BMW X5 xDr50i
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Overall

A new-from-the-rims -up third-generation tall wagon that, except for the substantial front bumper, actually looks more car-like than its predecessors.

Drivetrain

A 3.0-liter turbo-inline-six provides baseline power; upgrade to a 445-horspower twin-turbo V8 for more grunt; a rear-wheel-drive X5 can be had for fair-weather, fine-road travels.

Arriving in style is a BMW specialty and the X5 is also about arriving in all kinds of weather. However the latest version of BMW’s big-and-tall wagon isn’t as versatile weather-wise, at least not the base X5 sDrive35i. The “s” in this case indicates it’s the new rear-wheel-drive edition, the first-ever such X5 to hit the road. It’s fitted with a 300-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder engine, as is the all-wheel-drive xDrive35i. Also available is the xDrive50i that comes with a 445-horsepower 4.4-liter V8 and the xDrive35d with its 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbo-diesel. It has an output of 255 horsepower and, more importantly, 413 pound-feet of torque. That’s a bit less power than diesel in the 2013 version, but with the vehicle’s reduced weight (by about 170 pounds), BMW says that the 2014 model is quicker. Both gasoline versions and the turbo-diesel are synced to eight-speed automatic transmissions, and each comes with launch control. The system uses special computer software to produce the most rapid acceleration possible from a complete stop without losing traction. Additionally, the standard ECO PRO mode decouples the driveline from the engine when coasting to save fuel. There’s also a stop/start feature that automatically shuts off the engine when you come to a stop. Naturally, all X5′s come equipped with a vast assortment of luxo-stuff, such as a panoramic sunroof, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, 10.2-inch touch-screen and a nine-speaker audio package. As before, the X5 can be ordered with a third-row bench, a variety of up-level audio systems and a seemingly never-ending number of trim, wheel and electronic safety choices that can raise prices well above base levels. Not yet ready to return is the X5 M that for 2013 was rated at 555 horsepower. For now, buyers will have to content themselves with the M Sport option that includes a special aero body kit, 19-inch double-spoke wheels (20-inch rims are available), sport seats and unique interior trim.

Base price (incl. destination): $53,700
Type: Four-door sport-utility vehicle
Base engine (hp): 3.0-liter DOHC I6, turbocharged (300)
Optional engines (hp): 4.4-liter DOHC V8, turbocharged (445); 3.0-liter DOHC I6, turbo-diesel (255)
Layout: Front-engine, rear -/all-wheel-drive
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 198/27 (RWD)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; rear side-impact airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 4,680