BMW X5 eDrive Hybrid – TEST DRIVE AND REVIEW

Test Drives | April 16th, 2014 by 6
test-drive-bmw-x5-edrive-hybrid-14

It is eerily quiet when I take off under full electric power.  In a BMW X5, a full freakin-sized X5, silence. Welcome to the BMW …

It is eerily quiet when I take off under full electric power.  In a BMW X5, a full freakin-sized X5, silence. Welcome to the BMW X5 Plug-in Hybrid, named the BMW X5 Concept eDrive.

Running in eDrive mode, the BMW X5 eDrive powers all four wheels up to 20 miles and at speeds up to 75 mph. Motivating the X5 eDrive is a 95 hp electric motor and a four cylinder motor.  The seamless transition between electric, combined electric-petrol and pure petrol is remarkably smooth.  The BMW i blue touches may just well be the biggest clue to what lurks underneath an otherwise normal appearing X5.

BMW X5 eDrive Hybrid   TEST DRIVE AND REVIEW

In the passenger seat next to me is a BMW engineer from Germany, making sure no one takes any photos of the center console that has buttons hidden under black tape. Scanning the dash for a hint, I ask how does one know if you are running pure electric other than hearing how quiet it is. With typical German efficiency he points to the tachometer I had overlooked and sure enough its reading is dead zero. Crazy.

My mind is saying there is something wrong here with my foot on the gas pedal, the world speeding past and the tachometer at null. Pushing the accelerator farther down with more urgency, the N20 four-cylinder motor making 245 hp fires up and very quickly, yet, smoothly joins the acceleration party. Under full power, the X5 eDrive is down right scooting on its way up to 60 mph on a course around BMW North America’s Headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. We cannot take it on open roads because this is the European test vehicle and not legal for U.S. roads.

BMW X5 eDrive Hybrid   TEST DRIVE AND REVIEW

BMW says the X5 eDrive is designed to bridge the i vehicle line and the rest of the BMW family. The whole experience is to function as if you were driving a regular BMW model. The familiar powertrain settings of EcoPro, Comfort and the rest, are there just as they are in all modern BMWs.  Further, if you abruptly lift of the accelerator, it will coast just like a regular X5.  If you abruptly lift on an i3 accelerator, you get rapid battery regeneration dragging the i3 to a stop.

The biggest question about the X5 plug-in hybrid is why choose one customer would choose it over an X5 diesel? The X5 diesel is such a sweet machine with loads of torque and great fuel economy. I posed this question to BMW and received a remarkably well reasoned answer. It lies in how the owner will use it. If one lives in a city and does primarily short trips, you can drive with out using much, if any gas. If you are one who commutes over 100 miles a day, a diesel will fit your lifestyle better.

There is only a $1500 premium for the X5 xDrive35d compared to the base X5 xDrive35i.

BMW X5 eDrive Hybrid   TEST DRIVE AND REVIEW

No pricing or a production date of the X5 plug-in hybrid has been confirmed yet. BMW did state however, that this would be a production vehicle and that it is not far off, perhaps only 1-2 years.  The weight of the hybrid is more than a traditional base X5 because of the battery back and the electric motor.  Subtract, however, the starter motor because the electric motor can double duty as the starter. BMW was not ready yet to give us specific weight figures but they did say that the battery has an approximate 9kWh Capacity with 6 kWh usage.

BMW X5 eDrive Hybrid   TEST DRIVE AND REVIEW

A couple of cool features that help extend the electric range are: the Navigation system which chooses the most fuel efficient route to destination taking in to account traffic and distance, and second, there is the option of “preconditioning” the X5 eDrive via an electric heater or electric air conditioner. The X5 eDrive can draw energy while still plugged in to precondition and thus not tap into the range.

BMWBLOG was fortunate to be one of the first media outlets to drive this same protoype in Miramas, France where our own Hugo Becker remarked that driving the X5 hybrid revealed a “seamless experience of pure electric, and mixed format power.”

Having driven it, I completely agree.  The execution of the transitions of power are so sooth that many who drive it will not notice the changes of propulsion.  Further, despite the X5 eDrive being a hybrid vehicle it did not in anyway feel underpowered.

  • Freepat 75014

    This is the best Concept of Hybrid car that BMW ever came out with so far, I mean a “real sole-car replacement for real BMW customers”. If they could TRIPPLE the Battery size, while keeping enough space in the back for family luggage and staying in a decent < € 60K budget and weight, and ideally putting that in X4 instead of X5, I would really jump on this as my beloved 530DA replacement 1st PHEV…. But my bet is this equation will be impossible to close for BMW, based on current eDrive concept where they still change # nothing, only downsize a bit the central engine to 4 x cylinders and add the electric motor and battery on top. I expect them to price this non-optimized concept at non-sense €100K+ and sell very few again…
    To get where needed BMW designers will need to move to a more radical design and finally accept to build THE Tesla-like "all Electric drive train" SUV with a BMW Range Extender used as pure never-tracting "generator" mode, that all EUROPE BMW real customers are desperately waiting for. Like this they could move to an even larger battery like 40KWH, while further reducing the ICE engine (may be 3 x cylinders would be enough for a pure generator), then they don't need any more the huge central ICE engine, the huge central gearbox, the huge central transmission, putting instead one electrical motor per axis or wheel, interconnected to the battery with simple electric cables, … With far reduced weight and cost and space, funding for this extra battery weight and cost and space, and fitting my budget too, hopefully at the end.

  • raleedy

    It’s “early quiet”? When you “lift of the accelerator”? It would be nice to read something written in actual English on this blog.

  • Jack

    These new X5s are so boring looking you may as well buy a Volvo.

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