Pay-off is in ar­rears

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Prestige - TIM VAUGHAN CARS­GUIDE DEPUTY EDI­TOR

THREE of us walk into the Cars­guide garage, each with keys to Ger­man ve­hi­cles. “Who’s got the Panzer?” query the other two. I whip out the weighty key fob of the BMW X5: “That’ll be me.”

Yes, it has the tank-like stance and styling of the sib­lings in the third-gen­er­a­tion of what BMW likes to call its SAV, or sports ac­tiv­ity ve­hi­cle. But this one, re­joic­ing in the moniker of sDrive25d, de­parts from the for­mula — it’s the new base model and it’s rear-wheel drive.

VALUE

It’s fur­nished on par with the all-wheel drive ver­sions, but at $82,900 it’s thou­sands cheaper and, with its small dis­place­ment twin-turbo diesel and slightly less mass, it’s rel­a­tively fru­gal in its juice use.

The sticker brings it back to two other Ger­man turbo diesel SUVs, Benz’s ML250 CDI ($83,500) and VW’s Touareg V6 TDI ($80,790), both AWD.

It also can be mas­sively op­tioned up. The list reads like the famed Nie­man Mar­cus cat­a­logue, mak­ing the bling op­por­tu­ni­ties al­most un­lim­ited, so the neigh­bours don’t need to know you’re in the starter car.

A prac­ti­cal ad­di­tion, as fit­ted to the test ve­hi­cle, is the $1300 sur­round view. Just get it. Re­frain from the $2K metal­lic paint op­tion and in­vest in­stead in 19-inch wheels ($2100- $2500), as the 18-inch­ers fit­ted as stan­dard look, well, weeny.

TECH­NOL­OGY

The rear-driver and its AWD coun­ter­part, the xDrive25d at $87,900, don’t lack tech-spec, shar­ing the “Pro­fes­sional” sat­nav (viewed via the ripper panoramic 10.2-inch screen), au­dio, Blue­tooth and in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity with the se­nior

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