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The BMW X5 xDrive40e is an accomplished plug-in hybrid sport utility vehicle that's perfect for city driving.

14 Feb 2018


You would think that driving a full-sized Sport Utlity Vehicle (SUV) like the BMW X5 in Bangkok, Thailand, would be a challenge. That was what we thought, too, but we were wrong.

Despite the jam-packed roads and our unfamiliarity, there was never a single time we were honked at, even when last-minute switching of lanes was inevitable.

Badges and the coloured grille are the only features that differentiate the plug-in hybrid from the regular X5

Thanks to the Thais' giving nature, our confidence as drivers in a country that's known for their unforgiving traffic grew and piloting a huge car like the X5 was essentially a cinch. The downside of this? The fuel consumption - even if it is a plug-in hybrid - no thanks to constant start-stop traffic and sudden bursts of acceleration to keep up with the pack.

It seems in Bangkok, effort-free travel can be quite a challenge against fun and efficiency.

But that's in Thailand! What about Singapore?

You and I know just how stressful it can be driving around on our roads. There is just no way in hell you can cut into a lane without getting honked at or at the very least receiving hand signs of sorts from other drivers.

Cabin is a wonderful place to be in, even in bad traffic

But then it got us thinking - whether or not the plug-in hybrid X5 is suitable for a place like Singapore has got nothing to do with size. We were clearly so impressed with the attitude of the drivers in Thailand that we were temporary blinded.

For starters, we will obviously be more familiar with our roads, which means making last minute lane-cutting manoeuvres will be minimised. Secondly, fuel consumption will be a whole lot better considering our roads aren't as packed as what we've experienced in Bangkok.

As such, the car you see here will actually be the perfect car for Singaporeans who enjoy occasional outdoor activities without having the need to sacrifice creature comforts when driving from point to point.

Need juice? Take out and plug in whenever you get to a charging station

Tell me more about the bursts of acceleration you experienced

Equipped with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot powerplant and an 83kW electric motor, the plug-in hybrid BMW X5 is capable of pushing out a combined output of 313bhp and 450Nm of torque to all four wheels via an eight-speed transmission from the word go.

This essentially allows the beefcake to sprint from nought to a hundred in just 6.8 seconds. For a car weighing over 2.2 tonnes, it's nothing short of respectable.

500 litres of boot space can be extended to 1,720 litres with the seats knocked down

In fact, with its instant acceleration, it's also addictive. Every clear path or empty space within the heavy traffic becomes an opportunity for you to stomp on the right pedal. And it's never a chore in the Bimmer, even when you're stuck in typical Bangkok traffic, thanks to the car's plush seats, comfortable ride and excellent sound system.

Once you hit the highway where roads expand, the Bimmer feels just like the standard model, with a steadiness and verve that will please even the most demanding driver.

What about drivability?

Unfortunately, we cannot tell you much about it, considering we spent most of our time with the car in the jam. Touching on the car's efficiency would be highly unfair, too, since we were way over our heads with the right pedal.

2.0-litre petrol engine is a smooth and hardworking gem

What we can tell you, however, is that the BMW X5 xDrive40e is less intruiging and innovative than say another plug-in hybrid model like the BMW i8. But it does drive as capably and confidently as the regular X5, which is to say it's positively dynamic, approvingly cooperative and decidedly sporty.

What are your views on owning one?

Well, for the very fact that pure electric vehicles like the BMW i3 are slightly more demanding of owners due to the lack of charging infrastructure in Singapore, plug-in hybrids are actually the perfect fit for drivers who crave the advantages of electric vehicles such as better fuel economy and a greener future without any major drawbacks like range anxiety or even dying batteries.

Light turns green to indicate that the car is charging

So if you were to ask us, there is nothing wrong with owning one of the these. At $354,888 (as of 9th February 2018), we say it's a worthy consideration. And as we've discovered recently with this version of the X5, effort-free travel can also be fun and perhaps efficient in a city like Singapore.
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Car Information

This model is no longer being sold by local distributors
BMW X5 Plug-in Hybrid xDrive40e iPerformance (A)
Rate it

Price

: -

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve TwinPower Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1997cc

Horsepower

:

180kW (241 bhp) / 6500 rpm

Torque

:

350 Nm / 4800 rpm

Transmission

:

8-Speed (A) Steptronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

6.8sec

Top Speed

:

210km/h

Fuel consumption

:

13.1 km/L

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