Published on January 13th, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW X5 xDrive45e Test Drive Review
Seven Months Late But Better Than Never.
When BMW Malaysia launched this all new X5 luxury SUV it was right in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. After the success of the previous X5 which was launched in June 2016, here comes the all new BMW X5 Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) exactly 48 month later at a selling price of RM440,745 with a strong 8-year or 160,000 kilometers plug-in hybrid battery warranty. There is also a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty with free scheduled service program to ensure Malaysian buyers a worry free ownership.
It must be noted that the 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e enjoyed a great low emission tax friendly selling price of just RM388,888.00 (actual selling price without tax benefits would have been RM582,000) which gave wealthy Malaysians the opportunity to have this large, luxurious 7 seat SUV in their garage with a savings of a whopping RM193,112.
What You Get Underneath
Under the hood is a 3.0-litre and 286hp in-line 6-cylinder engine from the current BMW EfficientDynamics drive family and the fourth generation of BMW eDrive technology. An electric motor with an output of 113hp, a lithium-ion battery with a gross energy content increased to 24.0 kWh and further developed power electronics for intelligent energy management give the plug-in hybrid system of the BMW X5 xDrive45e unique performance characteristics as well as an impressive level of efficiency.
Together, the two drive units generate a system output of 394hp along with a maximum system torque of 600Nm. The combustion engine and electric motor deliver their power to an 8-speed Steptronic transmission of the latest generation and the intelligent all-wheel drive system BMW xDrive. In this way, the drive torque is transferred to all four wheels when driving on electric power alone as well as when using the combustion engine or both drive units. This ensures sporty driving pleasure on the road and also good off-road performance which most owners will never drove on to keep their luxury paint work shining bright.
This new BMW X5 xDrive 45e takes 5.6 seconds for the sprint from zero to 100km/h, which is 1.2 seconds less than the predecessor model. Its top speed is 235km/h.
Looks Are Deceiving
First impression, it is hard to tell the difference between this new model and the outgoing model from the side and rear. It is the large imposing front face that informs you it is a brand new X5. A wheelbase 42 mm longer than its predecessor’s (now 2,975 millimetres), a 36 mm increase in vehicle length (to 4,922 millimetres), an extra 66 mm of width (now 2,004 millimetres) and a 19 mm increase in height (to 1,745 millimetres) gives this new BMW X5 both an imposing appearance and generous levels of space for passengers and their luggage.
Step inside and you will notice the improved features along the traditional looking BMW dashboard. The fully-digital instrument cluster and the Control Display are connected visually by consistency of design and also share the same graphics. The centre console hosts the Controller, the newly designed transmission selector lever and all other driving-related controls which is the Driving Experience Control switch, the start/stop ignition button and the buttons to activate the air suspension settings and off-road modes. There is a new-look control panel for the air conditioning.
This X5 Test Drive
From the moment we opened the large wide driver’s door there was a sense of occasion as this X5 was sitting rather imposing on the tarmac. Our test vehicle was not in a flattering colour, it was instead in this plain white colour. White did not show the lines of this ‘Sports Activity Vehicle’ SAV in its best form. We ignited the 3.0L engine and it responded with an initial growl and quickly settled into a muted rumble. Insulation was great and we got comfortable in the driver seat. We drove out of the car park and into heavy traffic for the first 20-25 minutes enjoying the attention from other motorists as they noticed the large, imposing new nose treatment.
We found an opening in traffic and tapped the accelerator pedal with added enthusiasm and immediately felt the unmistakable power delivery from both powertrains working together. Yes, despite its heft, this 3.0L turbocharged engine felt light and spritely. With a massive 600Nm of torque available to us we kept the drive mode in ‘sport’ to exploit this SAV.
Wide front seats offer good comfort and the view around was quite good. As the hours passed we got more a-tuned to its size and found it easier to work around traffic and smaller housing area streets.
Yes, its well built, quick, brimming with technology with quality fitment around the cabin, however, it does not look very different over its outgoing model which means older X5 owners might have little reason to upgrade. But when you put this X5 side by side with its immediate rival, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG which was launched in March 2019 for RM633,888, this X5 plug-in hybrid makes a lot of sense. However, lets not discount the latest version of the Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV which offers similar levels of luxury and driving pleasure (with 3rd row seating included) at a selling price of just RM373,888.
Take all three vehicles for a test drive yourself and make that decision to purchase after feeling all three vehicles at the edge of your palms.
BMW X5 xDrive45e Specifications
Engine: 6-cylinder Turbo Petrol + Electric Motor
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic Transmission
Max Output: 394bhp (113hp electric)
Max Torque: 600Nm (265Nm electric)
0-100km/h: 5.6 seconds
Top Speed: 235km/h