2021 BMW X5 plug-in hybrid SUV: More power, more than double the electric range

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The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive 45e is the second generation of the German automaker\’s mid-size plug-in hybrid SUV. Unveiled Wednesday for the U.S., it gets more than double the electric range of its predecessor, but also boasts more power.

Estimated EPA range will increase to 30 miles, up from 14 miles for the previous-generation X5 plug-in hybrid.

That\’s due in large part to a bigger, 24-kilowatt-hour, battery pack. That\’s huge for a plug-in hybrid (the previous-generation model had a 12-kWh pack), and the same size as the battery pack in the original Nissan Leaf.

Housed underneath the floor, the pack does eat into cargo space somewhat. Cargo space is down 0.8 cubic feet from a standard X5 with the rear seats up, and 1.1 cubic feet with the rear seats down, according to BMW.

The 2021 X5 plug-in hybrid also gets a larger internal-combustion engine. A 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 replaces the previous 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4. The bigger engine works with a single electric motor, sending power to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Power is up significantly from the previous-generation X5 plug-in hybrid. Total system output is 389 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, increases of 81 hp and 111 lb-ft.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive 45e

Running on both gasoline and electric power, the X5 will do 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds, which is 1.2 seconds quicker than before, according to BMW. The automaker also quoted a maximum tow rating of 7,200 pounds, when equipped with the optional factory-installed hitch.

In electric mode, top speed is electronically limited to 84 mph—up from 70 mph before. In hybrid mode, the X5 is electronically limited to 130 mph, or 146 mph with optional performance tires.

The two-pronged focus on improving acceleration while also allowing more electric range is shared with BMW\’s other new plug-in hybrids.

The question remains whether the X5 will get better gas mileage than a non-hybrid, especially if owners don\’t reliably charge it.

Like the X5, the 330e plug-in hybrid sedan revealed in late March sports more electric range than its predecessor—but also worse mpg than a non-hybrid 3-Series.

However, in a recent first drive of the 2020 BMW 754e plug-in hybrid, we saw better than the EPA-rated fuel economy.

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