2015 BMW X5 Features

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Features

With a base price of nearly $54,000, the 2015 BMW X5 keeps in line with its competitors. There are a few options that we feel should be standard for that money, but others seem more high-tech than you'd find in other vehicles. We'll start with the infotainment system.

BMW X5 infotainment

It's easy to spend more than $70,000 on an X5, but the base model is reasonably well equipped; it gets standard Bluetooth and USB this year.

BMW's iDrive infotainment controller is standard on the X5. It operates the available navigation system and other ancillary functions, and displays on a new freestanding 10.2-inch screen. The iDrive controller now has a touchpad-style surface on its controller for text entry, Palm Pilot-style.

On the smartphone-connectivity front, BMW Apps (now with various audio-app options) are now standard, with a little help from Apple's iTunes. Connecting to the infotainment system via the iTunes-available, iPhone-based app allows drivers to hear their Facebook and Twitter feed, listen to web-based audio streams, and to tap into apps like Pandora and Stitcher. They're woven into the iDrive controller, which has a puck-shaped dial for navigation through commands and settings, and a touchpad surface for entering text Palm Pilot-style. Voice commands go deeper into the X5's audio and navigation than before: the combination of options of voice controls, dial entry or scratchpad writing, and steering-wheel controls can be overwhelming until you've spent hours upon hours at the controls.

Buyers have a choice of two premium-audio systems—Harman Kardon or Bang & Olufsen, the latter of which has 1,200 watts of power and 16 speakers. There's also a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with twin screens roughly the size of an iPad Mini, attached to the headrests of the front seats. Those systems always beg the question for us: why not just invest in a pair of mobile tablets and an indestructible case?

Everything else

The base X5 comes with rear-wheel drive, the V-6/eight-speed drivetrain, and power windows, locks, and mirrors; AM/FM/CD player with USB port; Bluetooth with audio streaming; Sensatec synthetic-leather upholstery; 18-inch wheels with run-flat all-season tires; stop/start; a panoramic moonroof; power front heated seats; parking sensors; a power tailgate; and a four-year/50,000-mile warranty with roadside service and free regular maintenance.

On the slightly puzzling side, a rearview camera is a $400 option; any color other than flat white or flat black brings a $550 upcharge; and leather upholstery costs $1,400 at minimum. And if you want all-wheel drive, you'll need to step up into the X5 xDrive35i, which is priced from just over $56,000 and is equipped identically. The xDrive 35d offers similar equipment for $1,500 more in base price. These two all-wheel-drive models can be upgraded to the Dynamic Handling Package, with a rear air suspension and variable damper control, as well as active-roll stabilization.

The X5 can be ordered in one of three trim lines. Luxury Line and xLine packages bring more personalization, with coordinated interior trims that are a step more attention-getting—with Satin Aluminum and high-gloss finishes in the $2,600 xLine and a blacked-out grille chrome strips, and some sporty cues for the $1,700 Luxury Line. The $4,600 M Sport adds a body kit, Shadowline trim, high-gloss roof rails, sport seats, an anthracite headliner, and various other high-performance cues as well as an option for an M Adaptive suspension. Prices for these trim lines are slightly lower on V-8 models.

Then come the quick-pick packages: the third-row seat ($1,700); a cold-weather package with heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel; a driver-assistance package with a rearview camera and a head-up display; full LED lighting package; ventilated multi-contour front seats; blind-spot monitors, surround-view cameras, and speed-limit monitors; and a premium package with keyless entry, soft-close doors, satellite radio, and leather upholstery.

Stand-alone options include active steering (except on sDrive); the active air suspension; a Nappa-leather dashboard; four-zone climate control; adaptive cruise control with full-stop and following capability (see the safety section for more); parking assist; a Harman Kardon audio system ($875) or a Bang & Olufsen setup ($4,500); night vision; and a rear-seat entertainment system. Nineteen-inch wheels with all-season tires and 20-inch wheels with summer tires are optional on all those models.

The X5 xDrive50i makes the rearview camera, metallic paints, 19-inch wheels; front ventilated seats, and leather upholstery are standard. Its above-and-beyond options include most of the above, and additionally, an executive package with ceramic knobs and switches, Harman Kardon audio, head-up display, satellite radio, keyless entry, and side window shades.

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