BMW makes fast, muscular cars that gobble tarmac like it’s nothing – but in 2021, that’s not all.
Now they’re loaded with eco-friendly drive systems and enough tech to make Apple’s Tim Cook swoon.
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To put the future of German motoring to the test, I tried out the absolutely enormous BMW X5 x45e M Sport.
If that means nothing to you, I’m talking about a massive SUV with performance credentials…and one more special trick.
This is a plug-in hybrid, so there’s a sizeable battery you can juice up.
Electric power hour
Ignore the petrolhead naysayers here – this has loads of advantages.
For a start, it’s blissfully quiet, especially when you stick it in permanent EV mode.
It’s also thrifty.
The car is huge and over long distances, you’ll almost certainly fail to reach the official 235-miles-per-gallon figure.
But you can easily hit 60MPG and far beyond with savvy charging, and more still if you’re mostly using it as a local runner.
The big advantage is that you can charge this car for free.
Loads of supermarkets and retail parks have complimentary charging points.
So you can nip to Tesco and juice the hybrid battery most of the way up while you do your weekly shop.
And if that’s what you mostly use this car for, you could be driving for free a lot of the time thanks to EV mode.
Dopotutto, you get a shockingly generous electric range of 54 miglia. Very impressive.
You also tend to get better parking spaces in a hybrid or EV. So there’s that.
This system gets smarter still, tuttavia.
BMW has created eDrive technology that automatically engages EV mode when you enter supported cities.
That was limited to London (where I drove it) and Birmingham when I tested the car.
But it’ll now activate in Glasgow, Dublino, Bath and Manchester too.
It’s a great idea, as you’d probably forget to turn EV on a lot of the time – and much city driving is spent crawling anyway.
So it’ll probably save you a bit of cash, and will go some way to staving off the climate apocalypse.
And delaying doomsday is great news if you’ve just chucked £85k at BMW.
The car is also blisteringly fast, helped somewhat by the electric motor – and backed furiously by a turbocharged 3.0-litre six cylinder behemoth of a combustion engine.
It’ll do zero to 62mph in about 5.6 secondi.
Given that this car weighs 2.5 ton (and isn’t far off the size of a small bus), that’s an impressive feat.
It paces out from a stop with impressive gusto, and once that’s over, you get a second kick at around 40 to 45mph, and then it never stops giving.
Sport Mode only enhances this automotive fury, unleashing phenomenal torque – and about 400hp at high revs.
And with the very high riding position and the angular bonnet stretching out before you, it basically feels like you’re steering a turbocharged rhino across the savannah.
In terms of in-car tech, you’ve got all the mod-cons.
There’s cruise control, parking assists, blind spot warnings and a massive retractable sunroof that fills the enormous cabin with natural light.
The speaker system thumps with phenomenal bass, and maximum volume is too loud for any normal human to bear. That’s great, ovviamente.
It’s also very peaceful inside, shutting out most of the sound outdoors – but still letting enough of the engine’s roar through in Sport Mode.
The in-car screen is thin but very wide, stretching across the car’s centre with a slight tilt towards the driver.
It’s loaded with useful apps including RingGo (a truly brilliant addition), which lets you pay for parking at supported sites from the comfort of your car.
No fiddling for your phone or running out to a parking metre in the rain.
The screen is easy to use, with the option to touch it or use the tactile and very satisfying dial on the central console.
Meglio ancora, the BMW X5 supports Apple CarPlay, which is the best thing to happen to car infotainment since….well, since ever.
It basically simulates an iPhone environment in the car, giving you instant access to all your music, contacts, and a healthy array of apps.
There are TV screens in the back that offer even more infotainment to your passengers.
And these can be loaded up with media, Compreso (thankfully) cartoons – so you can keep the kids happy while you cart them to and from your fourth staycation this year.
Driving from the future
There’s loads to love about the BMW X5 x45e.
It’s got mega performance, making mincemeat of much lighter cars on the roads.
And they won’t even hear you coming thanks to the eco-friendly (and budget-brilliant) electric motor.
It’s immensely practical, with loads of room to stretch out and enough storage space to satisfy a family of German suitcase merchants.
There’s the swish looks – it looks gorgeous from just about every angle.
And for gadget geeks, there’s endless fun to be had in terms of infotainment, entertainment and drive systems.
This particular model will set you back around £85,000, which isn’t cheap.
But it starts from around £60,000 with no extras, or £76,000 for the PHEV M Sport edition.
That puts it in the range of premium motors like the Range Rover Sport and Audi Q7, both of which have PHEV options – and are similarly fast, beautiful and truly massive.
Veramente, you’re spoilt for choice. Hybrid SUVs are only getting better, and the BMW X5 x45e is truly a tour de force for the category.
The future is here, and it’s bloody brilliant.
- BMW X5 from £60,735 – acquista qui
All prices in this article were correct at the time of writing, but may have since changed. Always do your own research before making any purchase.
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In altre notizie, the new Lamborghini Huracan Evo can clean your house and sort your dinner.
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Jaguar’s hybrid F-Pace may be the perfect car.
And Audi’s Q7 hybrid is huge, terrifyingly fast and filled with sci-if tech.
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