Value is a key element in automotive purchase decisions, but its definition varies considerably according to the buyer’s proclivities, which can lead to some interesting arithmetic. Consider the new BMW X5. If power absolutely rules your gotta-have-it list of traits, the choice is pretty simple: You need the X5 xDrive50i, with its 445-hp, 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8, which moves the 2.5-plus-ton SUV from 0-to-60 mph in a darn snappy 4.3 seconds. It’s the hottest X5 you can buy, at least until a next-gen M version comes along.
But if your buyer’s brain operates on a system of checks and balances, you’ll be feeding other factors into the equation. For example: the base price of the X5 xDrive50i—$69,125—is $13,100 north of the base for the X5 xDrive35i. The 35i is propelled by a turbocharged inline-six that generates 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. That means you’d be paying $6550 for each of the 50i’s additional cylinders and a little over $90 for each additional pony.