Competes with: Gas-powered BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Volvo XC60 and XC90 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, Tesla Models Y and X
Looks like: An X5 with an extra fuel door
Powertrain: Turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor and a 24-kilowatt-hour battery for a total system output of 389 horsepower and 443 pounds-feet of torque; eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: July
BMW actually first revealed the plug-in-hybrid version of its X5 SUV in September 2018, but said the U.S. version wouldn’t launch until 2020 as a 2021 model. Well, it’s 2020 and despite everything that’s happened between 2018 and now, the plug-in hybrid X5 is almost here. It boasts significant power increases over the previous X5 plug-in, more electric-only range and the latest in BMW’s safety and infotainment technology.
Related: How Do Car Seats Fit in a 2020 BMW X5?
The X5 xDrive45e PHEV doesn’t look much different from its gas-only counterparts. It’s even available with the M Sport Package that offers unique 20- or 21-inch wheels, blacked-out exterior trim and an aerodynamics kit. The best ways to spot the PHEV version are to read the badging or spot the telltale charging-port door located on the driver-side front fender.
Inside, there’s very little difference; the most significant change is the addition of buttons for Hybrid and Electric drive modes just left of the gear selector. Otherwise, the interior is standard modern BMW fare: a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia system are standard, as are wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. SensaTec faux-leather upholstery is standard, and two grades of leather are optional. The addition of the battery pack does cut into cargo space slightly, however. According to BMW’s measurements, the PHEV version has 0.8 cubic feet less space with the backseat up, and 1.1 cubic feet less with the seats folded down.
Engine and Transmission
Under the hood is where the most significant changes are, both from contemporary gas-only X5s and the previous-generation PHEV. The combined system output from the turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder and electric motor with 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack is up 81 hp and 111 pounds-feet over the outgoing X5 PHEV. That generation used a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor and 12-kwh battery pack.
The result is a much quicker SUV that can go from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds, 1.2 seconds faster than its predecessor. It also results in increased electric-only range, now 30 miles instead of 14. Electric-only top speed also increases to 84 mph from the previous 75.
2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e PHEV (European model shown) | Manufacturer image
BMW’s Active Driving Assistant system is standard and includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear collision warning, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and a display of the current speed limit.
The optional Driving Assistance Professional Package adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure prevention with side collision prevention and BMW’s semi-autonomous Extended Traffic Jam Assistant. It also adds front cross-traffic warning and BMW’s Evasion Assistant collision-avoidance feature.
Additionally, buyers can add the optional Parking Assistance Package, which provides self-parking capability and a drive recorder system that can be activated to record up to 40 seconds of video for later viewing and will automatically record and save 20 seconds of footage “around the moment of impact” if a crash occurs.
The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e is expected to arrive at dealerships in July with a starting price of $66,395 (including a $995 destination fee).
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