discovered after brushing its lower lip at a Canadian off-road track.
The 2014 X5's blend of entertainment and information is splendid, and splendidly displayed on an elegant 10.2-inch screen. And while the rear-view camera costs extra on most models, its resolution is among the best we've seen.
Those who view driving as something to adore rather than a chore have long admired how BMWs respond when turning, and the X5 is no exception. We can use words like "taut" and "responsive," but trying to fully relay the experience in words is akin to attempting to describe the taste of a perfectly grilled steak.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…