Building on its current and highly successful formula, the 2014 BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle gets a significant remake as the line enters its third generation. In addition to more style, enhanced comfort/convenience/safety features and even better performance, this focused makeover also includes the introduction of the first-ever rear-drive X5 variant -- the sDrive35i -- which will join the existing all-wheel drive xDrive35i, xDrive35d and xDrive50i models.

Visually, the 2014 BMW X5 adds new edge to the exterior which can be most clearly seen in its recast fascia highlighted by bigger, bolder twin kidney grille elements that now stretch all the way to the restyled headlamps. Standard corner-following Adaptive Xenon main lights can be upgraded to full LED counterparts while LED foglamps appear on all models. This is the first BMW X model to get drag-reducing Air Curtains that help channel air around the wheel arches and out through equally new Air Breathers located in the rear portion of the front fenders. More dynamic character lines add interest to the X5's profile while its restyled rear quarters boast thinner 3-dimensional LED taillamps, a more aggressive exhaust/lower valance treatment and subtle new black Aero Blades that work with the roof spoiler to further enhance the X5's aerodynamic profile.

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In addition to its basic spec, the 2014 BMW X5 will offer new xLine and Luxury Line trims as well as a more performance-oriented M Sport package. Like other BMW models, each features its own unique exterior and interior cosmetic/functional upgrades, including bespoke 19-inch standard and 20-inch optional alloy wheels. The 2014 X5's option roster also adds a pair of Interior Design Packages. The Ivory White group nets Ivory White Nappa Leather upholstery, an Atlas Grey leather dash and Fineline Oak Wood trim, while the Mocha alternative brings Mocha Brown Nappa Leather, a Black Nappa Leather dash and Fineline Pure Wood accentlng.

Inside, the 2014 X5's cabin continues to have seating for five with an optional third row that ups the count to seven. A bounty of new standards -- the latest version of BMW's iDrive controller with direct character recognition capability, BMW Navigation with a 10.2-inch control display monitor and Advanced Real-time Traffic, a full suite of BMW Apps, Mobile Office, heated seats, a panoramic moonroof, and BMW Assist eCall with a 10-year subscription -- add new charm to this spacious inner sanctum, as does its power tailgate that now can now be both opened and closed by remote control.

Optional kit for the 2014 X5 also has been enhanced with the addition of things like harman/kardon and Bang & Olufsen premium audio systems, a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment package, heated and fully adjustable second-row Comfort Seats, 4-zone climate control and an enhanced Head-Up Display. The extras roster also features the latest generations of BMW Parking Assistant and Night Vision, Active Blind Spot Detection, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Lane Departure Warning, pedestrian and collision warning with braking function and Rear-View and Surround View camera systems.

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Motivation for the 2014 BMW X5 comes in three forms. The standard engine in the sDrive35i/xDrive35i continues to be the familiar 3.0-liter/300-horsepower TwinPower Turbo inline-6 that also makes 300 lb-ft of torque. However, the 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbodiesel inline-6 in the xDrive35d is an all new engine that features a new variable-geometry turbocharger and produces 255 horses with 413 lb-ft of torque. The range-topping X5 xDrive50i gets an upgraded version of the 4.4-liter TwinPower twin-turbo V8 that adds BMW's Valvetronic variable valve timing to the mix. That change pops its pony count from 400 to 445 and moves peak torque from 450 to 480 lb-ft. All of the engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission with an efficiency enhancing ECO PRO mode which is expected to help each version generate slightly to significantly better EPA numbers -- although those figures won't be finalized for some time -- as well as improved 0-60 mph sprint times.

Exceptional handling has always been a hallmark of the X5, and this new iteration is set to further embellish that tradition. While nearly identical in size to the current X5, the 2014 benefits from a redesigned unit body that incorporates more high-strength steel to help trim a bit of curb weight while creating an even stiffer foundation. In addition to its more refined standard chassis tune and revamped multi-mode Driving Dynamics Control programming, the 2014 X5 will be the first to offer BMW's Dynamic Handling Package. Buyers of xDrive versions also can opt for the extra refinement of Dynamic Performance Control. An Adaptive M Suspension also will be on offer as part of the M Sport package.

The 2014 BMW X5 sDrive35i/xDrive35i, and xDrive 50i will be arriving in showrooms sometime during the fourth quarter, while the xDrive35d is set to turn up in early 2014. All will be manufactured at BMW's plant in Spartanburg, S.C. and pricing will be announced closer to their actual on-sale dates.

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