Not many choices have to be made when selecting the 40e plug-in hybrid, apart from options that are available for any X5 model. The powertrain combines BMW’s 2-liter TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor, coupled to a lithium-ion battery pack.
Working in concert, the gas engine and electric motor develop 308 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Measured separately, the electric motor provides 111 horsepower and up to 184 pound-feet of torque, whereas 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 lithium-ion battery pack can be charged from any 120-volt, 15-amp electrical outlet. A full charge takes about 7 hours. For greater efficiency, 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 less than 3 hours.
The battery fits beneath the luggage-compartment floor. Luggage capacity is 34.2 cubic feet with rear seats up, expanding to 72.5 cubic feet with those seats folded down.
The X5 xDrive40e can travel up to about 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 breezy 6.5 seconds, according to BMW.
An eDrive button on the center console lets the driver modify powertrain control. Auto eDrive is the default. Max eDrive 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 Pro, 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.
Navigation is standard, with a 10.2-inch screen and a variety of connectivity options. The 200GB hard driver has 20GB for audio files. Standard equipment also includes dual-zone automatic climate control, extended with an auxiliary heating and ventilation system. The X5 xDrive40e comes with 19-inch wheels.
Active cruise control with Stop & Go comes in an option package with four active-safety features. The Driver Assistance Plus Package includes blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning, forward collision warning, city collision mitigation, pedestrian protection, surround-view cameras, and speed-limit information. The Driver Assistance Package includes only a rearview camera and head-up display.
BMW also offers M Sport and Cold Weather option groups. Available individually are Night Vision with pedestrian/animal recognition and a parking assistant. All regular X5 options are available, except for third-row seating, the adaptive M suspension, and comfort rear seats.
BMW started slowly and carefully when introducing electric and hybrid models—in this case, skipping directly into a plug-in version of the latter. At $63,095 (including destination charge), the X5 xDrive40e is priced $4,300 higher than a comparable X5 with a V6 gasoline engine, but a whopping $10,200 lower than an X5 with a gasoline V8. To get some welcome fuel-efficiency from a vehicle that might have seemed an unlikely candidate for hybridization, that might be a fair exchange.
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