2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e front.
2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e front.
Photo: BMW

Previously, the plug-in BMW X5 hybrid was a very middling experience with electrification, with less than a dozen miles of EV range and a lacking four-cylinder powertrain. The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e fixes just about everything.

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2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e rear.
2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e rear.
Photo: BMW
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The 2018 BMW X5 xDrive40e’s hybrid powertrain was centered around a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, with a total combined output of 308 horsepower
and 332 lb-ft of torque. That’s far from bad, but the hybrid’s curb weight was also about 500 pounds heavier than the standard X5.

The 2021 xDrive45e now gets a familiar 3.0-liter inline-six engine and a new and improved hybrid setup, making 389 horsepower and 411 lb-ft of torque combined. Aesthetically, it also seems to get a new color-matched painted bumper, which I’m into?

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e front end.
2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e front end.
Photo: BMW

The vehicle’s electric-only range has now improved to 30 miles at a max speed of 84 mph, up from just 10 to 14 miles from the previous gen plug-in. Fuel economy ratings will be available later, but it can can also tow up to 7,200 pounds and get from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.

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The new hybrid model gets three driving modes, including Sport, Hybrid, and Electric, though notably no “off-road mode.” BMW does claim the standard 8.3-inch ground clearance can be raised (or lowered) by another 1.6 inches with the air suspension, though, which is standard.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e interior.
2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e interior.
Photo: BMW
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I tried driving low and fast with the X5’s suspension lowered once and it yelled at me and put it back to the standard setting. But damn if I didn’t look good for a few seconds there.

Anyway, the standard xDrive all-wheel drive system is now tuned to be more rear-biased to be a little sportier, and BMW found a way to keep the battery components low in the body, only impacting the interior cargo volume by 1.1 cubic feet with the second-row folded down. That’s nothing!

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2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e rear end.
2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e rear end.
Photo: BMW

But what about that weight problem? The xDrive45e’s curb weight is now 5,672 pounds. That’s already almost 400 pounds heavier than the outgoing hybrid X5 model, and much higher than the reported 4813-pound curb weight for the 2020 X5 xDrive40i.

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That 0 to 60 time works for me, though, as long as the brakes are good. It’ll be available in the U.S. next month starting at $66,395 after destination fees, or about $4,000 more than the base all-wheel drive X5 and about $10,000 less than the V8 X5.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e charger cord.
2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e charger cord.
Photo: BMW

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