We’ve been fans of the BMW X5 xDrive45e for a few years now, consistently regarding it as the best offering in the X5 lineup. However, we’re now prepared to be bolder: the newly unveiled 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e arguably takes the crown as BMW’s premier SUV across the entire range. For many consumers, the plug-in hybrid BMW X5 has been the best value proposition in the lineup.
The 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e takes the reins from its predecessor, the 45e, introducing a host of technological enhancements. Therefore, we strongly believe that the new X5 PHEV will become one of the best-selling X5 models of the current generation. Last week, we flew to South Carolina for the annual BMW Test Fest where we had a chance to drive the new hybrid.
True to the tradition of mid-cycle refreshes, the BMW X5 xDrive50e brings quite a few changes in the aesthetics department. In contrast to recent bold and audacious BMW designs, the X5 facelift maintains a more conventional BMW appearance with its appropriately sized kidney grille. Slimmer headlights and a contemporary reinterpretation of the taillights contribute to a more modern and dynamic aesthetic. The M Sport package was also redesigned with more aggressive lines, but at the same time, with the controversial piano black plastic pieces.
iDrive 8.5 and Less Physical Buttons
Inside, the biggest changes revolve around the infotainment system. Initially launched with iDrive 8, now shipping with iDrive 8.5, the BMW X5 xDrive50e comes with a large curved display. Of course, because of that you’re losing the beloved physical buttons that control the AC or favorites. No surprise there, the writing has been on the wall for quite some time now. This makes the dashboard look cleaner and more modern. Now, the ambient lighting inside is pretty cool – it does fun things when you get a phone call and has other neat effects. It adds a techy/nerdy vibe to the car’s interior.
While the incorporation of BMW’s iDrive 8.5 and a toggle shifter gear selector pissed off the vocal BMW community, the cabin retains its characteristic sporty appearance and layout. Despite all of these changes, I still feel that the X5’s cabin is one of the best in business.
More Power, More Electric Range
Yet, aesthetics aside, what truly matters lies beneath the hood. At the core of the 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e is an upgraded inline-six, 3.0-liter gasoline engine (B58) paired with an electric motor integrated into the eight-speed automatic gearbox. Together, they produce an impressive 483 hp, a substantial increase of 94 hp compared to its predecessor, with torque climbing by 73 lb-ft to 516 lb-ft.
The combustion engine alone delivers 308 hp at 5,000 rpm and 331 lb-ft at 1,750 rpm, while the e-motor contributes 194 hp and 280 lb-ft. Accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, this plug-in hybrid SUV, weighing a robust 5,573 pounds, showcases the prowess of its powertrain. The BMW X5 xDrive50e also boasts a towing capacity of 5,952 lbs, sufficient for towing a midsize boat.
The lithium-ion battery pack, featuring an almost 25% increase in capacity, provides a usable energy of 25.7 kWh. Based on internal estimates using the EPA’s test procedure, the X5 xDrive50e is expected to achieve 40 miles in electric mode, an improvement of 10 miles over its predecessor.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t fully test the efficiency of the new drivetrain since our test drive focused mostly on the driving dynamics and the car wasn’t fully charged as well. But we started with around 27 miles and the entire loop was about 40 miles. We ran out of EV power at around the 30 miles mark so it’s likely that the estimates are fairly accurate. The refreshed BMW X5 PHEV now includes a combined charging unit supporting single-phase and three-phase charging, doubling maximum AC charging to 7.4 kW.
Less Cargo Room Due To The Battery Placement
On the practical side, the non-plug-in hybrid BMW X5 models have a cargo space of 33.9 cubic feet. The BMW X5 xDrive50e offers only marginally less at 33.1 cubic feet. If you decide not to choose the optional space-saving spare wheel, you’ll find a small storage area beneath the cargo floor. We even did a quick cargo test by hoping inside the trunk and it’s quite spacious, as odd as this test might sound.
Our car might have the perfect spec as well. On the outside, we got the beautiful Brooklyn Grey, one of the most popular X3 colors as well, paired with a Silverstone Sensafin “fake leather”. On top of this, BMW added the Driving Assistance Pro Package with the updated Highway Assistant which can do hands-free driving – on the highway – up to 85 mph.
The M Sport Package Pro also added some beefy 21 inch wheels, style 741M with performance tires. We also got to sample the upgraded brakes with red calipers.
Superb Ride Quality
With the battery positioned under the floor and standard air suspension at both front and rear axles, concerns about ride quality due to the additional weight of the X5 PHEV are alleviated. While driving on a combination of smooth and bumpy roads, the ride quality proved superb, effortlessly navigating whatever surface it faced. The 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e glides over the road with a poised composure that rivals luxury sedans. Coming from a bumpier XM ride earlier in the day, on the same surfaces, this was quite reassuring that BMW can still make plush and comfortable SUVs.
Naturally, the new drivetrain is exceptionally refined in electric mode, providing a serene driving experience. The cabin is extremely well insulated and despite the large wheels and summer tires, road noise was properly kept in check.
The transition between electric and petrol power is seamless, and even when the petrol engine kicks in, it does so with remarkable smoothness. If you decide to tap into its sporty side, the petrol engine responds with a playful growl and snort, adding a spirited touch to your driving experience. Of course, that B58 engine is brilliant and it will go down in history as one of the best BMW engines ever made.
This dual nature of the powertrain reflects the X5’s versatility, effortlessly balancing efficiency with a hint of sportiness. Speaking of the X5’s overall driving dynamics, this crossover can deliver when pushed hard. It’s a fun SUV, but without taking away from its luxury aspect.
Good Overall Driving Dynamics
Granted, the plug-in hybrid variant may sacrifice a bit of that urban compliance due to the additional weight, noticeable particularly in city settings. Yet, I don’t think it’s something most drivers will notice. In the end, this X5 PHEV still drives like a “normal” X5. Unfortunately, the X5 PHEVs don’t seem to have the Integral Active Steering, a feature which makes it easy navigating city centers and tighter streets.
However, this slight compromise is offset by the X5’s exceptional performance and comfort, even at higher speeds. Once you hit the open road, the ride becomes nothing short of excellent. The X5 seamlessly manages its size and bulk, maintaining a decent BMW steering response and precision. The driving experience is marked by an abundance of grip, and the X5 exhibits good body control, with the expected slight body roll.
We left this point for last because a lot of people have been asking us through comments on social media and Youtube: will you feel the extra 94 horsepower in day-to-day driving? Absolutely! Especially for an SUV of this size, any extra power is recommended. You will feel the bump in power in city driving situations and overtaking on the highway, and also when driving on the spirited side.
Should I Buy One?
The latest iteration of the BMW X5 PHEV delivers a familiar experience to buyers, and that’s not necessarily a drawback. This nearly perfect X5 has progressed in mostly favorable ways, despite maybe shortcomings like the lack of physical buttons and the slightly annoying oversized screen.
Yet, the enhancements to the plug-in hybrid powertrain with the added extra power, and the versatility of the overall package, makes this 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e arguably the best BMW SUV you can buy today. Even we though we love the sound and power of the V8 in the X5 M60i, at the end of the day, we will put our money on the X5 PHEV.
The base MSRP is $72,500 but with options, our tester was priced at $87,745 which is certainly not on the cheap side.
The new BMW X5 PHEV comes with a larger battery capacity and therefore more range – up to 40 miles on the EPA standard
The new BMW X5 50e comes with more power – 94 hp more – and more electric range. It also has a refreshed exterior and interior design.
BMW plug-in hybrids can also charge while driving. Regenerative braking allows the plug-in hybrid to regain part of its energy, especially in the Sport mode.