BMW X5 eDrive Test Drive Review −

Electric SUVs

Published on March 23rd, 2014 | by Zach


BMW X5 eDrive Test Drive Review


The BMW X5 eDrive is a plug-in hybrid electric SUV scheduled for release in the coming year or two. It is a beauty of a vehicle with a target fuel economy average (gas + electric) of 62 mpg (3.8 liters per 100 kilometers), about 18 miles of electric range, and able to do 0-60 in under 7 seconds.

An auto blogger at Motor Trend, Michael Febbo, who had already tested out the conventional BMW X5 recently had the chance to test out an X5 eDrive prototype. He wrote that he wasn’t expecting any other X5 to have better internals than the conventional one, but changed his mind after testing out the X5 eDrive.

“The diesel has mounds of torque along with great fuel economy — great for a big three-row SUV, anyway — and I just couldn’t imagine what more you could want…. I recently traveled to the South of France to drive the new plug-in hybrid version of the X5, the X5 eDrive prototype, and I am now convinced the diesel shouldn’t be the only version built.”

I’m excerpting a handful of statements from Michael about the X5 eDrive that I think are particularly useful and interesting. Check them out:

Torque is awesome:

“Coming off of low-speed turns, the electric motor provides instantaneous thrust — like a cracking of the throttle bodies on a big naturally aspirated V-8. There is zero turbo lag and the transition from the motor’s torquey sweet spot to full boost in the engine’s midrange is imperceptible.”

“The X5 is quick off the line and punchy at lower speeds using only the electric motor. Commuting around town would be easily accomplished using nothing but power from the battery.”

Cornering no different than with non-electric X5:

“I would like to say the hybrid X5 felt considerably different in corners than standard SUVs, but if there is any extra weight, I didn’t notice it. Perhaps the better balance offsets it, or maybe the engineers are telling the truth and the weight difference is miniscule.”

Silence is beautiful, too:

“In a hybrid, there is also a different idea about the driving experience. While I love the sound of a big V-8, there is something very elegant in silence and seamless power delivery lacking shifting. Being able to take in the sounds of your surroundings instead of covering them with exhaust notes is very different, but I could get accustomed to it.”

Simple luxuries:

“There are other unexpected luxuries in a plug-in hybrid. One is being able to precondition your car on hot or cold days. With an app on your phone you can tell it when you want to leave, and when you get to your vehicle it is exactly as comfy as you would like, all powered off the wall socket. If you have the same routine every day, you’d just set the car to be ready every weekday at whatever time you leave. It’s like telling Jeeves to ‘ready the car.'”

I’m not sure why this wasn’t discussed by the Motor Trend blogger, but the X5 eDrive is also supposed to have some wicked intelligent driving features. The vehicle will adjust to the upcoming terrain, urban environment, or traffic is sense; it can help you to avoid collisions; it pays attention to your driving habits and shows you how you can drive more efficiently; and more.

Genuinely electric option for many drivers:

“BMW tells us that more than 30 percent of all X5 owners have commutes of less than 18 miles, which would mean those lucky drivers will be driving what is essentially an electric car on a daily basis.”


“A production version of the X5 eDrive plug-in hybrid certainly makes a lot of sense to me. From a driving standpoint, it’s a winning proposition.”

So, there it is. I think that’s the first review of the X5 eDrive (prototype) that I’ve seen. Looks pretty good. And that’s from a conventional auto blogger.


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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, SCTY, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB. After years of covering solar and EVs, he simply had a lot of faith in these companies and felt like they were good companies to invest in as a portion of his retirement strategy. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

  • spec9

    Heads should roll at some US carmakers if this hits the US market before an American SUV PHEV hits the US market.

  • QKodiak

    The Tesla Model X will stomp all over this, though it is good, and we can always use more EVs on the roads.

    • Ha, indeed… Wonder if the BMW will still sell better in Germany, though.

      • QKodiak

        Probably. Germans like German-made cars.

  • RutPL59

    In 2002, the oilhead engine had two spark plugs per cylinder.

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