2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e Plug-In Hybrid – Review and Test Drive

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Under the BMW X5 xDrive40e's hood

Under the BMW X5 xDrive40e’s hood

It’s able to accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 6.5 seconds, the same figure as the X5 diesel, and slightly slower than the X5 xDrive35i, which does it in 6.1.   Unlike the other X5s in the U.S. line-up, it’s powered by a four-cylinder engine, in this case a 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo 4, and a lithium-ion battery powered electric motor.   The four banger develops 240 horsepower and the eDrive electric motor, 111, for a total power output of 308 hp (the power is not calculated by merely adding the two figures together) and 332 pound-feet of torque.

The X5’s lithium-ion battery pack lives beneath the cargo floor where, in other X5 models, the third row of seats would be stored, making this model strictly a five seater.

Once underway, the driver has a choice of three drive modes via the eDrive button, Max, Save, and Auto. Max forces the car to run on electric power alone. The X5 is capable of going 14 miles (22.5 kilometers) on battery power alone and it takes three hours to charge the battery pack using 220V power (seven using 110). The driver can stay in Max up to 75 mph (121 km/h); after that, the gasoline engine provides assistance.

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The Save mode ignores the battery and forces gas operation, allowing the battery to pick up a charge as the regenerative brakes are applied, while Auto makes the car behave like a hybrid should, balancing engine and motor output for peak efficiency based on power requirements at any given moment. The driver can also select Comfort, Sport, and Eco Pro modes that largely affect handling.

Once underway, the X5e drove no differently than the X5d or X5 xdrive35i.

Steering response was excellent and grip and handling in dry conditions was superb and similar to what I’ve found in performance-rated all-season tires. Steering input was very predictable and stable and standing acceleration traction on snow and ice – and this is a benefit of the xDrive as much as of the tires – was as close to normal as one could get as long as one weren’t overly enthusiastic with the accelerator pedal.

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