BMW X5 F15 plug-in hybrid makes its debut

 2015 BMW X5 xDrive40e F15

Up until now the only plug-in hybrid BMWs available to buy have been those from the company’s ‘i’ stable, but with the debut of the X5 xDrive40e we have the first of what promises to be many Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) from the core BMW brand. The concept for this X5 has been doing the motor show rounds for a while now and a couple of months back we sampled the prototype 3 Series PHEV which we’re expecting to make its debut when the F30 generation of 3 Series receives its mid-life refresh later this year.

The X5 xDrive40e will offer intelligently controlled interaction between the combustion engine and the electric drive, which together generates a total system output of 313hp, which endows the PHEV with strong acceleration while simultaneously having a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. It returns a combined fuel consumption of up to 85.6mpg, and a combined electricity consumption of 15.3kWh. CO² emissions are just 77g/km.

The X5’s internal combustion engine is the four-cylinder 2.0-litre unit as fitted to the ‘28i’ cars so it delivers 245hp and 258lb ft of torque and this is combined with an electric motor that’s integrated within the eight-speed automatic gearbox which offers 113hp and 184lb ft of torque. This boosts the engine’s output for increased responsiveness with absolutely no delay when accelerating from stationary, as well as providing strong performance whenever a quick burst of speed is required. The BMW X5 xDrive40e completes the 0 to 62mph sprint in 6.8 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 130mph. In all-electric drive mode, the vehicle is capable of a top speed of 75mph, again, electronically limited.

BMW X5 xDrive40e F15

The eDrive button on the centre console lets drivers tailor the powertrain according to their own preferences and situation. When the vehicle is first started, the default ‘Auto eDrive’ setting is activated, with both engine and electric motor working efficiently together. The electric motor alone is used for setting off with normal power requirements, while the engine cuts in at around 44mph or when the driver wishes to accelerate briskly. In this mode, the intelligent operating strategy determines the most efficient drive combination at all times and switches to it automatically. The driver can also switch to the all-electric drive mode setting ‘Max eDrive’, whereupon the vehicle is powered solely by the electric motor. This mode is designed for comfortable driving with zero local emissions, and offers a maximum range of approximately 19 miles at a limited top speed of 75mph.

The third mode available is the ‘SAVE Battery’ setting, which allows the driver to conserve or build up the high-voltage battery’s reserves for later on. When driving on the motorway, for instance, the state of charge can be kept constant or even boosted in order to use the high-voltage battery’s power for allelectric driving in urban areas later in the journey. In this way, the stored electrical energy can be selectively deployed exactly when required.

The lithium-ion high-voltage battery pack can be topped up with mains electricity from any standard domestic power socket, or more quickly from the BMW i Wallbox, as well as at public charging stations. The high-voltage battery, which also supplies power to the battery for the 12V electrical system via a voltage transformer, is housed underneath the luggage compartment floor, where it is well protected in the event of a crash. With a capacity of 500 – 1720-litres, the luggage area is barely compromised compared with other X5s.

Equipment levels are also pretty much on a par with the rest of the X5 range and the standard spec for the xDrive40e includes self-levelling rear air suspension, Professional Navigation, DAB, Xenon headlights, LED foglights, an automatic tailgate, Dakota leather upholstery, heated front seats and 40:20:40 split folding rear seats. The two-zone automatic climate control that features as standard on all BMW X5 model variants is extended to include an auxiliary heating and ventilation system: this comprises an electric instantaneous water heater and an electric refrigerant compressor which can precondition the car prior to driving.

Thanks to the battery pack and packaging requirements for the hybrid system there are a few options that cannot be spec’d on the xDrive40e – the third row of seats, the Adaptive Suspension Package Dynamic, Active Steering, comfort seats in the rear and the ski/snowboard bag being the most notable casualties.

The X5 xDrive40e will go in sale in the UK in the autumn with prices being announced closer to the car’s launch date.

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