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

Go deeper

Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: George Floyd's last words are "a wake-up call for our nation"

Former Vice President Joe Biden meets with clergy members and community activists during a visit to Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del. on June 1, 2020. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden is calling George Floyd’s dying words “a wake-up call for our nation,” and criticized President Trump’s decision to unleash tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House, in a civil rights speech from Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Biden in the address drew a sharp contrast between himself and Trump, whose first remarks addressing nationwide unrest Monday highlighted law and order, extreme demonstrations of militarized “strength” and other blustery threats.

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 6,302,318 — Total deaths: 376,322 — Total recoveries — 2,716,924Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,812,125 — Total deaths: 105,192 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response.
  4. Business: Coronavirus could lower GDP by $15.7 trillion — More than 1 in 6 black workers lost jobs between February and April.
  5. Climate: The alarm over climate financial risk gets louder because of coronavirus.
  6. Media: Interest in the George Floyd protests has soared past the coronavirus.

The business of tear gas

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

U.S. forces yesterday used tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House gates, prior to a declared curfew, clearing a path for President Trump to visit a riot-damaged church for a photo opportunity.

The state of play: Two of the largest U.S. producers of tear gas are owned by private equity firms, but those firms have no interest in discussing their ownership.