2016 BMW X5 Plug-In Hybrid Review

2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e Road test and review

I got along to the Australian launch of the BMW X5 xDrive40e back in April and have followed up with a full week behind the wheel of the plug-in hybrid SUV.

Albeit, my week in the car was affected a touch by a flat tyre that I got two days before having to hand in back. More on that in a moment.

I can say though that I was again generally pleased with what the plug-in hybrid BMW X5 delivers.

Plug it into the wall and on a full charge you should get about 25km of driving range and this is essentially enough range for the average Australian to get to and from work.

It’s a bit of a shame that it doesn’t have a greaert range, say 50 or 60km.

This would allow for a far greater amount of flexibility, especially when a lot of people in Australia do travel greater distances between home and office.

Or in the X5’s case, perhaps home and school?

Nevertheless, it does move along alright on electric power and you do have the benefit of knowing that the petrol engine will kick in, should you need some more grunt.

What I do like about the hybrid drive system in the BMW SUV though is that it captures energy from your braking and when traveling downhill and this electric power is used to get the big girl moving from a standing stop.

This, along with an engine stop/system, ensure you are using as little petrol as possible when you run out of electric power.

One downside to the battery pack that is fitted in the floor of the cargo area is that it definitely feels heavy and tends to make the BMW X5 xDrive40e feel a bit dull and not as sharp in the bends as the regular petrol or diesel version.

It still rides along nicely though and the steering, brakes and overall feel on the road is planted and reassuring.

There’s a significant 230kW and 450Nm on tap too, so even with five-on-board you will be able to get moving rather swiftly – with enough right pedal use that is.

As with BMW models right through the range the cabin is well-appointed and comfortable, it’s pretty hard really to find a weak point in the X5 interior.

I was also pleased to note that digital radio reception in the X5 was better than what I had experienced in other BMW/MINI models. There was the odd drop-out still, but a lot better overall.

The flat tyre? Well yes, I ran over a small chunk of metal and this got lodged in the tyre.

2016 BMW X5 Plug-In Hybrid Review
The BMW X5’s ‘flat’ tyre.

I noticed a strange sound first, then the cars tyre pressure monitor also alerted me to the issue and I pulled over.

Thinking I was in for a tyre change, I began searching for the spare tyre, there isn’t one.

Is there a tyre inflation kit then? Nope. To save space and weight, BMW has fitted this model with run flat tyres and so I drove around for about 40 kilometres on the flat tyre.

This was a strange sensation, you have to keep your speed under 80km/h, which was easy for me as I was only doing suburban trips, but it is pretty amazing technology (the photo shows what is essentially a ‘flat’ tyre).

Overall, look I really like the BMW X5, it’s a truly adaptable, comfortable and a nice car to drive.

The plug-in hybrid variant does everything it should, and quite easily too.

I think though, personally, that I would be giving the diesel variant (reviewed here) a good test-drive first before making up my mind.

NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e

Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-petrol producing 180kW and 350Nm/electric motor developing 83kW

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Warranty: 3yrs and 6yrs/100,000 km on the High Voltage battery

Safety: Not tested

Origin: United States

Price: from $118,855

About Joel Helmes 2715 Articles
Joel is the founder and CEO of Behind the Wheel. Joel has a background as a radio broadcaster with on-air roles at 4BC, 4KQ, 2KY, 2LT and 2UE amongst others, as well as a news editor and program director. Joel’s relationship with cars stems back to his early childhood learning to change oil and brakes with his father and uncle. This continued on into his driving years owning an assorted collection of cars.

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