BMW’s 2016 X5 xDrive 40e could be the perfect SUV for the Sierra Club

After showing concepts in Frankfurt and New York over the past year and a half, BMW is finally ready to unveil the production version of its plug-in hybrid X5.

Saddled with the ungainly name 2016 BMW X5 xDrive 40e, the new plug-in hybrid will debut at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show next month, and go on sale before the end of the year.

As with the Concept X5 eDrive show vehicles, the production version uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, eight-speed automatic transmission, and electric motor to drive all four wheels.

In hybrid mode, the two power sources are good for a combined 309 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque, enough to get the X5 from 0 to 62 mph in 6.8 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph.

BMW estimates combined fuel economy at 83.1 mpg on the European testing cycle. The 9-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack also provides enough juice for 19 miles of electric-only driving, at speeds up to 75 mph.

That pack is also used to power the X5’s 12-volt electrical accessory system using a transformer.

Owners looking to maximize electric motoring will want to plug in to recharge the battery pack, which takes three hours and 50 minutes from a conventional wall outlet, or two hours and 45 minutes with one of BMW’s i Wallbox Pure home charging stations.

Like many other hybrid vehicles, the X5 xDrive 40e also comes with a choice of driving modes.

Auto eDrive lets the car decide what combination of gas and electric power is most efficient at a given time, Max eDrive shuts off the gasoline engine for electric running, and Battery Save builds up a battery charge for later use.

These modes can be combined with the Comfort, Sport, and Eco Pro settings already found in most BMWs. In this case, Eco Pro allows for coasting when the driver lifts off the accelerator.

Drivers looking for even more control can use the BMW Remote app to monitor the battery’s state of charge, find charging stations, and track fuel savings.

The 2016 BMW X5 xDrive 40e will be built in the same Spartanburg, South Carolina, plant that builds the rest of the X5 lineup, as well as other BMW SUVs. It goes on sale this fall.

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