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BMW plugs in with six-cylinder X5 xDrive45e hybrid

Four-cylinder out, six-cylinder in as BMW charges up plug-in X5 xDrive40e SUV

7 Sep 2018

BMW has revealed its second-generation plug-in hybrid powertrain in the petrol-electric X5 xDrive45e large SUV that trades the preceding xDrive40e’s four-pot engine for an inline six-cylinder unit.
The xDrive45e’s 3.0-litre turbocharged engine produces 210kW of power, a 30kW improvement over the xDrive40e’s 2.0-litre turbo-petrol unit, however, BMW is yet to confirm the new powertrain’s torque output which peaked at 350Nm in the outgoing version.
Conversely, the xDrive45e’s 82kW electric motor is 1kW less powerful than the xDrive40e’s 250Nm unit, but the former’s combined outputs of 290kW and 600Nm outmuscle the latter’s by 60kW and 150Nm.
Thanks to its more potent powertrain, the xDrive45e can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds – 1.2s quicker than the xDrive40e could manage. 
Furthermore, its electric motor-only top speed is 20km/h higher, at 140km/h, while combined terminal velocity is 235km/h – a 25km/h increase.
However, the xDrive45e is also highlighted by its optimised zero-emission efficiencies, including the 80 kilometres of driving range provided by its lithium-ion battery pack with “extended storage capacity”. Comparatively, the xDrive40e only offered 31km of electric drive per charge cycle.
As a result, claimed fuel consumption on the combined cycle test falls from 3.4 litres per 100km in the xDrive40e to 2.1L/100km in the xDrive45e, which has a 69L petrol tank. Similarly, carbon dioxide emissions drop from 78 grams per kilometre to 49g/km.
The addition of an electric motor and a battery pack does come at the cost of cargo capacity when compared to non-electrified X5 variants, with the xDrive45e providing 500 litres (-145L) with its rear seats upright, or 1716L (-144L) with them folded down.
Due to the positioning of the high-voltage battery pack in the underbody of the xDrive45e, its centre of gravity is lower than of the conventionally powered X5 variants.
The xDrive45e is fitted with a two-axle air suspension and electronically controlled dampers as standard, while Integral Active – or rear-axle – steering is available on the options list. BMW also promises its full suite of advanced driver-assist systems is also included.
As with the fourth-generation X5 variants revealed in June, the xDrive45e sends drive from its internal-combustion engine and electric motor to all four wheels via BMW’s rear-biased xDrive system and eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission.
While the X5 launch range is expected to enter local showrooms by the end of this year, BMW Group Australia product communications manager Adam Davis told GoAuto that timing for the xDrive45e is yet to be locked in.
“We are very interested in the vehicle when it becomes available,” he said. “The move to the six-cylinder engine, as well as the strong EV range improvement, demonstrates how quickly BMW PHEV technology is advancing.”
The xDrive45e will, however, go on sale overseas in 2019, meaning it could arrive Down Under later that year. In the interim, the aforementioned xDrive40e is still sold locally, priced from $124,990 before on-road costs.
Sales of the X5 have taken a significant hit this year in the lead up to its new model’s release, with 1910 examples sold to the end of August – a 27.5 per cent decrease over the 2636 deliveries made during the same period last year.
Despite its downward trajectory, the X5 is the best-selling large SUV in the $70,000-plus segment, outpacing the Range Rover Sport (1737 units), Audi Q7 (1502), Mercedes-Benz GLE (1410), Lexus RX (1354) and Land Rover Discovery (1306), among others.

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