2014 BMW X5 xDrive 40d F15
The F15 X5 represents an excellent option for those in the market for a used SUV daily driver – we take a look at serial BMW owner Ron Edgington’s example. Words: Dan Bevis Photography: Jason Dodd Strength.
BMW's best used SUV
When the apocalypse comes – and with all of the environmental mayhem we’ve wreaked upon the planet in recent years, it’s surely on its way – it might be a good idea to have an escape plan in place. Canned goods, bottled water, perhaps some manner of corrugated steel arrangement to hide under, plus of course an arsenal of gnarly weaponry to fend off the four horseman as they gallop past and try to harvest your soul. Perhaps the most important thing will be to ensure that you have some form of unstoppable vehicle, an ineffably sturdy and rugged set of wheels to help you bound across the scorched and rutted earth at high speed. Now, Hollywood’s had a fair crack at guessing what manner of post-apocalyptic vehicle might do the trick; Mad Max swore by a Ford Falcon muscle car, but we’d suggest something with a bit more ground clearance. How about the 12-wheeled Landmaster from the obscure 1977 flick Damnation Alley? No, that’s taking things a bit too far. What you need, really, is a sturdy and capable SUV.
The term ‘SUV’ gets banded around a lot these days, as it’s become indicative of an incredibly fast-growing and all-pervading automotive sector, and indeed the format has been around since the 1940s – but until relatively recently, the ‘S’ for ‘Sport’ was generally more of a conceptual notion. The owners lived active lifestyles, they needed vehicles to cart around the paraphernalia of their sporty pursuits along with a bunch of mates (or the kids and the dog). But it’s important to remember what the ‘S’ really stands for. It’s all very well applying this ubiquitous initialism to any large family wagon that fits within certain dimensional criteria, but the purpose of the term is all but lost when Chevrolet Captiva or the Kia Sportage (despite the latter’s attempt to sneak under the radar with its fast-sounding name). What you need to truly fulfil the brief is something that’s actually quick. And obviously being quick is a crucial facet in making your wagon of choice apocalypse-proof.
“I have owned about twenty BMWs in total, and only one was purchased new”
It’s a massive marketplace, that goes without saying; there are countless iterations of the SUV formula – but having observed the depreciation curve and talked to a stream of uniformly impressed owners, we’d suggest that the truly hot ticket right now is the F15-generation X5. This is the third generation of the perennially popular model; the genesis of the template, the E53, arrived way back in 1999, its roots stretching back to BMW’s acquisition of Land Rover in 1994. Any 1990s BMW engineers reading this will no doubt be squirming with barely-concealed rage at the relentless use of the term SUV, as in fact they were super-keen to have the X5 referred to as ‘SAV’, a Sports Activity Vehicle, although what you tell people to call things and what they actually call them are often two different things. Either way, the formula proved to be sufficiently game-changing for the brand that its enduring popularity saw it grow across numerous evolutions.
Launched in 2013, the F15 was a technological powerhouse, offered to market with a broad spread of engine options and an eye-watering options list. Discerning buyers could pick and choose from such alluring treats as fine-grain Merino leather, piano black interior trim, 16-speaker audio systems from either Bang & Olufsen or Harmon Kardon, Parking Assistant, and much more besides. With ultra-high-tensile steel through the body structure, thermoplastic side panels and an aluminium bonnet, it was as light as it was strong, while the crisp styling ensured it didn’t look as top-heavy as previous models had. The example we have here is arguably the sweet spot of the range, the xDrive40d.
This is the variant that came equipped with the N57 3.0-litre straight-six turbo-diesel in a 309hp state of tune. Horsepower isn’t the headline with a brawny diesel, however – it’s the stump-pulling torque that really impresses, with the xDrive40d serving up a muscular 465lb ft, meaning that the driver is endlessly surfing on a fat and juicy wave of twist. This X5 is the prized possession of Ron Edgington, a serial BMW enthusiast with a huge passion for the marque.
“I have owned about twenty BMWs in total, and only one was purchased new,” he says. “I find you get a lot of car for the price when the models are over three years old, and I have not bought another make of car this century!” Buying this 2014-model X5 late last year, the purchase price was around 45 percent of what it would have cost new, which seems rather remarkable given that it was a 54,000-mile one-owner example in excellent all-original condition. And it fits into Ron’s car buying history perfectly.
“I bought my first BMW back in 1992,” he recalls, with a glint of nostalgia in his eye. “That car was an H-reg 318is – only 147hp, but it was my pride and joy. I gradually moved up the sporty chain to a 320i coupé, a 325i coupé, and then two M3s in succession – the 321hp Evolution followed by the successor to that model. At this stage all of the cars I owned were either coupé or convertible models, taking me up to about 2005. From then on I became a bit more grown-up and bought a 3.0-litre 5 Series, which had the perfect blend of comfort, luxury and performance. That one was the iconic E39, reputed when it first came out to be the best car in the world, or so I read anyway. It was then replaced by the 530d which featured recently in BMW Car magazine. That did not disappoint either, and it was my first diesel car as well.”
You can see how the stepping stones led to this point, can’t you? With a creeping sense of responsibility fuelled by a growing family, Ron was keen to transfer his enthusiasm for Bavarian propellors into something more rugged, and it’s interesting to note how this represents something of a shift in his own perceptions of the SUV/SAV formula over the years. “When the X5 first came out all those years ago, I wondered what BMW were up to,” he admits. “I simply didn’t like the concept of what essentially was a truck, as the Americans call them. However, over the years I have grown to like SUVs, ironically because BMW started to make them! As a car-maker I trust them implicitly – they do know what they are doing.” And so, with this marked change in outlook, it was time for Ron to hunt down an X5 of his own, following the now-established formula of picking up a decent used example and allowing someone else to swallow the bulk of the depreciation. His wife’s 530d Touring had been serving well as the family workhorse, fusing comfort and style with safety and reliability, but the time had come to level up.
“The X5 was purchased from a local ‘one man band’ car dealer,” Ron tells us. “I was a little suspicious because of that, but I was reassured when I saw all of the service history, which is stored in the iDrive and was confirmed to be accurate by my local BMW main dealer. It had 54k miles on the clock and was all in completely standard spec. If it’s serviced at the required times, I don’t expect too many problems in the next six years, when I will probably sell it and replace it with the current model. And the kids have really fallen for it – they love the ride height and all the space, they don’t want to be driven around in something as low down as a 5 Series any more!”
It’s proven to be a dependable sidekick; Ron’s work involves a lot of driving all over Kent, and every one of those miles has been pleasant and enjoyable. The X5 has really slotted into his lifestyle on all levels. “All my friends love it, even those who are not SUV enthusiasts,” he beams. “The F15 certainly has not disappointed. The xDrive40d model is very fast, with stunning acceleration for what is a straight-six diesel engine. All-in-all I am very pleased with it – and I can’t wait for the next heavy blizzard to see how it tackles the snow.” Comfortable, capable, practical, entertaining – the F15 xDrive40d really does tick a lot of boxes. And with prices the way they are right now, this apocalypse-proof SUV makes an extremely strong case for itself.
Getting behind the wheel of an F15 like this could cost you a lot less than you think. Naturally there’s a broad spread of prices across the various spec levels and registration years, so let’s focus solely on the xDrive40d M Sport, like Ron’s example here. On today’s market, it’s possible to pick up an X5 like this for around £24,000 on a 2014-plate. The F15 generation was replaced in 2018, and if you’re looking at cars like this on a last-of-the-line 2018-plate then it’ll be around £32k or thereabouts. With brand-new X5s starting from £61,995 in the showrooms (and actually quite a bit more with options), these F15s are looking like outstanding value in 2022.
2014 BMW X5 xDrive 40d F15
- ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: N57 3.0-litre straight-six turbo-diesel, 8-speed Steptronic ZF 8HP
- CHASSIS: 19” M alloy wheels, Active Roll Stabilisation, M suspension
- EXTERIOR: M Sport trim, black kidney grilles
- INTERIOR: M Sport trim, black leather trim, Sport steering wheel
With plenty of space and a well-appointed cabin there’s nothing to moan about inside. This is Ron’s first SUV and he’s getting on famously with it and its high ride height – and it seems that the kids love it too!