2014 BMW X5 REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Large luxury SUV
Price: $82,900 (before on-roads), $96,400 as-tested.
Engine/trans: 160kW/450Nm 2.0 turbo diesel 4cyl | 8sp automatic
Fuel Economy claimed: 5.8 l/100km | tested: 7.4 l/100km
When it comes to SUVs, size tends to matter. A lot.
When packing a modern family into a high-riding wagon, critical dimensions like width, interior height, wheelbase and boot volume have to be big by necessity.
But engine size? That’s perhaps one area where big SUVs can shrink without anybody noticing.
Recognising this, BMW has finally brought out the first four-cylinder versions of its popular X5, the rear-wheel-drive sDrive25d and all-wheel drive xDrive25d.
We’ve just spent a week in the former, and though it’s got 'only' four cylinders and 'only' two driven wheels, for many people it’s all the SUV they’ll ever need.
- Standard equipment: leather upholstery, power front seats, power adjustable steering column, powered tail gate, dual-zone climate control, rear air vents, cruise control, speed limiter, trip computer, bi-xenon headlamps.
- Infotainment: Navigation System Professional, 10.25-inch colour display, on-board music storage, iPod compatibility, Bluetooth phone and audio integration, iDrive with touchpad interface, internet connectivity.
- Storage: 650 litres minimum, 1870 litres maximum.
We used to complain about how BMWs were specced, but these days the German automaker’s local arm is a lot more generous when it comes to standard equipment.
Though it’s the base model, the X5 sDrive 25d gets BMW’s high-featured Navigation System Professional with a touch-pad interface and 10.25-inch colour display, as well as dual-zone climate control,a powered tailgate, front and rear parking sensors and power-adjustable front seats.
And those are just the highlights. That’s a lot of features for a large luxury SUV that retails for $82,900.
There’s still an extensive list of options, mind you; our test car came equipped with an expansive panoramic glass sunroof, a top-down camera view (well worth the $1300 extra), 20-inch alloy wheels and self-dimming rear-view mirrors.
As with every other X5, there’s a lot of space inside the xDrive25d. The front seat cushions are a little flat, but they’re large and accommodating, and so are the rear seats.
Need more space? A third row of seats can be optioned on 25d variant, bringing total seat capacity to seven.
Were we to complain about anything, it would be the baffling absence of shopping bag hooks in the boot.
Why on earth would BMW skimp out on such a simple feature considering the X5 is pitched squarely at family buyers?
ON THE ROAD
- 160kW/450Nm 2.0 turbo diesel four cylinder
- Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
- Double-wishbone front, multi-link rear suspension
- Disc brakes
- Electric power steering
Unless you plan on towing heavy things on a regular basis, odds are you’ll find the sDrive25d to have more than enough oomph to get you around town.
The 2.0 litre four-cylinder turbo diesel produces 160kW of power and 450Nm of torque, the latter of which is spread between 1500rpm and 2500rpm.
Couple all of that low-end torque with the X5’s standard-issue eight-speed automatic, and you have a car that can lope around all day at low rpm without breaking a sweat, no matter how many people you stuff into it.
The smaller engine and lack of front axle drivetrain means the base model sDrive25d is lighter than all other X5 variants, though it still tips the scales at a shade under two tonne.
Weight like that is usually a bit of a handicap when it comes to fuel economy. The sDrive25d however returned an average real-world figure of 7.4 l/100km.
That’s noticeably less than the factory-quoted figure of 5.8 l/100km, but still a decent result for a large, heavy SUV.
However, it’s not all great news. The optional 20-inch alloys fitted to our car introduce a fussy, fidgety ride even on smooth roads, and the steering on the rear-drive sDrive25d is still as lifeless and dull as that of the AWD variants.
ANCAP rating: The 2014 BMW X5 has yet to be tested by ANCAP.
Safety features: Stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD and brake assist help keep every X5 variant on the right path, while six airbags (dual front, front side, full-length curtain) and anti-whiplash front headrests protect occupants in the event of an accident.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
As far as four-cylinder large luxury SUVs go, the X5’s only real direct rival is the Mercedes-Benz ML 250 CDI. The Lexus RX 450h Luxury competes well on price, but is slightly smaller than the X5.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
If you’re thinking of an X5, take a look at the four-cylinder variants first.
Not only will you save a bundle of cash (you’re getting an awful lot of car for your $83k), but the smaller four-cylinder engine is more than up to the task of moving you and your family about.
The engine might be downsized, but the X5’s capabilities definitely haven’t been.
We would, however, urge you to stay with the standard 18-inch alloys for the sake of ride comfort. The 20-inchers sure do look cool, but we can live without the brittle ride that they create.
Pricing (excludes on-road costs)
The 2014 BMW X5 is on-sale now, with deliveries for all but the xDrive50i and M50d models to begin from March.
- BMW X5 sDrive25d -$82,900
- BMW X5 xDrive25d -$87,900
- BMW X5 xDrive30d - $99,900
- BMW X5 xDrive35i - $106,900
- BMW X5 xDrive40d - $115,900
- BMW X5 xDrive50i - $133,900
- BMW X5 M50d - $147,900