2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e: Better, Brighter, Greener

BMW has launched the next chapter in its EffecientDynamics initiative and it arrives in the form of a plug-in hybrid on the X5 Sports Activity Vehicle. Arriving in showrooms is the X5 xDrive40e that mates the TwinPower turbo 2.0-liter I-4 gas engine to a synchronous electric motor powered by a high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack.

GearDiary 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e: Better, Brighter, Greener

2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e/Images courtesy BMW

The new PHEV begins life as a 2016 X5 SAV (BMW-speak for sport ute) that sees fulltime all-wheel drive and an electric motor integrated seamlessly into the powertrain at the 8-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox. The vehicle has a traditional fuel filler door for gasoline at the rear passenger quarter panel and a door for the electric charging at the driver’s side front fender. This vehicle can be recharged via 120V home outlet with included charge cord or from a home BMW Charging Station or any public EV charging station. And despite having the battery pack located underneath the cargo floor the X5 xDrive40e still offers 34.2 cubic feet of storage behind the second row of seats and 72.5 cu. ft. with the seats folded.

GearDiary 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e: Better, Brighter, Greener

By the numbers, the X5 xDrive40e can operate on full EV power for up to 14 miles at speeds up to 75 mph. the eDrive system offers default AUTO eDrive for normal operation of the hybrid propulsion system, MAX eDrive for EV only mode, and SAVE Battery setting for maximum battery charging when driving. The vehicle receives a 56 MPGe fuel efficiency rating from the EPA with gas only fuel economy coming in at 24 mpg combined city/highway. The X5 is fitted into the standard (midsize) SUV class for rating and comparison. The gas engine is rated at 240hp and 260 lb. ft. of torque with the electric motor rated at 111hp and 184 lb. ft. of instant maximum torque. Battery pack recharge time is as little as 2 hours 45 minutes for a full charge.

GearDiary 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e: Better, Brighter, Greener

BMW also gives the X5 xDrive40e its Driving Dynamics Control switch so drivers can select between ECO PRO, Comfort, and Sport modes and the electronic gear shifter also features sport and manual shift modes mated to the steering wheel shift paddles. A word on that electronic shifter – ugh! Forward to back, back to go forward, park button on top? I am not a fan and it seems like a lot of technological overkill just for technology’s sake. I also found out in the “heat of the moment” the shifter does not like to be forced to operate quickly. It takes its sweet time and cannot be rushed, which can be a problem in an emergency.

GearDiary 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e: Better, Brighter, Greener

As for the entire rest of the X5 xDrive40e, I love it. Rides like a dream, handles like a champ, features just about every amenity BMW can offer and the hybrid powertrain features performance like a much larger engine. Now if they could just somehow build in a nice V-8 twin-exhaust growl…

GearDiary 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e: Better, Brighter, Greener

Some of the other technology featured in the 2016 X5 xDrive40e includes the latest BMW iDrive system, Adaptive M Suspension and Dynamic Damper Control, Active Steering, Rear View and Surround View camera system, Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go, Lane Active Blind Spot Detection, Park Assistant, Smartphone integration, BMW Navigation with 10.2-inch screen, and BMW Night Vision with pedestrian and animal recognition.

GearDiary 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e: Better, Brighter, Greener

Our test model arrived with the optional M Sport package that brought 20-inch M wheels, multi-contour seats, M steering wheel, aerodynamic kit, and other interior and exterior accent pieces. Overhead was the panoramic moonroof and at the rear was the power liftgate. The only option not available in the X5 xDrive40e is the third row seat due to the battery pack.

GearDiary 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e: Better, Brighter, Greener

The 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e arrives with a base MSRP of $62,100 with our loaded tester rolling in here at $78,170. Not cheap to be sure, but this plug-in hybrid delivers the power of a V-8 with the fuel efficiency of a four-cylinder engine in a sport ute – sorry, sports activity – body that features fulltime all-wheel drive and every amenity available from the Bavarian Motor Works. This is the first hybrid vehicle from the core BMW brand and rest assured it won’t be the last. The X5 xDrive40e provides a glimpse of the future of BMW mobility for its mainstream vehicles and as technology progresses so will the showroom and that future is looking brighter and greener!

GearDiary 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e: Better, Brighter, Greener


About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.