It’s often the case that plug-in hybrids can achieve longer all-electric travel than that for which they are rated. In experience, BMWs typically overperform in this regard, with the X5 PHEV we tested back in 2021 achieving a 45% overperformance of all-electric range. That 2021 X5 xDrive45e was rated at 31 miles on a full charge, but my drive loop saw it drive for 45 miles before the onboard six-cylinder engine thrummed to life to keep it going. So, with a rather thorough refresh of the X5 for the 2024 model year, including a new and updated PHEV model, we figured it was time to reprise the loop challenge and see how the new one performs.
The vehicle in question is the new 2024 X5 xDrive50e, a mid-size luxury SUV that features a significant power boost over the old model. The powertrain combines a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder gasoline engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission that has an integrated electric motor. The new motor produces 194 horsepower on its own, 83 more horsepower than the outgoing one. The total system power is now rated at 483 hp and 516 pounds-feet of torque, some seriously hefty output numbers, and enables the SUV to jet from 0-60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, according to the automaker; the 2021 I tested was rated at 389 hp and 443 pounds-feet. But BMW says the new X5 also delivers greater electric range, with up to 40 miles of electric operation before it needs to fire up the gasoline engine to keep the vehicle moving.
That extra range comes from a higher-capacity lithium-ion battery that can store 25.7 kilowatt-hours of usable energy, nearly 25% more than the prior-generation vehicle. The charging has been updated, too: The 2024 X5 PHEV is now able to charge at up to 7.4 kilowatts for speedier recharges. Like other BMW PHEVs, the motor can also hold the battery’s charge at a certain level or even recharge the pack on the go, which is useful for saving the battery for driving in cities that have congestion charges for vehicles operating on gasoline only, like London.
The rest of the X5 is refreshed for 2024, with some mildly revised styling and a new interior that features BMW’s big single-pane display and touchscreen for various controls (to mixed results). The materials are top-notch; the space, comfort and visibility are exceptional; and the freshened model seems pretty solid in nearly every way. But can it overdeliver on electric range like the last one did?
The PHEV test route I have remains constant, stretching from Ann Arbor, Mich., to a fixed point in Dearborn, Mich., and back again. It’s a mixed-speed route that includes urban stop-and-go driving and higher-speed, divided, multilane boulevards. It’s good for providing a variety of conditions, but speed limits are adhered to, and acceleration and deceleration are always done at a moderate, easy pace — no stoplight drag races or slamming on the brakes unless it’s necessary. I also keep the climate control off, which can trigger the gasoline engine in some cars and drop electric range by a couple of miles right off the bat in others. With the tires filled to their manufacturer-recommended settings, I retraced the route I took for the 2021 model — in similar weather conditions, too.
Like the 2021 model tested before it, the 2024 X5 xDrive50e PHEV overachieved in its delivered electric range. BMW rates the vehicle at an estimated 40 miles of all-electric range before the motor kicks on, provided you don’t do anything extreme like mash the accelerator pedal, but I managed to return 53.3 miles of all-electric range before needing dino juice again. This was achieved without any hypermiling techniques and with moderate acceleration, constant steady-state cruising in sections and even some stop-and-go construction traffic for a few miles. This is an extremely impressive result, nearly matching the overachievement of the prior model but doing so with a package that’s both more powerful and efficient. Drivers with a commute of 20-25 miles each way could potentially operate gas-free for their drive and recharge at home overnight in just a few hours.
Not long ago, this was the purview of specialty vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt, which could do that kind of range (officially) but barely had room in the backseat for two, much less the spacious accommodations this SUV has for three. Of course, like the prior generation X5 PHEV, you’ll pay handsomely for this one: The starting price, including the destination fee, is $73,495 and can stretch up to nearly $92,000 when fully loaded.
So the newly refreshed X5 PHEV does indeed overdeliver on its range promise, just like the last one (and the last 530e sedan we tested, as well).