Good luck finding another rare example in this condition.
BMW faced some backlash from loyalists when it launched its first-ever SUV back in 1999. The BMW X5 has not only become one of the brand's best-selling vehicles, but also paved the way for an entire SUV lineup that now consists of seven models and many variants, such as those from the M performance division. SUVs are now big business for BMW and there's no indication this will change anytime soon.
Now in its fourth generation, the X5 has always been a luxury performance vehicle, or a Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV) in BMW-speak, but there's one feature the first-gen offered that has yet to be seen since: a manual transmission. The original X5, internally referred to as the E53, was on the market until 2006 and was actually developed during the time when BMW owned Land Rover.
This obviously proved to be immensely beneficial because BMW had no past SUV experience. Engineers had direct access to Land Rover tech, parts, and systems such as hill-descent control. But unlike Land Rovers, the X5's off-road capabilities were scaled back, hence the SAV moniker. A choice of engines were offered, a 3.0-liter inline-six and a 4.4-liter V8. A majority of buyers opted for the automatic transmission option despite BMW offering a manual. E53 X5s with a manual still in prime condition can be extremely hard to come by now but there just so happens to be one for sale on Cars And Bids.
This low-mileage, one-owner (71,700 miles) five-speed manual-equipped 2002 X5 is finished in Titanium Silver Metallic with a black leather interior.
Aside from the manual, it's equipped with 17-inch wheels, Park Distance Control, automatic Xenon headlights, and rear sunshades. More recently, the owner installed a Pioneer infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity. Its M54 inline-six is good for 225 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque, and the manual distributes that power to all four wheels. The seller does note it was involved in an accident in late 2013 that resulted in "minor damage" to the rear driver's side. There's also a few dings and scrapes on some parts of the body, and some rust on the wheels and brake calipers.
None of this is unusual for a nearly 20-year-old vehicle. As of this writing, the highest bid was just over $8,200 but the auction has a few days left, wrapping on December 28.