2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e new car reviews

Did you know that BMW sells plug-in hybrids now? Yeah, we were a little surprised to hear that too.

The powerplant is still based on a straight-six that's good for 286 horsepower and 331 lb.-ft. of torque, though "maximum system output" is rated closer to 394 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque with the electric motor.

Before you read our driving impressions below, we'll leave you with this interesting fact we found on the spec sheet: the plug-in X5 can do 80 mph in all-electric mode.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I like the BMW-ness of this one: the feel behind the wheel, the controls, the driving position and, yes, even the looks. This one looks like a BMW, not some kind of weird mutant BMW.

The usual BMW details can all be found–like, for instance, the seemingly simple buttons that operate the two-piece lift gate. (Yes, like an EG Civic.)

The buttons look good, they deliver the right amount of click. They are, as far as buttons go, perfect. If a super-special gold star was awarded for Button Design and Implementation, BMW would be high in the running. BMW just excels at this kind of stuff with every switch giving that perfect click. (Well, except the shifter; more on that soon.)

The steering wheel delivers the right feel. It would perfectly work in an M3. The seats never got uncomfortable.

But the hybrid-ness of this one turns me off–at least initially–as the driveline felt just a bit jerky as it transitions from gas to electric. Benz seems to do this better. But, and a big but: Engage Sport mode, and suddenly it's a totally different animal. Like, it becomes an animal I’d live with.

But there is the price: Is $65k too much for a mid-sized hybrid SUV? And note that ours came in at $81k.

Okay, back to the shifter. We saw a clear shifter in the last Volvo SUV that we drove, and it’s here in the BMW. Is this a new thing? Dan Armstrong would approve, and feel free to look that up while pondering if you need an e-SUV with an electric range more or less equal to a pretty decent bike ride.

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