BMW Design Director on the 2014 X5

BMW has revealed the new X5 SAV, the third generation of the best-selling SUV in its segment since the car was first introduced in 1999.

The new X5 (nee F15) is longer, lower and wider than the previous generation, but not by much. Measuring 4886mm wide, 1762mm tall, and 1938mm wide with a wheelbase of 2933mm, it has effectively grown 28mm longer whilst being only 5mm wider, and its roofline is now 14mm lower than the model it replaces.

People will have no difficulty recognizing the new X5, as it retains the same basic proportions as the previous generation, with a short front overhang, long wheelbase, upright A-pillars and a short dash to axle ratio. Though the new design also features a larger grille which is joined with larger, swept back headlamps. The brand identity is consistent — as is expected of the premium German manufacturer — and BMW’s now characteristic horizontal taillamps, which adorn the rear end of all current models in the range, also add to the family feel.

It is also more aerodynamic than the previous generation thanks in part to BMW’s air curtains, which move air flow away from the front wheels and allow it to escape aft of the rear wheels through ‘air breathers’ in the fender. The X5 is also the first model to feature the company’s ‘aero blades’ above the tailgate, which further contribute to decrease drag. The result is an impressive 0.31Cd on the xDrive30d. Compared to the outgoing model’s 0.33Cd, it’s enough to render it best in class.

The new X5’s interior will also be recognizable to anyone familiar with the carmaker’s products. As its exterior dimensions would suggest, it has also grown larger and now features an ‘easy entry’ function to more easily access the occasional-use third row seats, which fold away into the load floor. There is also a choice for a ‘comfort’ seating option in the second row, which adds heating and adjustment functions as well as bespoke upholstery.

The horizontal structure of the layered surfaces underlines the broad sweep of the instrument panel and accentuates cabin space as well, while the three-dimensional surfaces gives it a sense of depth. There is also a freestanding ‘control display’ linked to the standard iDrive system which can be fitted with a screen up to 10.25-inches in diameter.

As has become common practice for premium automakers, there are numerous individualization options available to personalize the new X5, including two new ‘design worlds’ for both the interior and exterior. Buyers can choose from an assortment of color options, trim and accent pieces, wood finishes and leather upholstery, which can be had in a choice of seven colors.


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