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BMW X5 xDrive40e: a little taste of i for X at New York

Published: 01 April 2015

The first non-i plug-in hybrid BMW
Making its debut at the New York show
Mixing 309bhp punch with 77g/km purity

BMW is showing its X5 xDrive40e at the 2015 New York motor show. It's Munich's first 'non-i' branded plug-in hybrid, proving that technology from the Project i cars is trickling down across the range.

'This is technology tested on the i3 and i8 coming across to our SUVs,' global marketing chief Ian Robertson told CAR. 'That's always been our plan.'

The 40e hybrid is built locally at the Spartanburg factory in the US, alongside the X4, X5 and X6, but is destined to come to the UK in autumn 2015.

BMW X5 xDrive40e: the lowdown

This SUV mates a four-cylinder 2.0-litre twin-turbo petrol engine with an 112bhp electric engine. Total system output? 309bhp and 332lb ft of torque, and there's the capability of driving silently on e-power for short urban trips up to around 15 miles before the petrol engine kicks in.

As is usual with plug-in hybrids, the claimed economy figures are pretty startling/potentially misleading: BMW claims 85.6mpg and 77g/km of CO2, alongside a 0-62mph time of 6.8sec and a limited top speed of 130mph.

In the real world, we predict owners will struggle to match that. Time for the authorities to pep up the official tests, isn't it?

Talk us around the spec of the plug-in hybrid X5

BMW says that the xDrive40e will optimise output from petrol and batteries for unusually low consumption if owners plug it in every night. It calculates that a daily drive of no more than 37 miles will elicit the best economy.

Being a plug-in hybrid, there is obviously a large petrol tank - 85 litres - so range anxiety is not a worry. The boot does shrink slightly, however, to 500 litres on account of the bulky battery packs.

Intriguingly, BMW claims a top speed of 75mph on pure electric power, once Max eDrive mode is selected for maximum battery boost. Could be one of the quietest M-way cars yet, albeit for a short period before the four-pot wakes up.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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