This is the best write up on the thing I have seen, especially the male nipples part
Originally Posted by quackbury
They are not headlights, at least in the US.
In countries where halogens are standard and Xenons are an option, the inner "lights" are the high beams (what you are no doubt expecting).
In the early iterations of Xenons, the bulbs took a while to warm up to operating temps, and their lifespan was shortened dramatically by using them as "flash-to-pass" high beams. So the inner lights were halogen high beams, and used solely for the flash to pass role. The current bi-xenons don't have this issue, so they are used for low, high and flash-to-pass.
IIRC, the pre-LCI E70 used the inner lights for DRL's. The angel eye halos now serve that purpose. And the inner lights were also the cornering lights, but that function is now served by the fogs. (It's been 2 years since we said good-bye to our 2008, so my memory may be faulty on those two roles).
The bottom line: The inner lights on your 2012 are much like male nipples. An interesting indicator of the evolutionary past, but pretty darn useless today.
I myself asked that question as soon as got the car. And I do have mixed feelings about it - on one hand if it is not used, then it should be removed. But then it will not look like a bmw - their style works so well with the double lights that it is hard to imagine a bmw without it. I like the way it looks. Bart Simpson's paradox?
2013 BMW X5 35i Sport Activity SAV, 19", Space Gray, Black Leather, Dark Wood, Convenience, Cold Weather, NAV, BMW Apps, Running Boards, BMW Crossbars, BMW Tow Hook Bike Carrier