Starting near $55,000, the 2016 BMW X5 is priced in line with its luxury competitors. Some features should be standard, not optional, but BMW does go beyond the usual techno fare with some available features.
All models come with power features; Bluetooth; an AM/FM/CD player with USB port; synthetic-leather upholstery; stop-start; power front heated seats; parking sensors; a panoramic moonroof; a power tailgate; 18-inch wheels with run-flat all-season tires; and a four-year/50,000-mile warranty with roadside service and free regular maintenance.
A rearview camera is a $400 option; any color other than white or gray is a $550 additional cost; and leather upholstery costs $1,450 at minimum. Most would think these features would be standard given the price tag. If you want all-wheel drive, you'll need to step up into the X5 xDrive35i, which is priced from just over $57,000 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, xLine, and M Sport. Luxury Line and xLine packages bring more personalization, with coordinated interior trims that are a step more attention-getting. The xLine features satin aluminum and high-gloss finishes, while the Luxury Line gets blacked-out grille chrome strips and some sporty cues. The 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.
Then come the quick-pick packages: the third-row seat; 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; a 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; parking assist; a Harman Kardon audio system or a Bang & Olufsen setup; night vision; and a rear-seat entertainment system. Nineteen-inch wheels with all-season tires and 20-inch wheels with summer tires are also optional.
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?
The X5 xDrive50i makes the rearview camera, metallic paints, 19-inch wheels, front ventilated seats, and leather upholstery standard. Its above-and-beyond options include most of the above, plus an Executive package with ceramic knobs and switches, Harman Kardon audio, head-up display, satellite radio, keyless entry, and side window shades.
New for 2016 is the X5 xDrive40e model. It is priced at about $63,000 and comes with the base equipment plus adjustable damper control, the self-leveling rear air suspension, and the navigation system.
BMW's iDrive infotainment controller is standard for all X5 models. It operates the available navigation system and other ancillary functions, and displays on a freestanding 10.2-inch screen.
On the smartphone-connectivity front, the BMW Apps system is 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. 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.