It’s stronger, faster and more economical than before but US customers have to wait
The fourth-generation X5 SUV had its world debut in June this year, introducing a raft of updates both under the skin and aesthetically to help it maintain its popularity in a very tough segment.
A plug-in hybrid variant has now been added to the range and is set to go on sale in Europe early next year with US customers having to wait until 2020. With the imminent introduction of all-electric SUVs from a number of luxury car manufacturers on the horizon, this particular X5 may remain a niche offering when it does eventually arrive.
Key improvements over the older-generation plug-in hybrid model include an all-electric range of 50-miles (three times longer than before) for the updated SUV and much-improved acceleration thanks to a more powerful gas/electric hybrid powertrain.
Under the hood is the latest version of the 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-six motor; its 286 hp along with the electric motors' 112 hp combine to offer a strong 394 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque in total.
That means a 0-62 mph time of 5.6 seconds (1 second faster than before) and a combined 112 mpg. As with any hybrid, that fuel economy figure will vary significantly depending on your driving style and road conditions, however, the iPerformance model should show a marked improvement over a gas-powered X5.
According to BMW, the center of gravity is lower in this iPerformance model than in conventionally powered X5s which should benefit handling. Further aiding the X5's dynamic abilities, two-axle air suspension and adaptive dampers are standard fitment, while an optional active steering system can also be fitted. One of the drawbacks of choosing the hybrid over a standard X5 is that the trunk space is reduced by around 150 liters, to 500 liters with the rear seats left up. Pricing has not yet been announced but we can only assume it will come at a premium over the standard models.