No matter how good BMW makes the X5-and, as we'll explain in a second, the 2011 model is better than ever-some people will never be able to get past one little point. Wouldn't you rather have a 5 Series wagon? The answer, as the market has born out, is a resounding Nein! Americans seem to want absolutely nothing to do with a proper station wagon.

They'd rather pay more (both in MSRP and gas) to sit half-a-foot higher off the ground. In fact, BMW's not even bringing the sixth-generation F10 Touring (that's BMW-speak for wagon) to the States. It only sold 400 of the 5 Series 5-doors to us Yanks in 2009. That same year, we bought more than 27,000 X5s. You do the business-case math.

Look long and hard at the 2011 BMW X5 xDrive35i and you will notice ... here's the thing. Even though the sheetmetal for the E70's mid-cycle refresh is new, you'd have to be the biggest BMW fanboy this side of Bavaria to notice the changes. The nostrils are slightly tweaked, while the fog lights have been repositioned inwards, closer to the grille.

In addition, the blade-crossed supplemental air inlets in front of the wheels are larger and more rounded, more closely mimicking the huge air-suckers found on the front of the X5M. Out back, the taillights are ever so slightly altered, and the exhaust pipes are round instead of ovoid.

Much more newsworthy is what lies under the hood. Like 2010, BMW gives X5 customers a choice of three engines. The twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 in the xDrive50i remains unchanged, as does the 3.0-liter diesel inline-six from the xDrive35d, but the 3.0-liter gasoline inline-six loses a turbo. However, the turbo it retains is a twin-scroll turbo.