Pay-off is in arrears
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.
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.
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