As far as full battery electrics have come, they still don't fit into everyone's lifestyle. That's where PHEVs or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles come in. Here's a look at the latest such vehicle from BMW.

Much like we are in a transitional phase from fossil fueled cars to battery electric vehicles; PHEVs truly put that transition into practice. It’s a pure EV when you want one, like commuting and around town, and a gas-engine hybrid when you need one for longer trips. To that, the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e adds the capability families desire, and the amenities luxury SUV buyers look for. BMW has been at the PHEV game for quite some time; long enough that this is now the 2nd generation of the system found here in the X5.  

Previously 4-cylinder based, the xDrive45e steps up to BMW’s 3.0-liter inline-6 for the internal combustion portion of the drivetrain. An 83-kW electric motor is added, for a combined output of 389-horsepower and 443 lb-ft. of torque.

Battery capacity doubles in size to 24-kWh, providing 30-miles of EV driving.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 20-Combined and 50-Combined for the MPGe. That’s a much better than average Energy Impact Score of 6.7-barrels of yearly oil use, with just 2.9-tons of annual CO2 emissions.  

But, this is still a BMW, so performance remains a big part of the equation. The powertrain delivers big torque off the line, and standard xDrive all-wheel-drive ensures all of it gets to the pavement for a very quick getaway. We hit 60 in just 4.7-seconds.

All of the battery cells and associated hardware add a lot of weight to the X5. But, it still handled itself with grace through our handling course. Steering lacks road feel, but is quick and has a sporty weight to it. Body roll is minimal; with no excessive oversteer or understeer to contend with.     

Everything inside is equal parts luxurious and techy; with a long list of standard equipment.

The xDrive45e is basically two vehicles in one, yet its starting price, at $64,695, is just $4,300 over the base model, and far from the most you can spend on an X5.

The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e PHEV is a capable and luxurious family utility and an easy way to get a taste of what battery power can offer. 




  • Engine: 3.0L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 389
  • Torque: 443 lb-ft
  • 0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds
  • EV Range: 30 miles
  • EPA: 20 Combined (MPG) / 50 Combined (MPGe)