2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e PHEV Review: Strong and Silent Type

It seems like forever ago, but the BMW X5 practically began the modern luxury crossover movement.

Sure, there was the Lexus RX, but that was running around on a modified Camry platform—hugely successful, but lacking the necessary pedigree. There was the Mercedes ML too, now known as GLE. It had the publicity of The Lost World: Jurassic Park to lean on, yet body-on-frame construction made it more truck-like.

The X5 essentially repackaged the 5 Series Touring in a way that would become more palatable to North American buyers. In a similar vein, plug-in hybrids are a compromise too, a halfway-house for those wanting a taste of EV ownership without fully committing quite yet.

Put them together and you’ve got this, the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e. It’s a silly name for a clever crossover, one that finds a sweet spot in the crowded mid-size segment—if you’re willing to make a few sacrifices.

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Genesis GV80 vs BMW X5 Comparison: The Luxury Argument

Most people: “Luxury is expensive.” Genesis: “Says who?”

No other SUV has caused more of a stir in the luxury car market than the Genesis GV80. The Korean three-row flagship arrived with all guns blazing with the establishment in its crosshairs. Its recent win as the Canadian Utility Vehicle of the year awards only cemented its position as a worthy alternative to the more seasoned players. So after all the excitement had calmed down, it was only natural that we pit it against one of the SUV industry’s stalwarts. 

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get our hands on the regular three-row BMW X5 but the 2021 X5 xDrive45e plug-in was available. Apart from the missing third-row, the tech and features on offer are nearly identical to the gasoline versions. Yes, the hybrid powertrain could give the X5 an unfair advantage. But that’s the fun part, does it make sense to forgo a full row of seats and pay a premium for a better drive, or is the luxury option the better bet? 

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Detailed Specs

Price / $61,600 - $108,900
Engine / 3.0-liter turbo 6-cylinder / 3.0-liter turbo 6-cylinder + hybrid / 4.4-liter turbo 8-cylinder
Power / 335 hp / 389 hp / 523-600 hp
Torque / 332 lb-ft / 443 lb-ft / 553 lb-ft
Transmission / 8AT
Drivetrain / RWD / AWD
Fuel Economy (city/hwy) / 13–21 mg / 18–26 mpg / PHEV: 50 mpge
Cargo Capacity / 33.9 cu ft

Our Final Verdict


Performance 9.0
Features 8.0
Comfort 8.0
Quality and Styling 8.0
Value 7.0