2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e first drive review Page 3

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2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e - first drive review, May 2016

2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e - first drive review, May 2016

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Separately, at an event this past month, we got the chance to push the X5 plug-in on a handling course and then on a muddy off-road course. It’s a bit surprising that this huge, heavy vehicle handles rapid changes of direction with vigor. Fording depth is actually a respectable 19.7 inches, and ground clearance is 8.2 inches.

Curb weight is a respectable 5,220 pounds. That’s still about 450 pounds more than the X5 xDrive35i, with its turbocharged V-6; it’s a lot of heft for a vehicle with just two rows of seating (for five)—although the rear seats comfortable enough for all-day touring in the outboard positions, and they’re split into three sections and fold forward.

Does it deliver the range and mpg?

We drove the X5 plug-in more than 400 miles over the course of a week. Over about 340 miles of mostly highway driving in hybrid mode, we averaged more than 25 mpg; yet factoring in just 40 more miles of mixed-condition city and suburban driving our 380-mile average had dropped below 24 mpg.

Just to verify that the X5 seems to get much better mileage on the highway than in town, we zeroed the trip computer and over about 12 miles of gentle suburban stop-and-go driving managed just under 21 mpg.

On one charge we managed 14.5 miles, using the climate control in its automatic mode and driving on the sprightly side, yet with the flow of traffic. On a second charge we turned off the climate control completely and tried to accelerate gently; this yielded 16.1 miles before the gasoline engine kicked in.

Some other outlets testing the xDrive40e have found this model’s electric-drive range to be far less (even less than 10 miles). We should note that the weather on the two days I really pushed the all-electric mode in the X5 was very mild, with temperatures in the low 70s.

2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e - first drive review, May 2016

2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e - first drive review, May 2016

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Our test X5 xDrive40e summed up to $74,995, from a base price of $63,095, and included the Cold Weather Package (heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, retractable headlight washers) as well as the Premium Package (Comfort Access keyless entry, four-zone climate control, and satellite radio).

It also came equipped with the $4,350 M Sport package, adding seriously low-profile Dunlop run-flat tires that likely contributed to this vehicle’s tendency to tramline and track in difficult ways along all but perfect surfaces. We have a feeling this would be a happier vehicle yet with its base tire, wheel, and suspension setup.

Versus a comparable BMW X5 xDrive35i—the normal, non-hybrid V-6 model—the xDrive40e costs about $5,000 more.

Keep focusing on those numbers and they seem a little less meaningful. Because let’s be real: This isn’t the model you buy for its efficiency and range; it’s the model you might buy because you already like the 2016 BMW X5...and you can feel just a little bit better about it.

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