2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e Review: The No Compromise X5?

If you took a quick look at the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e, you’d likely pass it off as just your average X5. Why? Because there isn’t much denoting that it’s a plug-in hybrid other than the small xDrive45e badges on the lower part of the front doors and tailgate and the charging port on the driver’s side front fender. Otherwise, the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45 looks exactly like the other members of the X5 lineup. It doesn’t advertise its electrified nature for the whole world to see and is one of two midsize luxury crossovers available in the U.S. with a plug-in hybrid powertrain alongside the Volvo XC90.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e Exterior and Interior Styling

The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e features a long hood and two big kidney grilles just like its siblings that aren’t electrified. Thankfully, the latter hasn’t grown to the same size as found in the X7, 7 Series, and the 4 Series. As a result, the X5 is handsome and tastefully styled, which should allow it to age better than some of the newer BMW models. Jump inside and you’ll find a nicely trimmed interior with some of the most comfortable front thrones in the segment if you get the available multicontour seats. You still get generous second-row passenger room and cargo space regardless of whether the rear seats are up or down. Unfortunately, you lose out on the available third-row found on the non-electrified models. The dash design remains conservative featuring a horizontal layout.  You’ll find the infotainment system controls on the center console if you don’t want to use the touchscreen, and right next to it are the drive mode controls.

What Powers the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e?

Under the hood of the 2021 X5 xDrive45e, you’ll find a 3.0-liter turbo I6 coupled to an eight-speed automatic, an electric motor, and a 24-kWh lithium-ion battery (17.7-kWh usable capacity). The total system is 389 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. In EV mode, the X5 PHEV can travel up to 31 miles per charge or 19/22/20 mpg city/highway/combined in the EPA cycle. The top speed in EV mode is 83 mph, provided you’re gentle on the throttle that is. Unlike certain hybrid vehicles with AWD, the X5 xDrive45e retains a mechanical setup, which should make it more capable on poor weather conditions versus the Volvo or Lexus setups that use an electric motor in the rear axle. The added weight of the plug-in hybrid powertrain, however, means you have less towing capacity than the standard X5 at just below 6,000 pounds. That, however, is still more than what the Volvo XC90 and Lexus RX 450h can tow. Charging times are on the long end at 4.0- to 5.0 hours even with a level 2 or 240-volt charge.

Does the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e Qualify for Tax Credits and Incentives?

Thanks to the 24.0-kWh battery, the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit. If you’re able to take advantage of that, the plug-in X5 will be less expensive than the gas-powered models. It also qualifies for state incentives like the California Clean Fuel Reward.

0 to 60: 5.2 seconds
60 to 0:  128 feet
Handling: B
Ride: A
Cabin Noise: A+; 69.5 dB
Fuel Economy: C


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