BMW has launched the second-generation plug-in hybrid X5 Sports Activity Vehicle, the X5 xDrive45e, in the US. (Earlier post.) The US X5 xDrive45e arrives with a SULEV Super ultra-low emissions vehicle rating which can bring additional benefits in states which offer special consideration to drivers of electrified vehicles, such as high occupancy lane access stickers.
The X5 xDrive45e is built at Plant Spartanburg, South Carolina, BMW Group’s largest global production plant. In 2019, the high-voltage battery assembly area at Plant Spartanburg doubled in size in preparation for the new X3 xDrive30e and X5 xDrive45e. 120 people currently work on the battery assembly line.
The new x5 xDrive45e greatly enhances performance over the previous X5 xDrive40e with a 3.0 liter 6-cylinder TwinPower turbocharged internal combustion engine (replacing the previous generation’s 2.0 liter 4-cylinder TwinPower turbocharged motor) BMW’s latest eDrive technology and a larger, more advanced high-voltage electric battery.
The combined power of the new PHEV drivetrain is 389 hp, a bump of 81 hp over the previous generation. Torque is now 443 ft-lb (600 N·m), an increase of 111 ft-lbs. 0 to 60 mph acceleration time is 5.3 seconds, 1.2 seconds faster than before. The prodigious amount of torque also allows for a factory-installed optional trailer hitch (rated for 7,200 lbs. of towing).
The high-voltage battery grows in size to 24 kWh, up from the previous X5 xDrive40e’s 12 kWh capacity. As a result, electric-only range doubles from a previous EPA rating of 14 miles to a new EPA estimated 30-mile range. Electric-only top speed increases from 75 mph to 84 mph.
The high-voltage battery is positioned in the underbody of the X5, minimizing impact on cargo space. With the rear seats up, cargo space is only 0.8 cubic feet less than the standard X5. With the rear seats folded, cargo space is 1.1 cubic feet less.
The X5 xDrive45e features three drive modes:
Hybrid – the default mode upon start up. This fully automatic setting allows the advanced electronics to determine the most efficient or performance-oriented combined use of gasoline and electric power based on driver input. Electric-only driving may be experienced at speeds up to 68 mph in this mode.
Electric – This electric only mode can be used at speeds up to 84 mph. The driver can change back to hybrid mode by either pushing the throttle pedal through the kick-down position or via the eDrive button on the center console.
Sport – This keeps the combustion engine engaged for particularly sporty driving and allows for more aggressive energy regeneration from engine and mechanical braking.
The BMW intelligent xDrive system offers a rear-biased setup to enhance both spirited performance driving and all-season traction on differing road surfaces, from dry to slippery.
The standard eight-speed Sport Steptronic transmission’s intelligent connectivity enables it to adapt its shift strategy according to the route and driving situation by working with the navigation system and if equipped, combining this data with information from the Active Cruise Control system’s radar sensor. This makes it possible for the transmission to shift proactively instead of reactively insuring that the vehicle is always in the correct gear for the upcoming road conditions.
Driver Assistance Systems. The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e is available with a wide variety of standard and optional driver assistance systems. The systems relieve strains on the driver in monotonous situations, such as traffic jams, or when driving long distances. The driver assistance systems process camera images as well as the data gathered by ultrasonic and radar sensors to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings, warn of potential hazards and minimize the risk of an accident with corrective braking or steering inputs.
The standard Active Driving Assistant on the new BMW X5 xDrive45e includes Blind Spot Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Collision Warning, Frontal Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Collision Mitigation (which now also alerts the driver if cyclists are detected) Cross Traffic Alert Rear and Speed Limit Information.
The optional Driving Assistance Professional Package offers comprehensive assistance for comfortable and safe driving. This package includes Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function. It can be used at speeds up to 130 mph and maintains the desired speed while taking the traffic situation into account and the selected distance to vehicles in front. If required, the system is able to brake, stop the car and pull away again automatically after being stationary for up to 30 seconds, meaning greater comfort in stop-start traffic. Camera images and data from a front radar system are used for distance control.
Another component of the Driving Assistance Professional Package is the Lane Keeping Assistant with Active Side Collision Protection. This system is designed to help the driver guide the vehicle back on to the correct path with an active turn of the steering wheel. Besides emitting visual warning signals and causing the steering wheel to vibrate, Active Side Collision Protection also uses active steering intervention to help avoid a collision. Moreover, this package includes Extended Traffic Jam Assistant for limited access highways, which allows for even more relaxed driving at speeds lower than 40 mph during highly congested highway traffic situations. The Driving Assistance Professional Package includes Evasion Aid, which now also reacts to pedestrians, and Front Cross Traffic Alert—which reduces the danger of a collision when maneuvering toward roads that are obstructed from the driver’s view.
The drive recorder, a new feature on the optional Parking Assistance Package, uses the cameras of the various driver assistance systems to record video footage from the front and/or rear view points of the vehicle before storing the recordings. The saved video files can be either watched later on the center control display when the car is stationary or exported via the USB port. When activated, the drive recorder shoots and stores up to 40 seconds of video. In the event of a collision, a period of up to 20 seconds around the moment of impact is automatically recorded and saved.