Car ReviewsFirst Drive

2014 BMW X5 sDrive25d review

Isaac Bober’s first drive 2014 BMW X5 sDrive25d review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.

In a nutshell The X5 sDrive25d is BMW’s first-ever rear-drive, four-cylinder X5 and creates a new entry-level price point.

Practical Motoring Says Offering a new entry-level price point, the BMW X5 sDrive25d is a triumph. It offers plenty of grunt and refinement, impressive fuel consumption and ride and handling that makes you wonder why you’d bother looking at the more expensive models.

BMW HAS JOINED the ranks of other car makers offering SUVs with only one driven axle, and while diehard four-wheel drive fans will likely guffaw at this, it’s actually a very clever move. But that’s not the Headline grabber here, nope, that honour goes to the fact BMW has offered its big SUV with a four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine for the first time ever.

These two facts allow BMW to price the X5 sDrive25d at just $82,900 (+ORC). Yep, that’s a lot of money for a jacked up rear-driver but compared with X5 xDrive30d, the previous entry point in the range, which is priced from $99,900 (+ORC) it’s a veritable bargain. The new, four-cylinder X5 is also in all-wheel drive guise as the xDrive25d, which lists from $87,900 (+ORC).

The price isn’t the only thing to be lower with these two four-cylinder models… and BMW is crowing about the power and torque of its twin-turbo four-cylinder and the miserly fuel consumption. The BMW X5 sDrive25d runs a 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 160kW and 450Nm and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel consumption is a claimed 5.8L/100km for the sDrive25d which rises to 6.0L/100km for the xDrive25d.

2014 BMW X5 sDrive25d review

Unless you were told otherwise you almost wouldn’t know the X5 sDrive 25d was only a four-cylinder model. There’s plenty of grunt from just off idle ensuring easy progress away from traffic lights, or when overtaking at highway speeds; the gearbox is beautifully matched to the smaller engine ensuring smooth up and down shifts exactly when you need them. Don’t misread me, I’m not suggesting the X5 sDrive25d is a rocket ship, not quite, but there’s an ease with which it goes about its business that you don’t expect from a smaller engine in a bigger vehicle.

And while you can tell it’s a diesel when you stamp on the throttle, or demand more of the thing when firing it out of a corner, or when overtaking up a hill, such is the level of insulation and the clever new engine mounts that there’s only ever the faintest hint of diesel clatter inside the cabin.

2014 BMW X5 sDrive25d review

But what’s most impressive about the new X5 sDrive25d is the way it rides and handles. The fact it doesn’t have to drag around the extra weight of all-wheel drive means it feels a little lighter on its feet, more nimble even. What about grip? Well, BMW’s been building rear-drive performance cars for a long time, and so the sDrive25d feels beautifully balanced with a front-end that won’t run wide unless you drive it like an idiot. And even then, the onboard stability and traction controls will keep the thing on track without becoming intrusive.

Like its siblings the X5 sDrive25d offers a firm ride but the damping and long-travel suspension means the worst of the road is soaked up without upsetting the ride. The steering, in typical BMW fashion, is meaty and direct and weights up nicely and naturally as speed builds.

2014 BMW X5 sDrive25d review

Climb inside and the X5 sDrive25 offers punters a beautifully clean interior with straight lines and crisp finishes. As with most BMWs, the dashboard is skewed towards the driver, creating a real cockpit feel and while you sit up nice and high, even in this rear-drive only model, the driving position gives an impression of being sat down inside the car rather than perched up high like some other premium SUVs.

It might be the entry-level model in the X5 range, but the X5 sDrive25d doesn’t feel cheap. You get a touch screen jutting up from the dashboard that offers sat-nav with Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, leather seats, 18-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control; powered tailgate, LED front fog lights and anti-dazzle rear vision mirror, as well as reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors, rain sending wipers and automatic head-light operation.

2014 BMW X5 sDrive25d review

There’s good head, shoulder and leg room for front seat passengers, and plenty of space in the back too. The boot offers 650 litres of storage space with second-row seats in place and 1870 litres with them folded.

The BMW X5 hasn’t been assessed by ANCAP since 2007, but this new X5 gets a full suite of airbags covering the front and back seats, crash-activated head restraints at the front, crash sensors, rollover sensors, stability and traction controls, including cornering brake control and dynamic brake control.

2014 BMW X5 sDrive25d

Pricing From $82,990 (+ORC)
Warranty three years, 150,000km
Safety Not tested
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbocharged diesel
Power/Torque 160kW/450Nm
Transmission eight-speed automatic
Body 4886mm (L); 1938mm (W); 1762mm (H)
Weight 1995kg
Thirst 5.8L/100km


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober