Frankfurt 2013: BMW X5 eDrive is a sensible counterpart to the flashy i8

With the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car set to take the stage, it was highly unlikely that anyone was going to pay attention to anything else at BMW’s 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show press conference. Certainly not an SUV.

BMW rolled one out anyway, though, and like the i8, it’s a plug-in hybrid. Meet the Concept X5 eDrive, a less radical approach to green motoring from BMW.

The plug-in X5 hasn’t gotten any prettier since BMW released photos of it a few weeks ago. It’s nearly identical to the gasoline and diesel sport utes in the recently revamped X5 range, with some added blue trim to tie it to the i8 and i3 electric city car.

Under the unassuming skin is a twin-turbocharged four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and the xDrive all-wheel drive system from a stock X5.

Operating as a hybrid, BMW says the Concept X5 eDrive will do 0 to 62 mph in under seven seconds. With the gasoline engine shut off, it has a range of 19 miles and a top speed of 75 mph. 

That’s just shy of the i8’s 22-mile range, and both vehicles have the same electric-only top speed.

BMW estimates the X5 eDrive’s fuel economy at 74.3 mpg on the European combined cycle.

One question that’s still unanswered is: Will BMW build it? 

Compared to the i3 and i8, the X5 eDrive is decidedly mainstream. That means it would be less risky to produce, but it would also run counter to the “revolution in mobility” BMW says it is trying to promote with the two more radical i vehicles.

So while there’s nothing about this plug-in SUV that would make production impossible, it’s actually seems too normal compared to its stablemates. Talk about being upstaged.

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