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Test Driven: 2014 BMW X5 M50d

Having been a two-time BMW X5 owner, my expectations of the new generation X5 were slightly elevated. We were not expecting it to drive itself, rather see considerable improvements where the previous had lacked. It should also be noted this is the current top of the range 2014 BMW X5 M50d model. A car with all the environmentally friendly attributes of a diesel automobile and Efficient Dynamics, mixed with the bone crunching pedigree of the M badge.

The Exterior
The new X5 design is not completely new, it feels more like an evolution of the new X3 model. Squarer lines, longer and bigger in the nose (like my father) and a touch narrower feel than the previous model. We had two full weeks to get used to the new design but somehow it still required a little more time. Regardless, there are many other great exterior touches such as the front air intake gills and more angular styling throughout. Paired with a 20 inch set of M-Sport rims the new X5 feels modern and fresh. It’s not necessarily designed to turn heads, but is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and remains a smart looking SUV that’s ready to drive over any garden leaves a Brighton mansion has to offer.

The Interior
Magical. As per usual the interior of the X5 is spacious with the luxurious touches of the M-Sport nappa leather package. Everything feels as smooth as a baby’s bottom. New features include a simplified centre console with parking sensor buttons and 4WD options shifted closer to the driver, as well as a simpler iDrive system. As mentioned before the M-Sport steering wheel has been reengineered and it is now easier to surf the radio and make phone calls. The bluetooth kit has also improved with a quicker and more seamless integration with your phone. The back seat is still slightly on the small side, but if your cargo’s kids or dogs then it’s fine.

One of the coolest features is the addition of LED lighting inside the car, which at night offers a nice detail that wraps around driver and passenger. Overall the X5 interior continues to feel like a cockpit and less like you’re driving an SUV which is a good thing.

The Performance
Having driven both the 2014 50i petrol and this, the diesel M50d package, we can safely say that they are worlds apart. One smooth, the other angry like a poked bear. The M50d retains the 3.0-litre straight-six unit featuring M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology with three-stage turbocharging. Although this engine has identical outputs to its predecessor of 280 kW and 740 Nm, the 0–100 km/h time of the BMW X5 M50d has improved by 0.1 seconds to 5.3 seconds. The average fuel consumption is down to just 6.7 litres per 100km. If you’re looking for quicker, then the 5.0 petrol model will shave 0.3 off that time, but with our driving we were averaging 20 litres per 100km in fuel consumption. Yikes!

In addition to plenty of pep in its step, the new BMW X5 now has the added ability to change the drive with adaptive suspension which can be set to suit the mood or moment. Another feature which takes a while to get used to is the automatic stop / start of the engine when you’re at traffic lights. Designed to reduce emissions and save fuel, you’ll find yourself wondering why the car has just died.

Overall the new X5 presents a ride that’s incredibly smooth, power is on when you need it and the steering light as a feather which is perfect for the Toorak mums out there.

Final thoughts
We love the new BMW X5. The only downside with performance was the noise output. Inside the car it sounds magnificent, outside it still sounds like a turbo diesel. We will get used to the design and will love it eventually and the interior is bang on. The 2014 BMW X5 M50d is the perfect car to launch the well-established and trusted range from the German car maker. At this point we’re looking forward to driving the X5M in 2015.

Basic 2014 BMW X5 M50d model + on road costs is roughly AUD $160,000.

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