BMW X5 hybrid review
The BMW X5 xDrive45e plug-in hybrid is a luxurious, comfortable and practical large SUV with plenty of electric driving range
- Very comfortable and luxurious
- Long electric range
- Strong performance
- Slow charging speed
- Reduced boot space
- Five-seater only
The BMW X5 hybrid is called the xDrive45e and it’s an impressive plug-in model with a driving range on electric power of around 50 miles. That number is above the typical 30 miles you get from many plug-in models, and it was a big step-up from the previous xDrive40e model, which only managed 20 miles. The X5 plug-in rivals several models including the Audi Q7, Mercedes GLE, Porsche Cayenne and Volvo XC90 hybrids.
The X5 hybrid is one of the best models in the range. The diesel versions still make a lot of sense for long trips, but the long electric range and attractive company-car costs mean that it’s possible for the xDrive45e to be surprisingly cheap to run. As with all PHEV models, keep it plugged in every night and it’s theoretically possible to reach the 200mpg-plus fuel economy claims.
In our experience, you can expect about 38 miles of all-electric driving even in cold weather and on the motorway. If you drive in town a lot, expect even more than that, which is really impressive for such a large and heavy SUV. Once the engine comes on, efficiency will take a bit of a nose-dive as it’s a big six-cylinder petrol. Expect under 30mpg if you drive with the battery completely empty, so if you can’t charge up often then it’s not an ideal choice.
However, the X5 isn’t just about low running costs. The engine is so smooth that you might not even mind the higher running costs with using it, and it’s really powerful as well. The X5 xDrive45e is just as good to drive as other versions of the car, too, so despite the extra weight from the battery set-up, it’s more agile than you might expect and you could even call it fun to drive on the right roads.
Not only that, but even on big 21-inch wheels, the standard air suspension gives it a cushy ride. Combined with excellent refinement, it's just an effortless cruiser that can also entertain if you want it to.
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. If you want a seven-seat electrified car, you'll have to look to the Volvo XC90 T8 or the Tesla Model X. Of the two trim levels available on the X5, xLine 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 hybrid is a compelling package. It's extremely fast, good 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...
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe BMW X5 xDrive45e plug-in hybrid is a luxurious, comfortable and practical large SUV with plenty of electric driving range
- 2Range, MPG, CO2 & chargingThe BMW X5 hybrid boasts an excellent electric driving range and good efficiency figures, but its big battery takes quite a while to charge
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe BMW X5 hybrid's long electric range and low company-car tax make it one of the cheapest luxury SUVs you can own – if you charge regularly
- 4Performance, engine & driveLike any BMW X5, the hybrid doesn't feel nearly as big as it is from behind the wheel. It's extremely fast, too
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortSupremely comfortable on nearly any type of road, the BMW X5 hybrid also has a fittingly high-tech and high-quality interior
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe BMW X5 hybrid has a smaller booth than the petrol and diesel, and a third row of seats isn't available, but it's still hugely spacious
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe BMW X5 hybrid has a strong crash safety rating, but long-term reliability is less certain
- 8Living with itBMW X5 plug-in hybrid offers impressive electric range, excellent efficiency and a comfortable ride, but did it hold up when we lived with it for several months?