Features

The 535i xDrive starts at $55,800 and comes with a fair amount of standard features, like a panoramic moonroof, xenon headlights and rain-sensing windshield wipers. As with most BMWs, though, it's very easy to load it up with option packages and extravagant features. Our tester was loaded with so many it stickered at almost $74,000.

Leather seats aren't standard, leatherette is, but BMW adds leather in its Value Package, which comes at no extra cost and also includes an iPod and USB adapter, a heated steering wheel and heated seats. A Premium Package ($2,500) adds a power liftgate. The Sport Package ($1,400) includes comfort seats and black trim around the windows. An M Sport Package ($3,000) includes everything in the Sport Package plus 18-inch alloy wheels, an exterior aero kit, a sport steering wheel, and unique paint and interior combinations.

There are a number of stand-alone options as well. The one I would seriously recommend is the comfort seats ($1,200). These feature a number of additional adjustments and are some of the best seats I've ever tested. Less necessary are the heads-up display ($1,200) and night vision ($2,200). Both are intended to make driving safer, but are definitely not worth their cost.

Navigation is another $1,900, while a premium stereo is $1,200. Other safety features, like active cruise control ($2,400) and lane departure warning ($950) are nowhere near as useful as the park distance control ($750). Parking sensors have been around a long time, but BMW uses a very simple diagram on the center LCD screen that tells you exactly how close you are to objects while parking. Unlike backup cameras that distort your surroundings, this clear diagram takes even more of the guesswork out of tricky maneuvers.

As you can see, it's not that hard to get above the $70,000 mark.

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