Skip to main content

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.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
With 1,800 horsepower, Bugatti’s Tourbillon brings plug-ins past the Prius
The Bugatti Tourbillon is a plug-in hybrid.

Plug-in hybrid technology has reached the automotive industry’s upper echelon. Bugatti has unveiled the Tourbillon, the long-awaited successor to the Chiron, with a gasoline-electric drivetrain rated at 1,800 horsepower, 3D-printed parts in the suspension, and an unusual sound system that has no speakers.

Bugatti developed the Tourbillon on a blank slate. The big coupe’s proportions are relatively close to the Chiron’s because the two cars need to fulfill a similar mission: cruise safely and comfortably at jaw-dropping speeds. Bugatti hints that hitting 250-plus-mph is well within the Tourbillon’s scope of capabilities. For context, the Chiron set a speed record and became the first car to break the 300-mph barrier when it reached 304 mph in 2019, so the brand knows a thing or two about speed.

Read more
Tesla has teased three new cars — but what are they?
Tesla Roadster

Tesla is expanding its lineup. We've known for some time that Tesla has been working on two new models, but at a recent shareholders meeting, CEO Elon Musk showed off a slide that showed three cars under a white sheet -- suggesting that there are actually three new Tesla vehicles in the pipeline. The new models will expand its consumer lineup to eight cars -- which will hopefully mean that the company offers something for everyone.

But what are those new vehicles? Of course, there's still a lot we don't know about the new Tesla models. However, Tesla itself has offered some information --- and plenty of rumors have also surfaced about what the company is potentially working on.

Read more
EVs may produce more emissions during manufacturing, but they quickly catch up
european cars getting bigger engines emissions car pollution smog

Electric vehicles are here in full force, and while they're still more expensive than their gas-powered counterparts, prices are slowly, but surely coming down. In fact, EVs are likely to be just as affordable as internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in the next few years. But like anything, there are pros and cons to buying an EV over an ICE vehicle. For example, on average, it's cheaper to charge an electric vehicle than to fill the gas tank of an ICE vehicle -- not to mention the lower costs of maintenance.

At face value, having a smaller impact on the environment is also a tick in the EV column. But as many have been rightfully pointing out, the impact that EVs have on the environment is a little more complicated than the simple fact that they're not using gasoline and themselves emitting carbon dioxide. For example, what about the emissions involved with manufacturing an electric vehicle compared to a gas-powered vehicle? What about the materials in those huge batteries?

Read more