THERE is no question about it, the second-generation BMW X5 pretty much became the benchmark for large luxurious SUVs soon after it was launched in 2007.
OK, there was plenty of competition from the likes of Audi, Porsche, Infiniti, Volvo, Mercedes, Lexus, etc., but the big Bavarian beauty was generally thought of as the top dog in this growing sector.
Beautifully refined, economical for its size, spacious enough for seven, comfortable on the hoof and with handling comparable with that of a family hatchback, it was easy to see why it became such a popular choice.
Add to that its stunning good looks with muscular, ready-for-action design, finished off with 20-inch alloys and dark tinted windows, one model that really showed it meant business was the six-pot X5 40d M Sport oilburner.
The interior could mix it with the very best, with top-quality heated leather seats, black roof lining, deep pile carpets and soft-feel plastic dash, finished off with highlights of polished aluminium.
Creature comforts were plentiful and included cruise control, four-zone air con system, head-up display and a media package that included DAB radio, sat nav, Bluetooth, BMW Assist and USB interface ... and that was just for starters.
Comfort levels were also pretty exceptional, with ample leg, head and elbow room for three passengers in the middle row to travel in extreme comfort.
There was also masses of space for luggage, as the generously-sized 650-litre boot could easily accommodate the largest of suitcases and could be extended to 1870 litres if needed by folding the split rear seats. In addition, there was also a number of cubby holes scattered throughout the cabin.
So, the X5 M Sport certainly had it all, with its jaw-dropping good looks and a spec level to match. Then there was its performance.
In and around busy city centre traffic, it proved nimble for getting through congested roads and was even relatively easy to park ... courtesy of its parking sensors and side and rear cameras.
But, in all honesty, the X5 came alive on the faster, out-of-town roads. Acceleration via the eight-speed automatic gearbox was both smooth and highly-responsive and the three-litre diesel engine came with all the power you could wish for, good for a maximum speed of 147mph.
The ride itself proved ultra-smooth and very quiet, and should you ever have to take the car off-road, then you really would have no fears on that score, for the X5 was more than capable of trekking over any rough stuff.
Safety features, too, were plentiful, with anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability programme and numerous airbags waiting to protect those on board should ever the need arise.
As a luxurious SUV that was equally at home in busy city streets as it was on high-speed motorways, the BMW X5 pretty much had it all, and as such, second-hand prices hold up well.
A 2010 xDrive 40d M Sport model on a 60-plate will have a price tag somewhere between £19,150 and £35,045 depending on condition and mileage.
Move up a year to 2011 and a 61-plate and prices will range from £22,780 to £28,780, while a 2012 example on a 62-plate will come in at between £26,130 and £32,160.
The above prices are for seven-seat examples and as such carry a £600 to £800 premium over similar spec five-seat models.