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

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The combination of the X5’s xDrive all-wheel drive and the Pirellis resulted in a driving experience that belied its being on snow and ice.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that the BMW X5e gets 56 miles per gallon equivalent or MPGe, in gas-and-electric mode and 24 mpg (9.8 l/100m km) in combined city/highway driving using only petrol. (MPGe is a measure developed by the EPA that allows a comparison of energy consumption by plug-in and other alternative fuel vehicles with the more prevalent miles-per-gallon standard used for conventional vehicles.)

In my time with the X5e, fuel economy ranged from 58 MPGe to an average of 22 mpg (10.7 l/100 km) on a day I specifically chose not to recharge the battery. The X5e’s fuel economy in city driving was, as one would expect, exemplary and this is clearly its métier.

The EPA’s test report notes that “This vehicle did not use any gasoline for the first 14 miles in EPA tests.” It estimates that the annual fuel cost (based on 45% highway, 55% city driving and 15,000 miles per annum) in gas-and-electric mode would be $1,400. By comparison, the BMW X5 xDrive35i has an annual fuel cost of $1,700, while the EPA says that the X5 diesel would only cost $1,150 to operate.

The X5e is at its most efficient when adhering to the car’s navi directions, since the eDrive system takes into account the topography of the route (hills and curves, for example) as well as traffic conditions, and adjusts accordingly. That’s where I observed the 58 MPGe. It’s easier than ever to enter a destination on BMW’s latest version of iDrive, including being able to type it in on a smartphone and send it to the car.


When BMW announced plans to add plug-in hybrid models to its line-up, gas prices were at a high and no one predicted that the real cost per gallon of gasoline, adjusted for inflation, would be lower than it had been in decades. Today’s low gas prices make the BMW X5 xDrive40e a tough sell, with an MSRP of $62,100 (The diesel starts at $57,700 and the X5 xDrive35i is $700 lower than that). A $4,668 federal tax credit evens the playing field (almost) and, if your driving habits allow, you could skip the charger and use a 110V outlet and the X5 will charge fully while you sleep.

2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e
Base price/price-as-tested $62,100/$71,995
Drivetrain Front engine, all-wheel drive
Engine 2.0-liter inline four
Horsepower/Torque (combined) 308 / 332
Transmission 8-speed
Curb weight (lbs) 5,220
Wheelbase (inches) 115.5
Length x width x height (inches) 192.4 x 76.3 x 69.4
0-60 mph (seconds) 6.5
Fuel economy, combined (MPGe/MPG) 56/24

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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