• The 2014 BMW X5 crossover is fully redesigned.
  • Highlights include a new rear-wheel-drive base model, a thoroughly modernized interior and numerous safety innovations.
  • The 2014 X5 will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The wait is almost over, crossover fans. The fully redesigned 2014 BMW X5 has been officially unveiled and will hit dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The current X5 has enjoyed an unusually long production run, having debuted way back in 2007. Thanks to continual improvements along the way -- including new engines and a revamped iDrive interface -- this X5 remains a strong contender in 2013, its seventh year on the market. Its age has begun to show, though, as both its chassis and interior trace their origins back a full decade to the previous-generation 5 Series sedan. With numerous rivals receiving redesigns in recent years, the X5 was overdue for an overhaul.

That's where the 2014 X5 comes in. Its exterior styling isn't revolutionary, but tweaks like enlarged headlights and a prominent side-panel crease have brought it into line with BMW's current design language. Inside, the revamped dashboard sports updated black panel controls and a tablet-like 10.2-inch iDrive display. In a historic first for the X5 nameplate, the entry-level 2014 X5 will come with rear-wheel drive instead of the usual all-wheel drive, which both improves fuel economy and keeps costs down. And on the safety front, the new Active Driving Assistant package contributes a lane departure warning system and a collision warning system with automatic braking up to 37 miles per hour.

The changes under the hood are more subtle. The base 35i models continue to be powered by BMW's turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6, with output unchanged at an even 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. The 50i likewise borrows its twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 from the outgoing model, though some engineering trickery has bumped output to 445 hp and 480 lb-ft -- increases of 45 and 30, respectively. The turbodiesel 35d trim level (not available until the first quarter of 2014) technically receives an all-new 3.0-liter inline-6, but output actually drops a bit to 255 hp and 413 lb-ft. Nonetheless, BMW claims the newly standard 8-speed automatic transmission will yield comparable or better performance than the outgoing 35d with its 6-speed automatic.

As usual, BMW will offer a dizzying array of options, but we're more impressed by the comprehensive array of standard features, including dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic moonroof and even dynamic cruise control.

What it means to you: Thoughtful updates make BMW's top-of-the-line crossover a must-drive for 2014. Stay tuned for further coverage, including driving impressions, when available.

author photo

Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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