Jan 3, 2020

What we're driving: The 2020 BMW X5 M50i

BMW X5 M50i. Photo courtesy of BMW

Over the holiday break, we drove the 2020 BMW X5 M50i to Michigan's snowy Upper Peninsula for a brief family getaway.

The big picture: The M50i is a souped-up version of BMW's midsize luxury SUV, delivering a faster, sportier ride than the standard X5.

  • Its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 delivers 523 horsepower, and dashes from 0 to 60 in just 4.1 seconds.
  • Unfortunately for us, we encountered heavy fog and a driving rain on the trip, so testing that claim seemed unwise.

With BMW's iDrive cockpit infotainment system, you can control features with the large iDrive controller knob mounted on the center console, or through the large touchscreen center display, cloud-based voice controls or simple hand gestures.

  • While BMW's hand gesture controls are novel, I think it's easier just to reach for a knob to turn up the volume.

Driver assistance: The M50i comes with a full list of assisted-driving features, all with fancy names under BMW's "Driving Assistance Professional" package.

  • But I'm trying to stick to my New Year's resolution, so I'll describe the nuances between a few.
  • Extended Traffic Jam Assistance helps with vehicle acceleration, braking and steering in slow-moving highway traffic.
  • Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go will brake and accelerate to maintain a prescribed distance behind a vehicle in front, even if it comes to a complete stop.

The bottom line: The BMW X5 M50i starts at $83,145, which is what you'd expect for a high-performance luxury SUV.

Go deeper: The top contenders for 2020 North American vehicle of the year

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Cruise says new self-driving van will save passengers $5,000 a year

Cruise Origin, a driverless EV that Cruise plans to use for ride-sharing. (Photo: courtesy of Cruise)

Cruise unveiled a six-passenger, electric, driverless vehicle in San Francisco Tuesday night, heralding it as the start of a new era of low-cost, shared transportation that will save the average household $5,000 a year.

Why it matters: With no steering wheel, pedals or gasoline engine, the boxy Cruise Origin, co-developed with Honda, represents "the transportation system you’d build, if you could start from scratch," according to Cruise CEO Dan Ammann, a former president of General Motors.

Go deeperArrowJan 22, 2020

The race to own the media experience in self-driving cars

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

One of the big themes at CES this year has been the race to own the media experience when cars go driverless.

Why it matters: The complications around who will own the data, how connectivity will work and what "driverless" actually means haven't stopped companies from making big announcements this year.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020

What we're driving: 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe. Photo: Courtesy of Hyundai

This week I'm driving the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe, an underrated mid-size crossover SUV.

The big picture: There are so many crossovers on the market these days, it's hard to tell them apart. But I like the styling of the Santa Fe, whose athletic lines help distinguish it from the rest.