Not many choices have to be made when selecting the plug-in hybrid, except for options that are available on any X5 model. The powertrain combines BMW’s 2-liter TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor, connected to a lithium-ion battery pack. Working in concert, the gas engine and electric motor develop 308 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Separately, the electric motor provides 111 horsepower and up to 184 pound-feet of torque, while the gasoline engine develops 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet. An eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission connects to BMW’s xDrive “intelligent” all-wheel drive.
The battery pack can be charged from any 120-volt, 15-amp electrical outlet. Or, a BMW Charging Station may be installed and used. Recharging can also take place at a public charging station. Operating at 220 volts, the BMW Charging Station can fully replenish the battery in about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The battery is housed beneath the luggage-compartment floor. Luggage capacity is 34.2 cubic feet with rear seats up, and 72.5 cubic feet with those seats folded down.
The X5 xDrive40e can travel up to 13 miles on electricity alone, at up to 75 mph, yielding zero tailpipe emissions. The EPA gives it an equivalent fuel-economy rating of 56 MPGe. Acceleration to 60 mph can be accomplished in a swift 6.5 seconds, according to BMW.
An xDrive button on the center console lets the driver modify powertrain control. Max xDrive selects battery-only operation. Save Battery mode lets the driver save or build up the battery’s energy reserves, to be used at a later time.
Driving Dynamics Control provides three driving modes: Comfort, Sport, and Eco, altering throttle mapping, steering characteristics, and transmission operation, as well characteristics of the Dynamic Damper Control. The black-panel instrument cluster provides hybrid-specific displays.
A standard Navigation Professional system offers a variety of connectivity options, including active cruise control with Stop & Go, a head-up display, and Night Vision with pedestrian and animal recognition. Also available are active blind-spot detection, a parking assistant, rearview camera, surround-view display, and speed limit information.
Standard equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control, extended with an auxiliary heating and ventilation system. The X5 xDrive40e comes with 18-inch wheels, but 19-inch wheels are available.
All regular X5 options are available, except for third-row seating, the adaptive M suspension, active steering, and rear comfort seats. The X5 xDrive 40e can be equipped with xLine and Luxury Line trim, inside and out.
BMW has gone slowly and carefully when introducing electric and hybrid models, in this case skipping right into a plug-in version of the latter. At $63,095 (including destination charge), the X5 xDrive40e is priced almost $6,000 higher than a comparable X5 with a V6 gasoline engine, and $8,600 lower than an X5 with a gasoline V8. To get some extra fuel-efficiency from a vehicle that might not have seemed a likely candidate for hybridization, that might be a fair bargain.
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