2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e hybrid SUV gets torque, range and tech bumps

BMW has revealed its latest plug-in hybrid, with the 2021 X5 xDrive45e promising more all-electric range than the previous SUV. Under the hood there's a new 3.0-liter inline-6 turbocharged engine, larger and with more cylinders than the old X5 xDrive40e could boast.

Combined with a new electric motor, meanwhile, it sees total system power increase to 389 horsepower. That's an 81 horsepower bump. Torque, meanwhile, is even more impressive: that has risen 111 lb-ft to 443 lb-ft in total.

It has, unsurprisingly, an impact on overall speed. 0-60 mph arrives in 5.3 seconds, trimming 1.2 seconds off the old SUV hybrid. More practically, the extra torque means towing capacity is up, too. With a factory-installed trailer hitch option fitted, the 2021 X5 xDrive45e is rated for 7,200 pounds.

Meanwhile, the battery is now twice the size, with 24 kWh to play with. BMW expects that to be rated at 30 miles using the EPA's test cycle, while top speed in all-electric mode is up from 75 mph to 84 mph. Though you do get a little less cargo space than a non-hybrid 2021 X5, it's only down 0.8 cubic feet, or 1.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

As you'd expect, there are multiple drive modes for managing the PHEV system. The default is Hybrid, which leaves the SUV to figure out its own combination of gas and electric driving. Electric-only top speed is 68 mph.

In Electric mode, meanwhile, the X5 xDrive45e sticks to EV driving as much as possible. That unlocks the 84 mph electric top speed, though if you want more power you can kick-down on the throttle pedal, or hit the eDrive button on the center console. Finally, Sport keeps the combustion engine running all the time, as well as cranking up the regeneration settings to be more aggressive.

As standard, there's an eight-speed Sport Steptronic transmission, while though the 2021 X5 xDrive45e is all-wheel drive as standard, it's rear-biased in most driving conditions. BMW has linked the gearbox to the navigation system, along with the Active Cruise Control's radar sensor if that option is fitted. It means, as we've seen on other recent BMW models, that the SUV will proactively manage its gear changes according to the upcoming road conditions, avoiding shifting if you're headed into a corner for example, or downshifting to use engine braking as you coast toward slower traffic ahead.

Dynamic Damper Control is standard, with electronically-controlled shock absorbers with different ride settings, as is two-axle air suspension. That can adjust the BMW across five height levels, including lifting it by up to 1.6 inches for off-road driving. At the opposite extreme, it can also lower the SUV from normal by 1.6-inches, for easier passenger and cargo loading and unloading.

Inside, there's the Live Cockpit Professional – with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen center display – as standard, plus standard navigation. Two USB-C ports are standard, plus Bluetooth, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Active Driving Assistant – including blind spot detection, lane departure warnings, and rear cross traffic alerts – is standard, while features like active cruise control and lane-keeping assistant are standard. The Parking Assistant Package uses the external cameras to record video and save it to a USB stick in the case of an accident.

Standard features include 19-inch wheels, privacy glass, adaptive full LED headlamps, and a panoramic sunroof. Options include 4-zone climate control and wireless phone charging, an M Sport Package with 20- or 21-inch wheels and extra exterior trim, and features like head-up display and a panoramic "sky lounge" LED roof.

The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e will go on sale in the US in July, the automaker says. It'll be priced from $65,400, plus $995 destination.