BMW X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid revealed

Plug-in version of BMW’s popular X5 will go on sale this year, capable of 83mpg and 77g/km of CO2

The new BMW X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid SUV has been revealed ahead of its launch later this year. Previously seen as the Concept X5 eDrive – this production ready version is BMW’s first core plug-in model, following unprecedented success of the i3 and i8 from the ‘i’ sub brand.

Featuring a four-cylinder 242bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine mated to a 111bhp electric motor, the xDrive40e offers a combined output of 309bhp with 350Nm of torque. All cars get an eight-speed automatic transmission, and can run for up to 19 miles on electric power alone.

The X5 40e will do 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds, hit 130mph flat out and return up to 85.6mpg. Carbon dioxide emissions are low, too, though a figure of 78g/km means it misses out on London Congestion Charge exemption by just two grammes.

All cars offer permanent four-wheel drive – even in electric-only mode – as well as dynamic damper control and self-levelling rear air suspension. 

Drivers get a choice of three driving modes – Comfort, Sport and EcoPro – as well as different settings for the hybrid drivetrain to maximise efficiency. In fact, the car can work in conjunction with the sat-nav to suggest the most economical route given journey profile, traffic situation and drive mode. BMW says this maximises the “distance driven purely on electric power with zero local emissions.”

This is helped by the standard eDrive button, which lets the driver modify the powertrain – choosing between Auto eDrive, Max eDrive and Save.

The auto mode uses both the engine and the battery to provide maximum response as and when the driver requires it, while Max eDrive is an all-electric driving mode and can operate up to speeds of 75mph. The third mode – Save Battery – uses the petrol engine to build up charge, just like you would in a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

The X5 xDrive40e can be charged from a standard domestic power socket, public charging point, or specially installed BMW i Wallbox.

In terms of styling, the plug-in SUV looks much like any other X5. Apart from the charge port just behind the nearside front wheel arch, there’s little to tell this car apart from its conventionally-powered petrol or diesel siblings. That said, there’s some subtle eDrive badging and more aerodynamic wheels – similar to those found on the BMW ActiveHybrid5.

Inside, the dash is lifted from a standard X5, albeit with hybrid-specific dials. That means all the usual leather and high quality metals. Depending on the selected driving mode, information on the vehicle’s range, fuel consumption and electric charge can all be shown in the instrument cluster.

While the X5 is still a big car, the large transformer mounted beneath the boot floor affects practicality, meaning space behind the rear seats is reduced from 650 litres to 500 litres. With the seats folded you’ll find 1,720 litres, which again is slightly down on the 1,870 litre standard X5. That said, the standard charging cable can be stored in a compartment under the boot floor. 

Prices and exact specs will be announced closer to the car’s launch in the autumn, but we expect it to be priced at around £55,000, a little down on the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid, which starts from just over £61,000.

Now find out about the best hybrid cars on sale...

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