Initial reviews of the all new 2014 BMW X5

BMW created a monster in the luxury SUV class in the automotive world in 1999, or as they like to call them Sport Activity Vehicles.  The BMW X5 exploded in popularity and many Americans (and people around the world) in need of a luxury SUV capable of seating 7 bought the X5.  Given how well received the last generation was, (even though people still come to my site to figure out the differences between the available BMW X5 models), it's no stretch to imagine that the new one (dubbed the BMW F15 X5 internally) will be as well loved.

Before we get into the reviews, let's discuss some of the design changes  you can expect in the new F15 X5.  Mimicking the design that BMW introduced in the newest models, the X5 will feature the ZF 8HP 8 speed automatic transmission.  Since it's introduction in the F01 7 series, this transmission has been introduced across the BMW line as they redesign their cars.  In fact, competitors like Audi, Bentley, Jaguar, and others use BMW's transmission in their vehicles.  This transmission allows for better fuel economy and smoother gear shifts while retaining aggression when necessary.  Additionally, BMW has replaced the outgoing hydraulically assisted steering for their servotronic (electric assisted steering) system.  The overall length of the vehicle only grew 1 inche, the width grew 0.2 inches, and the X5 was lowered 0.6 inches.  Not much growth all around especially when you consider the fact that the wheelbase will remain identical to the outgoing X5.  BMW did however, make some major changes to the exterior and interior design of the vehicle.

The screen grew to 10.25 inches which certainly commands your attention from the inside of the car.  Luckily, like all BMWs, you can adjust the brightness so as not to drive distracted.  Just as the previous models that we've seen like the new 2014 3 series and the new 2014 5 series, the X5 will feature the Auto Start/Stop button for fuel conservation measures.  You will also find the same Driving Dynamic Control(DDC) that allows adjustment to throttle response and steering feedback.  In many ways, there aren't a lot of surprises to the vehicle when you consider what was offered in the X3 and 5 series redesign in 2011.
More importantly, how did the X5 fair in the initial reviews?  Well Richard Bremner of Autocar UK drove the diesel model dubbed BMW X5 xDrive30d.

"Muller’s toughest mission was tackling criticisms of the outgoing model’s ride, refinement and aura of quality, without adding heft.
He's done well, with reductions to the bulkhead, glasshouse and wheel-well noise transmission improving refinement by a useful 2.5dB, while new seats have reduced vibration, and the subtly softened suspension smothers sharp bumps more effectively.
Steering feel changes noticeably, too, for being electrically rather than hydraulically assisted to save fuel, as does the drag coefficient which drops from 0.34 to 0.31.
More obvious, though, is the classier cabin. Its subtly curving decor, superior materials and adjustable mood lighting enhance an architecture that’s still familiar; and improved rear space, a bigger boot and the third-row option, now split 40:20:40, complete the upgrade."
You can find Richard's Autocar UK review of the BMW X5 in it's entirety on their site.  Which includes some great insights.

He goes on to talk about his disappointment in the sportiest setting on the DDC though I am not sure that this was going to be much of a surprise.  Considering we have seen the current F10 BMW 5 series depart from the extreme sportiness of the old E60 model, I expected to see some loss in feedback.  Of course, BMW has been tweaking the DDC and servotronic system as it goes along and even updated it for the 2014 BMW 5 series to make it sportier.  They haven't quite completely mimicked the old 5 series but then again, the car has changed as well as it's purpose.  BMW is manufacturing their cars to the market demand and we'll see this continue for the foreseeable future.  I do hope that they refine the DDC and servotronic systems in such a way that truly balances comfort and sportiness for whoever is behind the wheel.

What do you think of the early review of the new X5?  Do you love it?  Do you hate it?  Or are you reserving judgement for when it arrives here in the states in November this year?  Sound off in the comments below.

You can find more information on the new 2014 BMW X5 on BMW USA's website along with the "Build Your Own" option.


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