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2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e Review and 2017 Updates

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2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e
And a few updates for 2017

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

It was new for 2016 and it’s a hybrid-powered SUV from BMW. This X5 is BMW’s first plug-in hybrid core production model. That is, outside of the BMW i line-up.

When you hear the term hybrid is a Prius the first thing you picture? Well, put that aside. BMW’s approach to vehicle hybridization is to delivery performance with more efficiency.

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BMW likes to refer to the X5 as a Sports Activity Vehicle. Well, OK. The X5 has seating for five and has a large cargo area in the rear plus all-wheel-drive.

The X5 xDrive40e will scoot from zero to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. For comparison the non-hybrid gasoline engine X5 gets to 60 mph in about 6.1 seconds. There’s 308 total system horsepower from the combination of the turbo 4-cylinder gasoline engine and the electric motor.

And you still have BMWs xDrive all-wheel-drive, even in all-electric mode. Also there’s a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission moving the power to the pavement, instead of a CVT like many other hybrids use.

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With all this performance you still get up to 14 miles of all-electric driving and an EPA fuel economy rating of 56 MPGe. The gasoline-only EPA test-cycle rating is 24 mpg combined. All for a base price of $62,100 plus the $995 destination charge.

The X5 xDrive40e has a top speed of 130 mph. In all-electric drive mode the vehicle is capable of a top speed of 75 mph. Both are electronically limited.

I drove a fairly loaded-up X5 xDrive40e around my Chicago environs. It was the M Sport variety that added $4,350 to the $62,100 base price. Twenty-inch black-finish M wheels were another $950. Multi-contour seats added $950; a Premium Package cost $2,550; the Space Gray Metallic finish was $550; Ceramic contols for $650, plus more.

Even the rear view camera was $400 more, which in my opinion should be standard equipment. A surround view system was $750.

All-in-all this 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e topped out a $75,870. By the way the Federal Tax Credit can apply of up to $7500.

If I was buying I’m not sure I would opt for the M Sport package. It does add some unique features and trim. I loved the M Sport steering wheel. But the wheels and tires would not be really good in snow. A set of four winter tires on their own wheels might be then required.

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I believe that the owner of any plug-in hybrid should have a level 2, 240 volt charger installed at home. BWW makes this available for the X5 xDrive40e under the umbrella of BMW 360° ELECTRIC. The BMW Charging Station is capable of replenishing the high-voltage battery at a charging rate of 3.5 kW (16 A/220 V). As a result, it takes approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes to fully recharge an empty battery pack. There is also the ChargeNow service, comprising a ChargeNow card that grants access to the entire network of ChargePoint public charging stations nationwide.

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This hybrid X5 is a BMW through and through. The focus is driving performance, which I prefer, and this SUV does deliver on that. Ride and handling are quite outstanding. The suspension is tuned for sporty driving while also not being disturbingly firm or uncomfortable. I noticed that to stay in all-electric mode in around town driving I needed to be light on the throttle. Not my style.

Along with the versatility of an SUV the X5 has 34.2 cu.ft. of cargo room that can grow to 72.5 cu.ft. with the rear seat folded. The liftgate/tailgate combo caught me by surprise. It’s great for tailgating but not as convenient for cargo loading. Also note that it lacks the regular X5's optional third row.

For 2017 BMW made a few updates to the iDrive control system and some changes to the exterior trim. There’s WiFi hotspot and wireless charging too.

More information and specs on the BMW X5 can be found at

A few things to note on the X5. It’s built in the good-ole U.S. of A. in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The engine is certified as a low emission vehicle so your workplace may offer closer-in parking if they are a LEED certified building. And BMW’s maintenance program covering 4 years or 50,000 miles of all factory-recommended maintenance is really nice to have.

Of note is that the BMW X5 xDrive 40e was a finalist for 2017 Green SUV of the Year.

© 2017 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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