2021 BMW X5 plug-in hybrid returns with more power and electric range

The turbo-four engine is out, and a turbocharged inline-six sits in place with a bigger battery to boot.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
2021 BMW X5 plug-in hybrid
Enlarge Image
2021 BMW X5 plug-in hybrid

More power, more range, more everything.


All the important aspects grow with the 2021 BMW X5 plug-in hybrid. Officially, BMW wants us to call it the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e PHEV Sports Activity Vehicle, but X5 plug-in hybrid works for us because wow, that's a mouthful.

The latest electrified SUV debuted on Wednesday with more power, torque and an extended electric range that should make the plug-in hybrid a much better package overall. The most significant news is BMW ditched the 2.0-liter turbo-four and in its place sits the familiar turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine.

With the move, the X5 plug-in hybrid now makes 389 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque -- major increases from the last model. But, the internal combustion engine isn't all to thank for the power. A larger battery (double the capacity) now holds 24 kilowatt-hours' worth of energy to unlock an EPA-estimated 30 miles of electric driving range. Again, it's a massive improvement from the dinky 14-mile range of the previous X5 plug-in. The electric motor also creates 111 hp of the 389 hp total, and 77 lb-ft of torque comes from the e-motor, too.

Drivers will have a standard array of driving modes to channel the hybrid powertrain as they wish via a Hybrid, Electric and Sport mode. Hybrid lets both the engine and battery work together, while Electric shuts the engine off to keep things all-electric. Sport mode favors the engine, but it also tells the regenerative braking system to work harder and dump more energy back into the battery to unleash as needed.

2021 BMW X5 plug-in hybrid: More of everything, especially power

See all photos

As the SUV's full name implies (the xDrive designation, that is), all-wheel drive is standard and power flows through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Those who opt for the electrified X5 will find a pretty good assortment of standard equipment. Every trim rocks at least a set of 18-inch wheels and air suspension, iDrive 7 with dual 12.3-inch displays for the driver and infotainment, and a healthy list of active safety gear comes along for the ride. Adaptive cruise control with a stop-and-go function is optional, however. The options list obviously extends into tons of other gear, and of course there's a variety of M Sport gear to jazz up the plug-in hybrid. Best of all for smartphone users, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both supported and free of charge.

BMW dealers will see the first X5 plug-in hybrids arrive this July with a starting price of $66,395.

Watch this: The BMW X5 M Competition is the right kind of wrong