The 2024 BMW X5 PHEV Exceeds Efficiency Expectations

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

A good friend summed it up: the X5 is basically a cheat code of a car.

This is especially true of the plug-in hybrid models. Here’s a mid-sized luxury SUV that is spacious, comfortable, well-mannered, and powerful. I covered all of that in our recent 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e review. Yet what really impressed with the X5 wasn’t the seamless integration between its two methods of propulsion, or even the power.

It was how far the thing would go on purely electrons. There’s a lot of (mostly justified) grumbling about both gas and electric cars coming up short on their range or efficiency ratings. The X5 flips the script—for both.

Overshooting EV range

Let’s start with the electric portion. Officially, the X5 is rated to 40 miles (64 kilometers) of range: wholly acceptable in this class, and theoretically plenty based on the average daily commute. At least part of the reason for the increased range is the higher-capacity battery pack, which is now a (usable) 25.7 kilowatt-hours.

There’s a more powerful electric motor too, producing 194 hp all on its own. This seems like a double-edged sword: it allows the X5 to smartly accelerate from stops, but I was concerned it would nibble into the range.


Admittedly, I drove the X5 on a basically perfect late-summer week in terms of weather. But it still did 50 miles (80 kilometers) on the charge level I picked it up with. Not a full charge, either: a little over 80 percent.

Unfortunately I never did get another opportunity for a complete battery-drain run. But based on numbers, the X5 should have hit the magical three-digit mark in Canada (100 km, or 62 miles). A 50-percent improvement over the official quote? Heck yes.

Fuel-sipping ‘six

We’ve sung the praises of BMW’s silky inline-six plenty of times before. Sure it’s powerful, but it’s also remarkably efficient in its own right. After a week of driving, the xDrive50e was showing 29.4 mpg (8.0 L/100 km). That’s with no real effort to sip fuel either, and a handful of fun stretches. What? I can’t always resist the call of 483 combined horsepower. I’m only human.

Nonetheless, that of course leads to a big question:

Who needs a V8?

As luck would have it, I drove another X5 shortly after: the X5 M Competition. It’s a wholly different experience, one you’ll read about soon enough. But it separates itself from the rest of the X5 lineup.

But the X5 M60i? That’s a tougher sell. More power (523 hp) does make it a half-second quicker to 60 mph (96 km/h), but we’re still well in the 4s either way. And yes, that woofly V8 soundtrack is its own draw. But you’re also shovelling an extra $17,000 out to even step into an M60i, never mind the fuel costs.

If it were me, I’d stick with the cheat code.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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