BMW X5 hybrid range, MPG, CO2 & charging

The BMW X5 hybrid boasts an excellent electric driving range and good efficiency figures, but its big battery takes quite a while to charge

Fuel economy CO2 emissions Electric range Wallbox charge time
188-235mpg 39-41g/km 54 miles 7hrs (0-100%, 3.7kW)

A large battery means a long electric range of over 50 miles for the X5 hybrid, which really raises the bar for large plug-in hybrids. The car's CO2 emissions and fuel economy are also impressive, but with a maximum charging capacity of just 3.7kW, topping up that big battery takes a good few hours.

BMW X5 hybrid range, MPG & CO2 emissions

The X5 hybrid's battery capacity is 24kWh – double what you see from most plug-in hybrid vehicles. This gives an official electric range of up to 54 miles (bettered only by the Mercedes GLE 350 de and Polestar 1 plug-in hybrids) with the X5 capable of up to 83mph without assistance from the engine.

On our drive in the UK, we found that the X5 returned very decent range of some 38 miles, even in cold weather and with more rural and motorway miles than town usage (the latter being where any electric motor is more efficient). That's getting on for double what you'll see from most of the BMW's rivals, and means that you'll probably get well over 40 miles of range in warmer weather.

Claimed fuel economy and CO2 emissions are 188-235mpg and 39-41g/km (with the latter dependent on wheel size). As with any plug-in hybrid, achieving that sort of fuel economy requires you to always make full use of the car's electric range, charging up as much as possible before every journey.

Ultimately, the official economy is quite misleading so it's best to calculate your running costs based on how many journeys you can cover on electric range alone, and then factor in economy of 25 to 30mpg thereafter from the six-cylinder petrol engine.

BMW has worked hard to make sure the X5 hybrid's electric power is used as intelligently as possible. It uses data from the sat nav to calculate the most efficient combination of battery and petrol power on your journey. In practice, this works extremely well: enter a village and the car will run on the electric motor, but hit the motorway and the engine – an ultra-smooth unit, it must be said – takes priority.

Charging time

The maximum charging speed of the X5 hybrid is a mere 3.7kW. While this is fairly common for plug-in hybrids, the large size of the battery means stopping for a top-up at a public charger isn't realistic unless you’ve got several hours to spare.

Plug the X5 into a home wallbox charger using the Type 2 cable and a full charge will take at least seven hours, or around 11 hours if you’ve only got a three-pin socket at your disposal. It's certainly a shame that the X5 can't at least offer a 7.4kW charging rate, as the Mercedes GLE does.