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  • Writer's pictureAlain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

2021 BMW X5 45e

This week we are reviewing the BMW X5 45e. Our vehicle was assembled at the Spartanburg plant in United States and has an MSRP of 97800.00 CAD before incentives.

2021 BMW X5 45e
Picture by Luis G Manrique

Fun Factor: 8

Can it Family: 8

Fuel-Friendly: 10

HWY-warrior: 8

Karaoke-Friendly: 8

Baby-Friendly: 8

City Cruising: 10

BMX X5 45e interior
Picture by Luis G Manrique

BMW started as a pioneer compared to other German luxury brands in the transition to electric vehicles. Along the way, they may have realized that most of their traditional buyers were not yet ready for a fully electric future. They focused on developing more plug-in hybrids instead of making dedicated EVs such as the i3. In the case of the X5 45e, BMW played it safe in offering a vehicle that traditional buyers will love and get them used to the idea that it can be as exciting to drive an electric vehicle. Under the hood of the X5, you'll find a straight-six that produces 282hp and 331 lb-ft of torque; while those figures are respectable, they do not show the whole picture. In addition to this, the electric motor produces another 111hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. These two engines can work simultaneously, returning a peak performance of 389hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. Our real-life acceleration test resulted in a 0-100km/h in 6 seconds in the snow, making it only 0.1 seconds slower than the X5 40i we tested on dry pavement! BMW announces an official acceleration from 0 to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds. Now that we have the acceleration part out of the way, how does the X5 45e drive? We can start with the positive and say that BMW has improved the driving dynamics over the previous X5 with the denomination 40e. We had found that this outgoing model did not inspire as much confidence when pushing it around corners enthusiastically. In contrast, the new 45e with the larger battery pack seems to provide better weight distribution and gives the driver more assurance around curves.

Picture by Luis G Manrique

The X5 45e gives you plenty of space for the family. The battery is located where the spare tire is hidden; usually, it results in a minimal trunk loss. You will be able to haul a full stroller and a lot more. As for seating, taller adults do have enough space to sit in the back. It's relaxing to be chauffeured around in it, especially when the vehicle is in electric mode and you can fully enjoy the quietness of the cabin. The rear bench can accommodate 3 children, and the child in the middle will appreciate not being squeezed between the other 2 passengers. The rear windows come with sunshades to protect your little ones from the direct sunlight. The driver and co-pilot seats are adjustable for different types of body size. Even smaller drivers will find an ergonomic driving position, which isn't always possible in larger vehicles. You will find USB-C outlets and tablet holders on the back of the front seats, should you wish to give passengers a movie experience. The new X5 45e keeps the 2 sections tailgate and offers an adjustable suspension to lower the car if you carry larger items.

How's the fuel consumption of the X5 45e? We've achieved an average consumption of 4.8L per 100km over a 550km round trip with it. We were surprised by how close the electric range was to the announced 50km and replicating this range in the middle of the winter. Even at -22c, we only saw a small degradation to 45km. We believe BMW has been very conservative with their range and will result in a much higher figure during the summer. BMW announces a combined 4.7Le/100km consumption. The fuel economy announced by BMW on gas alone is 12.2L/100km in the city, 10.6L/100km on the HWY for a combined 11.9L/100km. We wanted to add a small disclaimer; due to the cold temperatures, we left the engine running while taking pictures, hence, increasing the average fuel economy.

The 45e brings another layer of smoothness when driving on the HWY compared to other X5. It is possible to drive the X5 45e up to 135km/h smoothly without the combustion engine. We were surprised that the total range wasn't affected more as we drove enthusiastically on the HWY. We were able to get a good 45km of all-electric range during a cold winter day. Steering is quite soft, not very BMW-like; even the suspension feels soft compared to traditional X5's. As a result, the driving experience is less engaging on the HWY. If the added practicality of the X5 isn't essential to you and driving is experience is, then BMW offers the 530e we reviewed here.

X5 45e interior
Picture by Luis G Manrique

In the vehicle we tested, we experienced the optional Harman Kardon sound system; the playback of different music types is well-calibrated and delivers a rich sound. The bass could be slightly improved; this would be nitpicking on an overall excellent sound system. The X5 provides wireless charging and connectivity for Apple Car Play & Android Auto; eliminating the cables gives the interior its refined German charm and attention to details. The massive 12.3-inch screen either projects your smartphone onto the screen or offers you unparalleled information that can be split into multiple screens and display any of the four layouts, such as fuel consumption electric range, maps, weather, news. The BMW Connected App allows you to see how far you can go without recharging the vehicle and plan your route directly from your phone so that when you'll enter the car, the navigation will be ready for you.

The X5 offers well-designed ISOFIX ports; in our opinion, these should be the norm; they are hidden by a small latch and closed when not in use. The ports are also easily accessible; there is no need to fiddle around to find them before attaching the seat. In our test, we attached a maximum of 2 car seats; the middle seat could still be used with a booster seat and will still have enough space. The door opening is wide enough to get any large child seat quickly into the car. As for a toddler entering the car by themselves, the car's height makes it a bit harder for them to reach the door handle and open it. Once the door is open, the door sills design with a natural access point to give them access to the rear seats. Because the doors open wide, it will also be more challenging for children to close them on their own. Our car was also equipped with soft close; this was certainly enjoyable for our kids as they didn't need to slam the door.

In the city, the 50km all-electric range means that most people will never need the gas engine's assistance for their regular commute. If your regular commute is mainly in urban areas, the X5 45e is the one to choose from the X5 lineup; you'll rapidly recoup the difference in price versus a gasoline variant. The ride quality is excellent in the city thanks to the air suspension; the vehicle never felt unstable and evoked a feeling of luxury with an extremely quiet cabin. Parking the massive X5 is also child's play with the 360-degree camera. The system also includes a reverse function; in case you've ventured into a narrow alley and then find out there isn't enough space to turn around, you can activate this function, and the X5 will reverse itself up to 50 meters using your previous steering inputs.

Why would we buy the BMW X5 45e and what we like: Honest electric range, easily achievable even in the winter, very quiet cabin while in electric mode. Simple car seat installation. Excellent visibility at night, thanks to the laser lights and the night vision. Ride quality is excellent due to the air suspension that is standard on all X5 models. No range anxiety due to the gas engine.

Picture by Luis G Manrique

Why wouldn't we buy the BMW X5 and what we didn't like: At higher speeds, the extra weight of the batteries starts to show around corners. The all-equipped X5 45e flirts with the 6-digit mark.

BMW has lent us this vehicle one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with BMW Canada. The above is a recollection of our personal opinion of the car referred above.

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