The BMW X5 has officially shrugged off traditional propulsion when the company announced that a plug-in hybrid variant of the popular sports activity vehicle will soon roll off assembly lines in Spartanburg, SC. The X5 xDrive40e, as it’s dubbed by BMW, will arrive at European dealerships at the end of 2015, and though no official plans for a US release have surfaced, it seems likely that the xDrive40e will hit the American market.
Powered by a combination of the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder (also found in the 2-series, 3-series, and 5-series) and a 111 horsepower electric motor, total output is a healthy 308 horsepower and 332-lb.-ft. of torque. Fuel economy can exceed approximately 55 MPGe. With power routed through an 8-speed Steptronic gearbox, the driver can select from a number of unique driving modes–AUTO eDrive mode operates exclusively on electric power, supplementing hard acceleration with engine power, while MAX eDrive mode allows the xDrive40e to operate in complete EV mode. Range in EV mode is approximately 13 miles with a max speed of 75 mph. After prolonged EV driving, the driver can even engage the SAVE battery mode to maximize energy recuperation for all-electric driving in the future.
The X5 xDrive40e comes from BMW’s newest hybrid tradition and in the footsteps of the i3 and i8. Unlike the i8, which utilizes a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine along with an electric motor, the X5 simply adds an electric component to the already existing 2.0-liter four-cylinder. In addition, where the i8 relegates the electric engine to the front wheels and the gasoline engine to the rear, the xDrive40e incorporates both systems into the xDrive full-time AWD system, providing a seamless package. Where the i8’s powertrain seems to be a sport-focused one-off, it would be no surprise if the xDrive40e’s powertrain made it under the hoods of future 3-series and 5-series BMWs.
Like other BMW hybrids, the xDrive40e offers a whole host of technological innovations to lend drivers a sense of peace of mind concerning the hybrid power delivery. A specific EV-calibrated navigation system ensures that the xDrive40e can remain in all-EV mode for the majority of the trip to an entered destination, while BMW’s hybrid remote app allows for updates on charge percentage at any time.
But the xDrive40e is still a BMW at heart–the company hasn’t forgotten to offer an M sport package and and adaptive air suspension for the extra performance jolt that’s so characteristic of BMWs. Stay tuned on TFLcar.com for more developments with the plug-in hybrid X5.
Please enjoy this TFLcar.com 4K Video Review of the 2015 BMW i8.
Frank caught automotive fever early in life. Hailing from a long line of car fanatics, he was able to recite the year and model of every car that passed him by age five. His passion and love for the automobile have only grown since then. When not thinking about cars, he is reading, writing, learning, or dreaming about them. His area of expertise is in the realm of German and Italian cars, of which Porsche is a favorite. Frank currently resides in the heart of NASCAR country in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his family. He enjoys driving exotic cars in the beautiful Carolina weather.