So, you’re a wealthy sort who thinks nothing of spending sixty grand on a car. That means you can forget about the running costs. Right? Well, no, actually.

Even entrepreneurs and footballers who choose BMW X5s are conscious of economy, it seems.

CAP Automotive, the Leeds-based car information experts, say green conscious car buyers are more interested in the ownership costs of a BMW X5 than any other car. Motorists, all in the market for a new car, researched the long-term ownership costs for a total of 256 different models on CAP Automotive’s Total Cost of Motoring website facility during December.

The BMW X5 topped the list of most investigated cars, with four per cent of all queries. A more expected runner-up to the luxury chart-topper was the Ford Fiesta, but this just goes to show that even well-heeled drivers taking costs into account such as depreciation, fuel, servicing, road tax and other factors.

Prestige cars make a strong showing in consumers’ motoring cost research, with Porsche Cayenne, BMW 5 Series and Lexus IS all appearing in the top ten.

CAP’s Retail & Consumer expert, Philip Nothard said: “We know that large 4x4s have been one of the largest growth sectors in recent years – even during the recession – and this data shows that many people have a luxury SUV in mind for their next car.”

That’s good news for BMW, a company which manages to both a luxury and a cost-conscious brand at the same time. Efficient dynamics, they call it.

So, it was with a clear conscious that I took to the road in a gleaming black X5. Price? Whisper it, but it costs £63,920. Expensive? Of course, but all things are relative and compared to a Range Rover (from £71,310) it’s a frugal motor. OK, so you needn’t pay quite so much for your sports activity vehicle (that’s BMW’s term for what other makers call SUVs (sport utility vehicles). The X5 starts at £42,000 and if that still sounds pricey, you’ll probably be more at home with a new X3 (£29,000). The X5, you see, is posh and proud of it. The latest just-launched version is the third generation and it’s fair to say they have become more upmarket with each re-invention.

So, what do you get for £63,920? Well, this is the BMW xDrive 50i M-Sport. That may look like a collection of letters but it means it’s the beefiest of the X5 series.

Power is from a 4.4 litre V8 32 valve unit which punches 449bhp via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Insurance is group 48 and it manages 20mpg around town or 26.9 on a run.

Top speed is a notional 155mph and it will reach 60mph in five seconds which puts it in Ferrari and Porsche territory. It would do very well off road if you ever dared take it down dirt tracks or through rivers. It’s more at home though as a grand tourer and it rides and handles limousine-style. It is available with five TwinPower Turbo engines – four diesel and one petrol – a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and the option of two or four-wheel drive (sDrive and xDrive). In the UK it will be offered in SE or M Sport specifications.

Innovations have been added to the BMW ConnectedDrive system to enhance the active safety, convenience and ‘infotainment’ facilities of the new X5.

The new Driving Assistant includes lane departure warning and a pedestrian and collision warning system with braking function. This first alerts the driver to a potential accident, primes the brakes and then initiates moderate braking at speeds of up to 35mph. The Driving Assistant Plus package adds active cruise control with ‘Stop & Go’ to maintain a safe distance to vehicles ahead from 19mph through a combination of a front-end camera and full-range radar sensors. It can brake the X5 to a standstill if necessary. Attention Assistant can sense possible driver fatigue and issue audible and visual alerts. There is also the standard BMW Emergency Call, which identifies the X5’s position after an accident and advises the BMW Call Centre of the severity of the impact, the number of occupants and if any airbags were triggered.

The glare-free high-beam assistant allows full beam to be maintained even when there are other vehicles approaching or immediately ahead by masking the portion of the light pattern which could blind other drivers.

BMW X5 xDrive 50iM Sport five-door PRICE: £63,920. Range starts at £42,000 ENGINE: A 4.4 litre V8 generating 449bhp PERFORMANCE: Top speed 155mph, 0 to 60mph in five seconds COSTS: Combined 29.6mpg EMISSIONS: 244g/km INSURANCE: Group 48 WARRANTY: Three years, unlimited mileage