BMW’s first-ever plug-in hybrid is now a reality, as the carmaker prepares to roll out its new X5 xDrive40e.
Power comes from a four-cylinder TwinPower turbocharged petrol engine matched with an electric motor in the ‘conventional’ hybrid way and BMW’s eight-speed automatic transmission.
The xDrive40e uses the resources of both powerplants once the battery’s energy is insufficient to run the electric motor alone, rather than using the petrol engine as a range extender.
Together, the two powerplants offer up a combined 230kW and return a fuel figure as low as 3.3 l/100km, with CO2 emissions measuring 77 g/km.
The battery engine produces 250Nm of torque and can deliver up to 31km of zero-emissions driving before the petrol engine kicks in.
From that point, the driver can choose from three ‘eDrive’ modes, titled Auto (self-explanatory), Max (maximum all-electric driving) and Save - which retains the battery pack’s charge or uses the petrol engine to recharge it, enabling the driver to switch to Max mode later in the journey.
BMW’s xDrive AWD system has three driving modes of its own, called Comfort, Sport and ECO Pro.
The lithium-ion battery pack is stored underneath the floor to maximise storage potential, with the X5 still offering up between 500 and 1,720 litre of cargo space depending on the position of the rear seats.
The battery pack can be recharged from a conventional household power outlet, public charging stations or BMW’s i Wallbox - a device familiar to BMW i3 and i8 owners who chose to pay for the optional extra when they purchased their i cars.
BMW says technology from its i twins has filtered down to its X5 PHEV, and reports suggest plug-in hybrid versions of the X3 and X4 might not be far behind.
Like other X5 models, the xDrive40e can be ordered with BMW’s M Sport package, or further personalised with BMW Individual options.
Speaking with TMR, BMW Australia communications chief Lenore Fletcher said that while a local launch for the X5 xDrive40e is still to be confirmed, its case looks promising.
"We are currently assessing the business case for the e40 and will have that finalised in a few months. We are looking at launching that vehicle late in 2015 or early in 2016," Ms Fletcher said.
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