With fewer than 100 examples made, you could say this is the rarest BMW X5 from the current fourth generation (G05). You can’t just head to your local dealer and buy it. Why? Because the iX5 is part of a test fleet with prototypes spread in multiple countries to evaluate how a hydrogen-fueled SUV behaves in a real-world scenario. It’s based on the pre-LCI model and has temporarily joined the French police fleet.

At the request of The Ministry of the Interior and the Overseas, BMW Group France has handed over the keys to a couple of iX5 examples. One of them is being used by the police prefecture in Paris (Préfecture de Police de Paris). As for the other, it’s operated by the military force with law enforcement duties at the Paris-Orly airport (Gendarmerie des Transports Aériens d’Orly). The two zero-emission SUVs will return to BMW before the end of the year.

BMW officials have suggested a hydrogen vehicle will go into series production before the end of 2030, indicating it would be a large car, quite likely an SUV. In the meantime, it’s testing the iX5 in Japan, China, South Korea, Europe, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates. The electric X5 has been engineered with two hydrogen tanks made from CFRP, each holding six kilograms. It takes 3-5 minutes to fill them, resulting in a maximum range in the WLTP cycle of around 313 miles (504 kilometers).

The BMW iX5 packs 401 horsepower, enough for a sprint to 62 mph (100 km/h) in less than six seconds. These prototypes have been built in Spartanburg alongside the conventionally powered X5. However, the SUVs had to be shipped to Germany to undergo a series of modifications to run on hydrogen instead of gasoline or diesel.

The iX5 weighs about 5,512 pounds (2,500 kilograms) and uses a fuel cell sourced from Toyota, one of the few automakers that hasn’t given up on hydrogen just yet.

Source: BMW France