BMW X5 xDrive45e iPerformance gets longer electric range to go with its longer name
BMW's second-gen plug-in hybrid SUV gets a massively improved powertrain promising more performance and electric-only range.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
The new-for-2019 BMW X5 hasn't even hit North American dealers just yet, but that isn't stopping Germany from pouring on the variants for its popular midsize SUV. The new model seen here has been electrified for added performance and efficiency, and the only thing longer than the cord attached to its plug is its name: BMW X5 xDrive45e iPerformance.
Cumbersome nomenclature aside, the X5 xDrive45e iPerformance actually won't be available alongside its conventional gas-powered siblings here for some time. In a statement on Friday, BMW confirmed that the model launches in 2019 in Europe, noting, "US specific vehicle information will be finalized closer to market launch in 2020 as a 2021 model year."
So there's some waiting to do, but it looks like it could be worth it, because the new plug-in hybrid powertrain promises quicker acceleration and much longer electric-only range than its predecessor, the (somewhat underwhelming) X5 xDrive40e.
BMW X5 xDrive45e iPerformance plug-in hybrid is juiced up for 2021
This second-generation plug-in crossover features two more cylinders and another liter of displacement compared to its forebear. In this model, a 3.0-liter inline six developing 286 horsepower is paired to a 112-hp electrical system powered by a lithium-ion pack. Combined and routed to all four wheels via a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, this powertrain churns out a healthy 394 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque in Continental tune.
Performance is quoted at 0-62 mph in 5.6 seconds, en route to a top speed of 146 mph (87 mph on electricity alone). Perhaps most importantly, on the European NEDC test cycle, electric-only range is quoted at a shade under 50 miles, suggesting that most drivers' commutes could be done without burning a drop of gas.
The X5 xDrive45e iPerformance will undoubtedly carry a higher price tag when it arrives (base 2019 xDrive40i models will carry a $60,700 price tag when reaching dealers), but outside of that, compromises for adding the PHEV powertrain should be few. BMW claims that this model's cargo hold only shrinks by about three cubic feet to accommodate the battery, with the latter also lowering its center of gravity, which should help improve driving dynamics.
Further aiding handling is a standard four-wheel air suspension system backed by electronically controlled adaptive dampers, and at least in Europe, adaptive steering will be offered, too.
There's plenty of time for us to learn more about the xDrive45e before its North American arrival in 2020, but we won't have much longer to wait to sample the gas-powered fourth-generation X5. Roadshow drives the latest SUV from Spartanburg, South Carolina later this month, and we'll have drive impressions for you soon.