If you’re in the market for a large posh SUV PHEV with a decent towing capacity the BMW X5 xDrive45e may be worth considering. The X5 45e has a significantly larger battery than previous plug-in hybrid versions of the X5 at 24kWh. To put that battery size in perspective, that’s the same capacity as that fitted to the first-gen Nissan Leaf. As a result, the EPA pure electric range of the BMW X5 45e is 31 miles, but only 31 miles EV range from a 24kWh battery!? The X5 xDrive45e can also tow a trailer/RV up to 5,952 lbs.
BMW X5 xDrive45e Specs
- Official Towing Capacity – 5,952 lbs
- Availability – Now
- Price – Starting from $64,250
- EPA – 31 miles pure electric range
- Combined (city/highway) – 50 MPGe and 20 MPG
- Maximum Charge Rate/Time – 3kW/7 Hours
BMW X5 xDrive45e HP & Torque
- AWD: Combined output of 394 HP and 500 lb-ft of torque
- 3L Petrol Engine: 286 HP and 331 lb-ft of torque
- Electric Motors: 113 HP and 195 lb-ft of torque
BMW X5 xDrive45e Towing Capabilties
When it comes to the towing capacity on the X5 xDrive 45e just under 6,000 lbs is a practical capacity that can indeed tow a wide range of cargo trailers and RVs. However, at the same time, I’m disappointed with this figure.
When BMW sent out their original press release on the X5 xDrive45e which you can check out here, they stated the following:
“The prodigious amount of torque also allows for a factory-installed optional trailer hitch (rated for 7,200 lbs. of towing).”
I’m not sure what led to the downgrade to 5,952 lbs and loss of towing capacity of over 1,200 lbs but here we are. In the UK as I covered in my BMW X5 45e article on electrictowcars.co.uk the towing capacity is 2,700kg (5,952 lbs).
Hence, the US and UK versions of the BMW X5 plug-in hybrid are identical when it comes to towing capacity which if you have read some of my other articles on electric tow cars on this site is not normally the case.
However, there is still a notable difference between the US and UK versions of this SUV PHEV and it comes down to the pure EV range.
31 EV Miles From 24kWh, Really BMW!?
You may have noted that on the homepage for this website I state I only want to promote PHEVs which can travel around 50 miles or more on electrical power. Obviously, this US version of the BMW X5 xDrive45e falls well short of that criterion with an EV range of 31 miles.
Well, the reason I’ve written this article is that fundamentally this vehicle is capable of providing a much better EV range. It’s just for some reason for US customers BMW doesn’t want to let them take full advantage of the 24kWh battery pack.
For US versions of the BMW X5 xDrive45e the usable capacity of the battery pack is limited to just under 18kWh, hence only around 75% of its actual capacity. Compare that to the UK/EU version which has a usable capacity of over 22kWh.
As a result, the UK/EU versions of the BMW X5 xDrive45e have an EV range of 54 miles. Now granted, that’s based on the often overly optimistic WLTP standard. In either case, a UK/EU version with the same 24kWh battery is going to go considerably further on pure electric power than a US version.
BMW X5 xDrive45e Reviews
I’ve included two reviews below on the X5 xDrive45e, a short and long review. The first (the short review) is from TFLnow and they share my frustration with the difference in usable battery capacity between the US-spec and the UK/EU vehicles.
As they discuss in their review, the lack of usable battery capacity is a shame, because overall there is a lot to like about this premium SUV PHEV. The problem is, US customers are still paying a significant amount of money for this vehicle but they are not getting full access to what they’re paying for when it comes to EV range.
If you’re interested in a more in-depth review of the BMW X5 xDrive45e I’d like to draw your attention to the review below from Alex on Autos. Alex discusses that compared to other premium SUV PHEVs such as the Volvo XC90 Recharge the BMW has much better driving dynamics.
Furthermore, the BMW X5 PHEV has a much better EV range at 31 miles compared to the Volvo XC90 Recharge at just 18 miles. Hence, I won’t be writing an article on the Volvo, as I don’t feel an 18 mile EV range is sufficient to be practical/viable for all but the shortest journies.
My Thoughts On The BMW X5 xDrive45e…
In my article on the latest UK/EU version of the X5 PHEV, I was pretty positive about its towing capacity and pure EV range getting over 54 miles on electric energy alone. However, when it comes to the US version, I’m not as positive.
First off, the towing capacity was downgraded from that originally stated by BMW in their press release. Then again, its still identical to the UK/EU spec which cannot be said of many electric tow cars.
However, US customers are paying for the same 24kWh battery pack but don’t get the same usable capacity as UK/EU customers resulting in the EPA rated electric range of 31 miles.
It’s a real shame because underneath I do think the BMW X5 xDrive45e is a very practical premium electric tow car. If only BMW would let their US customers actually use what they’re paying for.