Testing the BMW X5
fight against prejudice
Luxury SUVs are solid, spacious and comfortable. But also big, thirsty and cumbersome: as a plug-in hybrid, the BMW X5 tries to fight against common prejudices. With success? The test clarifies that.
BMW X5 45e xDrive.
Luxury-class SUVs divide opinions: For some, they are oversized, pointless and simply no longer up-to-date.
For others who drive such a car, they are the most comfortable form of travel and, thanks to all-wheel drive, high towing capacity and enough space, they are the right car for every situation. Whether you need such a vehicle or not – that is ultimately justified by the circumstances. The fact is, however, that high fuel consumption is difficult to justify these days; especially for the car manufacturers. They have to keep the consumption of the vehicles they sell low, otherwise the state faces high penalties.
Most manufacturers cannot and do not want to dare a complete switch to pure electric cars: Too many customers would probably not be ready for that yet. Plug-in hybrids have therefore developed into the ideal “bridging technology”. They combine an electric drive for shorter distances with a conventional combustion engine and want to offer the best of both worlds: Significantly lower consumption – and thus also significantly lower CO2 emissions – and still the full flexibility for long distances, as we know from petrol or familiar with diesel engines.
BMW has been offering this drive combination for a long time; With the latest generation, as it is now used in the current X5, the Bavarians have further optimized the system and eliminated previous weaknesses. And on both sides: with the combustion engine and with the electric drive. That actually makes the big one an interesting electric car alternative, as the everyday test shows.
BMW X5 45e xDrive.
Electricity is mandatory
If you are thinking about buying a PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle), you should definitely have the opportunity to charge the battery regularly. Be it at home or at work. The progress of technology is reflected in the plug-in hybrids in the ever-increasing all-electric range. While the first models were maybe 30 kilometers from the factory and in reality often significantly less, there is now significantly more electricity available: 20.9 kWh of usable battery capacity ensure an electric range of 87 kilometers according to the WLTP standard measurement. In the test, even on consumption-enhancing winter tires, it was at least 65 kilometers. That's easily enough for many everyday journeys, especially since the X5 can power at up to 135 km/h and the electric motor with 113 hp has enough power to let the SUV, which weighs more than 2.5 tons, swim along in traffic.
But BMW has also taken on the combustion engine side. In contrast to the predecessor, which was equipped with a four-cylinder engine that was not really suitable for this class, there is now a typical BMW in-line six-cylinder with turbocharging and 286 hp under the hood. It works in a cultivated and quiet manner, so that it does not attract negative attention when it has to provide support because the battery is empty.
If both drives work together, things progress quickly thanks to the 394 hp system output. However, it is much more interesting to observe the complex drive when it comes to saving fuel: when the navigation system is active, the electronics decide independently whether to drive with petrol or electricity in order to keep consumption as low as possible. In the test, the X5 finally came up with an average consumption of 4.7 l/100 km, since a long distance of 400 kilometers was also driven without charging. At home, the large SUV was always allowed to use the socket diligently; of a total of 1100 kilometers, the hybrid has covered more than 600 purely electrically. If you drive a lot of short distances, you should also reach or undercut the specified factory consumption of 1.7 l/100 km. However, you need a charging facility – and at least 98,700 francs to buy the BMW X5 45e xDrive.
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