BMW X5 hybrid review

The BMW X5 xDrive45e is a spacious and sporty SUV offering up to 54 miles of electric range – the most of any plug-in hybrid on sale

BMW X5 hybrid
£63,165 - £66,665
Plug-in hybrid


  • Smooth to drive
  • Long electric range
  • Strong performance


  • Slow charging speed
  • Reduced boot space
  • Five-seater only
Car type Electric range Fuel economy CO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid 54 miles 188-235mpg 39-41g/km

This isn’t the first time the BMW X5 has been available as a plug-in hybrid: a few years ago, the X5 xDrive40e gave buyers up to 19 miles of electric-only running, which wasn’t quite enough to make it a clear-cut choice over the much cheaper diesel variant.

Now, the X5 hybrid is back in the form of the xDrive45e. It comes with a longer electric range and more power than before – a combination that helps it to give its Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and Volvo XC90 rivals a serious run for their money.

Unlike the old X5 PHEV, this could be the pick of the line-up. The xDrive45e is keenly priced in the middle of the range, and the extra cost compared to the xDrive30d diesel will surely be recouped by covering many journeys on electric power. Company-car drivers are also set to enjoy an ultra-low 8% Benefit-in-Kind rate from April 2020.

Combined with extremely impressive fuel economy, that makes the X5 hybrid potentially very cheap to run (although you will have to budget for expensive road tax and insurance due to its high list price). But it's more than just a penny-pincher; it's also just as good to drive as any X5, feeling smaller and lighter than it actually is on a twisty road. Top speed is 146mph and 0-62mph is over and done with in just 5.6 seconds.

It also offers plenty of space for all occupants and their luggage – but note that you can't have this version with seven seats, due to the space taken up by its batteries. Of the two trim levels, xLine probably makes the most sense, as its 19-inch wheels give a slightly better ride than the M Sport's 20s, but many buyers prefer the more aggressive styling of the latter model, which costs several thousand pounds more.

Overall, the X5 is a compelling package. It's extremely fast, fun to drive, usefully practical, very comfortable for five people and especially cheap to run – for company-car drivers in particular. That all goes to explain why we named it the best large plug-in hybrid model at the 2020 DrivingElectric awards, and why it features strongly in our lists of the best plug-in hybrid cars and best plug-in hybrid SUVs you can buy.

For more on the BMW X5 hybrid, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.