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2014 BMW X5 good on the twisty road, and on the Internet (pictures)

BMW equips the X5 with its latest cabin tech, meaning a built-in data connection and integrated smartphone data, at the same time performing excellently on the roads.

Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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BMW updates its X5 for the third generation, seen here in its 2014 model year and xDrive35i trim. External changes to BMW's largest SUV are minor.

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In xDrive35i trim, the X5 gets a 3-liter inline six-cylinder engine with a twin scroll turbocharger and direct injection, making 300 horsepower.

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Optional adaptive dampers and an air suspension system at the rear axle make for a comfortable ride that gets formidable on a winding road.

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Having xDrive means this X5 comes with all-wheel drive, a performance-oriented system that shifts torque back to front as needed.

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These HID headlights come standard, but LED headlights are available.

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Front fender vents seen on the new X5 are a design cue spreading to other BMW models, such as the 4 Series.

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The clamshell tailgate makes for a convenient bench.

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The panoramic sunroof has become de rigueur on modern cars.

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BMW's multi-contour seats offer 20-way power adjustment, but no massage function.

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The rear bench folds down to expand the cargo area.

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Navigation and iDrive come standard on the X5.

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The X5 comes with an electric power steering system that tightens up in Sport mode.

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The eight-speed automatic transmission includes a phenomenal sport program.

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The iDrive's main menu is a simple list of available functions.

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The touch surface on the iDrive controller lets you trace letters for alphanumeric entry.

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The navigation system includes intensely rendered maps.

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The X5 offers two data connections, a built-in 3G connection for BMW Online functions, and integration with smartphones for BMW ConnectedDrive functions.

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BMW Online offers Google destination search, a news feed, weather, and apps such as Yelp.

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BMW ConnectedDrive is heavy on music apps, including Pandora and Amazon Cloud Music.

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Smartphone integration lets you see calendar appointments on the X5's LCD.

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With ConnectedDrive running on a connected smartphone, broadcast audio sources show Web radio, which lets you listen to Internet-based radio stations from around the world.

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The audio interface is rich, showing album art and song information.

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The xDrive Status shows the car's roll and pitch angles.

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Performance gauges show real-time horsepower and torque.

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The Eco Pro Analyzer runs on a connected smartphone, and works as an efficiency driving coach.

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