2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e – Long Name, not So Amazing Results?

Written By: Assen Gueorguiev

2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV - 13 miles of electric range

BMW announced this week that it’s finally ready to venture off and offer a plug-in hybrid outside of the painfully familiar “i-“series”. And that creation has a name – the BMW X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid.

Despite of the early announcement, this wanna-be green beast won’t officially debut until next month’s Shanghai Motor show. There’s no doubt we’ll learn a few more juicy details at the auto show, but until then, here’s what we know:

What makes it tick?

Under the “hood”, this Beamer has a 4 cylinder 2.0 liter TwinPower Turbo engine.  Combined with a 9 kWh lithium-ion pack, it allows the car to achieve 308 horsepower, 332 lb-ft of torque, and to zip from 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds. Max speed is 130 mph.

Before you get too excited, you may be disappointed to hear that in all-electric mode, this SUV can go only about 13 miles (EPA) with a top speed of 75 mph. To charge it, you can let is stew on a regular socket for 3 hrs and 50 minutes, or plug it into your fancy BMW i Wallbox Pure home charging station, where the time needed will drop to 2 hrs and 45 mins. This pleasure will cost you about $1050 more.

The early EPA estimate is 55 MPGe, and as expected, the vehicle comes with standard all-wheel drive (xDrive AWD system).

Driving Modes:

  • Auto eDrive – best of both

  • Max eDrive – all-electric

  • Save Battery – uses gas and saves the battery for later

When can you get one and how much will it cost you?

Unless BMW has a change of heart, it will be available at US dealerships in Fall of 2015 as a 2016 model. The price hasn’t been announced yet, but our prediction is that the base trim will be in the $56,000 to $59,900 range. They probably won’t jump over the “psychological” barrier of 60K so that this PHEV can sell better.

Will it please the green vehicle enthusiasts?

Unfortunately, BMW may be headed for a fail with this move. Many view this SUV as pointless, and a side step from BMW’s commitment to a greener future. The vehicle is heavy (4916 lbs), not very affordable, the all-electric range is one of the lowest amongst similar ones in that class, and it seems as if they rushed to put something on the market just because their competitors are doing the same. There's no question this BMW will come with tons of bells and whistles, and they will work in perfect synch, but we all know that luxury doesn't make a vehicle greener. 

BMW fascinated us with the light fiber bodies of the i3 and the i8. We wonder, how much of what they learned there was applied to the X5 xDrive40e? Apparently, not much! The Volvo XC90 and V60 Plug-in Hybrids will definitely give it a run for its money! 

If BMW was to release an X1 or X3 PHEV with 40 + miles of all-electric range, would you say that’s finally a move in the right direction?