It's the original BMW SUV.
Pardon me, SAV.
They like to word it activity instead of utility.
Regardless its' now on its heavily refreshed generation.
So let's try this 2014 BMW, X5, x drive 35I.
Count the letters in its name plates and check the tank.
Now I find this gen 3 car the best looking X5 yet because they've retained the chunky, substantial look that is X5, but they've also sculped it better than ever and really given it a lot of car-like face.
It really looks a lot like the most desirable BMW cars in the front.
I couldn't say that about an X5 in the past.
Easy way to spot a gnx5 is to look at the fenders.
On both the front fenders you'll find this kind of long blade-like cut out that looks right throughout the tire.
They call that the air curtain.
It's about managing air flow front the face of the car across the face of the wheel with minimal aerodynamic disruption.
Underneath that giant panoramic glass roof, you'll find much nicer available rear seats that can have heating finally, fancier upholstery, ten degrees of recline, and three inches of fore-aft adjustment.
That's all new.
Little third row seats are optional, but if you do get those, you can't get the fancy second row seats I just mentioned.
Now insider our X5, things haven't changed a lot, you're gonna recognize I drive interface, it's very familiar, and it's mounted in this 10.2 inch ultra wide screen, that is in the current fashion mounted like so, it doesn't go up and down though it looks like it, and it's a very clear well-rendered display, nothing too different there.
It's not a touch screen, of course.
The Germans don't go for that.
Instead, you've got the latest iDrive controller, with a bunch of home run buttons around it.
A large knob for turn, click, and kick.
And it's a touchpad on top, for handwriting recognition, for directional moves.
Or also for pinch and zoom on your map level.
Now, where they have made some nice streamlining improvements is in voice command.
Check it out.
You are listening to 102.1 FM.
That is super clean and intuitive.
I didn't have to spend any time learning what it wanted me to say.
So many other cars would have you say, radio, tuning mode, change to, something frequency.
I'm gonna grab a knob by then!
This is very humanistic.
Similarly clean for address entry.
Enter address, 235 Second Street, San Francisco, California.
Processing your input.
235 Second Street.
Now I can also get to my destination through BMW Online, which is a separate search utility, but it works differently.
It takes you to a different voice recognition platform.
Done in the cloud.
I can also go to Wikilocal to find where I want to go, and that's another experience.
And here, there's no voice recognition.
So I've got multiple ways, to address multiple interfaces, to all serve the same basic idea of finding where I want to go.
This is where things like CarPlay and Android Auto are going to find low-hanging fruit.
Clean up this mess that occurs in so many vehicles.
These are not the only guys that do it wrong.
Apps are via a cabled phone, only, not wirelessly.
Facebook and Twitter are heavily cleaned up and usable, in a limited way.
Audible books, Glimpse location sharing, Rhapsody Music, and tune in radio streaming are all on the way.
Meanwhile, general Bluetooth streaming handles the rest, including the obvious omission of Pandora.
And by the way, radio includes AM, FM and HD radio.
However, satellite radio doesn't get in there unless you let BMW twist your arm and sell you a $2,700 premium package.
My X5 will not have satellite radio for that reason.
Now, when I put our car in reverse, you're gonna notice all I've got are sensors, front and rear.
No rear camera on this car.
There's even an around view camera.
That's optional, I get it.
But on a car of this price category they're gonna nickel and dime me for a rear camera?
That doesn't work with me.
Of course federal law is gonna take care of that soon enough.
In the mean time,.
Prepare to get insulted.
Now here in the engine room is one of the great engines in manufacturing right now, in fact, it's arguably the best in line six ever made, this is BMW's N55, it's an awarded motor.
The twin power turbo technology is the first thing you ought to call your attention to.
And it has a single turbo charger but with two scroll phases for low and high rpm.
Coupled with direct injection as is the fashion these days.
And BMW's valve tronic, which is a very sophisticated valve technology that also takes over the throttle functions in this engine.
The numbers, 300 horsepower, 300 pounds feed of torque.
It goes out in rear wheel drive fashion base on these cars which is new for this generation.
But of course, we have all wheel drive here.
0-60 for this roughly 4800 pounds vehicle is 6.2 seconds.
That is two tenth faster than the outgoing vehicle.
And by the way, a hundred and seventy pounds lighter on this one as well.
Your MPG ends up being an 18, 27.
That's actually pretty good.
It used to be 16, 23 the year before, so lots of improvements have happened here in terms of performance and efficiency.
And of course a one choice only automatic transmission, but it comes in two modes, the bass and a.
Now of course BMW's have this rocker switch for various drive modes.
You start at the bottom at eco pro, you go to comfort which is normal.
You've got a sport mode and then you've got a sport plus where they are taking the traction control largely out of the picture.
So those are your four ranges and you can see they effect things like throttle response, shift points.
It will effect your adaptive suspension if you option it.
And its also going to effect your steering.
But of all of these, you might think I'm gonna be totally gaga for Sport Plus or something.
Seen it a hundred times.
What really intrigues me is actually Eco Pro.
I'm not normally a big fan of Eco modes cuz they dumb the car down too much, but this one's interesting.
Of course mutes back the throttle response.
Softens up your shift points a bit.
It also tells you to back up off the throttle with an indicator here if you're pushing it too much.
It's going to demand auto start stop be enabled, which I'm not a huge fan of.
It will also freewheel or decouple the engine from the drive train which lets you lift off and coast.
It lets the car glide more and have reduced friction that's pulling it's momentum down.
It will choose more efficient routes when you're under navigation, and it will also coach you to lift off the throttle as you go into a corner, or into a reduced speed zone ahead.
It's quite complex, and of course combines with the regenerative.
To breaking that's on this car, as well as older BMW tricks like using on-demand rotating accessories that only drag on the engine when they need to.
And we have electric power steering, so there's no electric power steering pump being power steering.
The last part of your sport display is here in the i-drive display which gives you a power and torque readout.
Not really useful but kinda puts you in more of a sporting mode.
And on these all-wheel drive cars, you have an xDrive status indicator that will show you how the power or torque distribution is being worked around the four wheels.
I'm not sure what you're gonna do with that information, but it's a nice animation.
Now, the X5 has all the BMW traits on the road that you'd expect.
The power is very good in this vehicle.
They've dialed out a lot of turbo lag with that twin-scroll, TwinPower technology they've been using for a number of years now.
Because we have the M Sport package, we have.
Sport automatic transmission.
Automatics are the only choice on this car.
No DSG's, no manuals.
And I find it's a very alert gearbox.
Whether you're on the stick or on the paddles doing your shifting, or just in sport mode, it's on the ball.
And the shifts are crisp without being jarring.
It's a well done automatic.
Now, the one deal you make with the devil when you get a BMW, is you're buying a certain stern ride quality.
These are never costed in cars, with the exception of a few models, but basically you're talking about riding a very firm underpinning all the time in these vehicles, it's part of the BMW DNA, it's not for everyone to be honest.
The other interesting thing is the last mile app, which allows you to go from when you park to walking to your exact final destination with guidance.
And also taking you back to where you parked your car.
Now, pricing an X5 is like pricing most premium German cars.
Get a cup of coffee and pull up a comfortable chair.
We're gonna be here a while.
First of all, the base price, the destination and the most basic interior is $57,500, M Sport package is 4,600 bucks.
19-inch wheels, M Sport steering wheel, the sport automatic transmission, sportier seats,.
Dynamic handling is 3600 hundred bucks which includes the rear torque vectoring technology, active roll control, and full adaptive suspension.
But if you want the rear air suspension, that's 900 hundred more, a lighting package with LED headlights and automatic high beams that steer is 1900.
Driver Assistance is $1400, the rear camera and a [UNKNOWN] Driver Assistance Plus is $1900, for blind spot lane departure and front crash parcel breaking, and if you want adaptive cruise and the stop-and-go in everyday traffic, that's $1200 more, and we're not even done yet.
Parking assistant is $500.
Comfort rear seats, kind of a bargain at 500.
Harman Kardon surround sound is 875, I won't even kid you with 4,500 for Band and Olufsen.
Night vision with pedestrian detection is 2,600 of probably the least useful dollars you'll ever spend.
And that requires the cold weather package, for some reason, so add 550 for that.
Skip the $2,200 rear seat entertainment system which is lame, and you're almost broke now anyway and do 190 bucks for a pair of iPad holders.
All in we're at about 78,200.
I'm gonna skip another several thousand worth of trim options and take the car just the way it is.