Since 2005, BMW has sold more than 650,000 X5s in the USA alone. The SAV is highly popular with growing families, offering a large cargo area and an optional 3rd row of seating for kids. The X5 has consistently ranked at the top of the luxury midsize SUV class, getting its rankings from refined handling, excellent engine performance, an upscale interior and above-average reliability. It can tow up to 7,000 pounds and offers decent fuel economy for its class. It’s also fun to drive!
For 2021, BMW is offering its Second Gen Plug-In Hybrid X5 Sports Activity Vehicle, the xDrive 45e. A significant improvement over the First Gen X5 xDrive 40e, the new PHEV’s hybrid powertrain combines a 3.0-litre inline-six gas engine and an electric motor for a total output of 389 horsepower. The 45e’s 24.0kWh Lithium-Ion battery provides 30 pure electric miles; a major jump from the 40e’s 12kWh battery and 14-mile range.
As evidence of BMW’s commitment to electrification, in 2019, the Bavarian automaker doubled the size of its high-voltage battery assembly plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The location also houses BMW’s assembly lines for the new X3 xDrive 30e and X5 xDrive 45e. Together, they comprise the company’s largest global production facility. A crew of more than 120 assemblers and technicians work there to produce e-batteries for the brand’s growing e-vehicle product lines.
Debuting at a time when more and more drivers are making the switch to eco-conscious EVs, hybrids and plug-ins, the X5 45e comes with a SULEV Super ultra-low emissions vehicle rating, making in eligible for a major Federal Tax Credit and high occupancy lane access stickers.
Caranddriver.com says: “In our eyes, a mid-size luxury SUV is at its best when it so effortlessly blends on-road driving satisfaction with modern technology and a posh cabin – and the 2021 BMW X5 does just that. Its styling is attractive without being overly flashy, and the interior treats occupants with quality materials, comfortable seats, and a plethora of convenience and luxury features. It faces heady competition from the likes of the Audi Q7, the Porsche Cayenne, and the Mercedes-Benz GLE-class, but the X5 is a richly outfitted package well-equipped for the task at hand. Power-adjustable front seats with memory for the driver are standard. All models come with a power-adjustable steering column, heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power rear liftgate, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and customizable ambient lighting.”
Says Jay Traugott of carbuzz.com: “Meet the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e, a plug-in hybrid luxury performance SUV that's not only more powerful than its immediate predecessor but likely more fuel-efficient as well. BMW realized a few years ago the numerous opportunities electrification offers in terms of making the Ultimate Driving Machine an even more engaging vehicle for drivers. The 2021 X5 PHEV is proof of that.”
Offering exceptional performance, efficiency and comfort for 5 passengers (or 8 passengers with an optional 3rd row added for kids), the electrified X5 45e has a starting MSRP of $65,400. If this seems a little pricey, keep in mind that this electrified 4WD Standard Sport Utility Vehicle is eligible for a Federal Tax Credit of up to $7,500, which significantly reduces purchase and lease prices.
There’s only one X5 45e trim available, though it comes with a choice of two exteriors. Standard is the xLine Bold Exterior, which features: Roof rails in Satin Aluminum, 19" V-Spoke wheels, Satin Aluminum line exterior trim, Live Cockpit with Navigation, Frontal Collision Warning w/ City Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, Active Blind Spot Detection, Front underbody protection in matte silver, and Sport Seats. For $5,500 more, your X5 45e will come with Shadowline exterior trim, 20" M Star-spoke bi-color wheels, an M steering wheel, Live Cockpit with Navigation, Frontal Collision Warning w/ City Collision Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, Active Blind Spot Detection, Front underbody protection in matte silver, and Sport Seats.
Standard features (listed below with bullet points) are numerous. Standouts include: Advanced Vehicle & Key Memory, Engine Start/Stop button, 16-way power front sport seats, 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats, a Panoramic moonroof with fully automatic, 2-piece glass panel, power slide and lift control, a wind deflector and a power interior sunshade, Power windows, Automatic 2.5-zone Climate Control including micro-filter and automatic air recirculation, a Power-adjustable steering column, Comfort Access keyless entry with hands-free trunk/lid opening, Rain-sensing windshield wipers with adjustable speed and automatic headlight control, a Rear-window wiper/washer with adjustable wiping interval, a Power tailgate, Multi-color, adjustable ambient lighting, an Automatic-dimming interior rear-view mirror and driver's-side exterior mirror, 3-stage heated front seats, Privacy glass, Power outlets in front center console storage compartment, rear center console and trunk, a Universal garage-door opener, and a Travel and Comfort System which includes a multifunction bracket to support BMW accessories such as tablet holders, coat hangers, and folding table, as well as a USB-C port with 3 amp charging ability in the backrest of each front seat.
A 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and 12.3-inch touchscreen multimedia system are standard and come installed with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The high-resolution instrument cluster displays use haptic controls for the iDrive controller. The advanced tablet-similar touch interface comes with excellent displays, which at the moment, are the largest in BMW’s vehicle lineup. Google Assistant, Google Maps, music streaming services including Spotify and Amazon Music, and WhatsApp messaging are some of the many benefits available to iPhone and Android users.
SensaTec faux-leather upholstery is standard, with two grades of leather are optional. Standard fare also includes BMW’s Active Driving Assistant system, which includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear collision warning, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and a display of the current speed limit.
BMW’s Active Driving Assistant system is also standard fare. It comes with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear collision warning, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and a display of the current speed limit.
An optional X5 PHEV Driving Assistance Professional Package adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure prevention with side collision prevention and BMW’s semi-autonomous Extended Traffic Jam Assistant. Also included are front cross-traffic warning and BMW’s Evasion Assistant collision-avoidance feature.
The optional Parking Assistance Package gives drivers a self-parking capability and a drive recorder system which can record up to 40 seconds of video for later viewing. It automatically records and saves 20 seconds of footage encompassing the “moment of impact,” if a crash occurs.
Physicist and Electriccarsreport.com reviewer Blagojce Krievevski explains the X5 45e’s three drive modes – Hybrid, Electric and Sport:
“Hybrid – the default mode upon start up. This fully automatic setting allows the advanced electronics to determine the most efficient or performance-oriented combined use of gasoline and electric power based on driver input. Electric-only driving may be experienced at speeds up to 68 mph in this mode.”
“Electric – This electric only mode can be used at speeds up to 84 mph. The driver can change back to hybrid mode by either pushing the throttle pedal through the kick-down position or via the eDrive button on the center console.”
“Sport – This keeps the combustion engine engaged for particularly sporty driving and allows for more aggressive energy regeneration from engine and mechanical braking.”
Zach Doell, from U.S. News and World Report sums up the car this way: “The X5 is a great vehicle, and it truly deserves consideration if you’re shopping in the luxury midsize SUV segment. The X5 is fun to drive, comfortable, and jam-packed with tech and safety features. It’s reasonably spacious for both passengers and cargo, and its infotainment system is among the easiest to use in this class. Apart from its above-average starting price, there’s a lot to like about the X5.”
REVISED MAY 2021
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