BMW is plugging in to efficiency in a new way with the announcement of the X5 xDrive40e.
Despite the tedious name, this new mid-size crossover SUV is the first plug-in hybrid vehicle from BMW, outside of its innovative "i" sub-brand.
The crossover is based on the existing X5 lineup and is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an electric motor.
X5 40e has a total of 313 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, courtesy of the 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine and the electric motor. The latter is powered by a 9.0 kWh lithium-ion battery, which is located under the cargo floor in the trunk.
That battery adds a hefty 440 pounds to the curb weight of the gas-only X5 35i, yet the hybrid is still relatively quick. BMW says the new model can do zero to 62 mph in 6.8 seconds, compared to 6.5 seconds for the X5 35i.
The new X5 40e can also drive on electric-only power. It has a range of 19 miles and a top speed of 75 mph in this mode.
Recharging via a traditional 110-volt wall socket takes a little under four hours. Customers who opt for an optional high-speed charger can refill their BMW’s batteries in 2 hours 45 minutes.
Though it’s the first mainstream BMW to use a plug-in system, the automaker said it used what it learned from its "i" sub-brand in developing the new X5. That sub-brand is home to the tidy all-electric i3 city car and the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, both currently on the market.
When the X5 40e hits the U.S. market at the end of this year, it will join a growing contingent of plug-in luxury SUVs.
Volvo’s new XC90 line, expected to go on sale in several months, has a top-end model that’s a plug-in hybrid. Audi’s forthcoming redesign of the Q7 crossover SUV will include a plug-in diesel variant. And Mercedes is expected to launch a plug-in hybrid model of the refreshed M-Class SUV that will initially debut at April’s New York Auto Show.
Pricing on the X5 40e hasn’t been announced, though it’s expected to cost more than the base gas model, which starts at $54,850.