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BMW brand’s first production PHEV: the BMW X5 xDrive40e

The first plug-in hybrid production car from the BMW core brand is a Sports Activity Vehicle: the BMW X5 xDrive40e. With a total system output of 230 kW/313 hp generated by a four-cylinder gasoline engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, a synchronous electric motor integrated in the 8-speed Steptronic transmission, and a 9.0 kWh, 96-cell high-voltage Li-ion battery pack, the BMW X5 xDrive40e achieves a combined fuel consumption of 3.4 – 3.3 liters per 100 kilometers (69 - 71 mpg US) and a combined electricity consumption of 15.4 – 15.3 kWh over the same distance.

CO2 emissions come in at 78 – 77 grams per kilometer (figures according to EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles, may vary depending on the tire format specified).

The new BMW X5 xDrive40e reaps the benefits of the technology and know-how transferred from the debut of the BMW i cars; notably the i8 plug-in hybrid. Click to enlarge.
  • Short everyday journeys in urban areas can be completed with zero tailpipe emissions, while actual fuel consumption is reduced substantially when driving for distances of up to 25 kilometers (approx. 15 miles) in urban traffic; the BMW X5 xDrive40e is capable of consuming between just zero and 3.0 liters of fuel for every 100 kilometers in such situations (zero consumption – 78 mpg US).

  • On longer journeys, assuming the high-voltage battery is fully charged, daily commutes of between 50 and 60 kilometers (approx. 30 – 37 miles) can be completed in practice with a fuel consumption of no more than 6.5 liters per 100 kilometers (min. 36 mpg US), depending on driving style.

  • When the fuel tank is filled to its 85-liter capacity and the high-voltage battery pack is charged, the BMW X5 xDrive40e can keep fuel consumption below the 11.0 liters per 100 kilometers mark (min. 21 mpg US).

Powertrain. The 2.0-liter internal combustion engine fitted in the BMW X5 xDrive40e has won the coveted title of “International Engine of the Year” three times and features a TwinScroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC variable valve timing and variable camshaft control on both the intake and exhaust sides (Double-VANOS). It generates a maximum output of 180 kW/245 hp and 350 N·m (258 lb-ft) of peak torque.

The electric motor puts an output of 83 kW/113 hp on tap, with maximum torque of 250 N·m (184 lb-ft).

Output and torque diagrams. Left: combustion engine. Right: electric motor. Click to enlarge.

At home, the 9.0 kWh battery pack can recharge from a domestic power socket, or the BMW i Wallbox Pure (3.5 kW, 16 A/230 V), which takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to fully recharge an empty battery pack. Charging progress can be checked on a graphic displayed in the vehicle’s instrument cluster or on a smartphone using the BMW Remote app. The home charging station comes in a second version, the BMW i Wallbox Pro, offering added convenience features.

The BMW X5 xDrive40e completes the 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint in just 6.8 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph). In all-electric drive mode, meanwhile, the vehicle is capable of a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph), again electronically limited.

The BMW xDrive permanent all-wheel-drive system ensures top traction in all weather and road surface conditions, together with optimized handling stability and increased agility when powering through corners. An electronically controlled multi-plate clutch provides the basis for fully variable distribution of the drive torque between the front and rear wheels.

As it is linked up to the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), the xDrive system is furthermore capable of acting in advance to counter vehicle understeer or oversteer and to always direct drive power in such a way as to optimize the handling dynamics.

Driving Experience Control switch and eDrive button. The eDrive button on the centre console lets the driver modify the powertrain control. When the vehicle is first started, the default AUTO eDrive setting is activated, with both engine and electric motor working in tandem.

The electric motor alone is used for setting off with normal power requirements, while the engine cuts in at around 70 km/h (44 mph) or when the driver wishes to accelerate very sharply. In this mode, the intelligent operating strategy determines the most efficient drive combination at all times and switches to it automatically. The driver can also switch to the all-electric drive mode setting MAX eDrive, in which the vehicle is powered solely by the electric motor. This mode is designed for comfortable driving with zero local emissions without the engine being started, and offers a maximum range of 31 kilometers (approx. 19 miles) at a limited top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).

The third mode that can be activated is the SAVE Battery setting, which allows the driver to save or build up the high-voltage battery’s energy reserves for a later point in time. When driving on the highway, for example, the state of charge can be kept constant or even boosted in order to use the high-voltage battery’s power for all-electric driving in urban areas later in the journey. In this way, the stored electrical energy can be selectively deployed exactly when required.

The BMW X5 xDrive40e also comes as standard with a Driving Experience Control switch, just like the conventionally powered model variants of the sports activity vehicle. This can be used to activate the vehicle set-up modes COMFORT, SPORT and ECO PRO, which each have the effect of altering the throttle mapping, the steering characteristics, the responses of the 8-speed Steptronic transmission, as well as the characteristics of the Dynamic Damper Control included as standard on the BMW X5 xDrive40e.

The ECO PRO mode furthermore triggers efficiency-optimized control of electrically powered comfort functions, such as the air conditioning, seat heating and heated mirrors. Besides this, when travelling on the overrun at speeds between 0 and 160 km/h (0 – 100 mph), the coasting function shuts off the engine, allowing the vehicle to glide along without burning any fuel.

The modes selectable with the eDrive button and the Driving Experience Control switch can be combined with one another at will, allowing the powertrain control and vehicle set-up to be tailored to the prevailing situation and the driver’s personal preferences.

Instrument cluster and Control Display. The BMW X5 xDrive40e comes as standard with a black-panel instrument cluster which has had hybrid-specific functions added to its array of readouts.

The drive readiness display positioned in the lower part of the engine rev counter switches from “OFF” to “READY” when the start/stop button is pressed. The high-voltage battery’s state of charge is visualized in the form of a battery symbol below the gear display. The Driving Experience Control switch setting is also indicated, as is the operating mode selected with the eDrive button. Depending on the selected drive mode, information on the vehicle’s electric and total range, current fuel or electricity consumption, recuperation of electrical energy in the high-voltage battery and the progress of vehicle charging can likewise all be shown in the instrument cluster.

Model-specific menu options and readouts are also available in the iDrive operating system’s Control Display. An energy flow display can be called up while on the move, illustrating in graphical form the interaction between combustion engine and electric motor as well as how energy is being fed to the high-voltage battery.

Charging of the battery from the mains power supply can also be controlled from the iDrive menu. A timer function is available for this purpose, which can factor in a planned departure time as entered by the driver. In addition to this, preconditioning of both the interior and the battery can be programmed in the iDrive menu as well.

The electrically powered auxiliary heating and ventilation function is also part of the standard specification on the BMW X5 xDrive40e. It can either run on mains electricity during vehicle charging or be powered by the high-voltage battery if it has sufficient capacity.

Production. The BMW X5 xDrive40e is being produced at the BMW Spartanburg plant in South Carolina—the location where all other model variants of the sports activity vehicle are also built together with the BMW X6, BMW X3 and BMW X4 models.

The BMW X5 xDrive40e is assembled in parallel with both the other model variants of the BMW X5 and the BMW X6 on a shared production line. Special assembly steps have been added to the manufacturing process for integrating the hybrid-specific components.

The high-voltage battery is manufactured in a newly constructed production hall on the site of the BMW Spartanburg plant.


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