News center
We seek out unique and quality products to satisfy the needs of our diverse clientele.

2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e

Aug 16, 2023

Updates to BMW's mid-size SUV PHEV ramp up the power and electric range, proving "mature" doesn't mean "best before"

BMW got into the business of building sport-utes in 1999 with the mid-sized made-in-USA X5 “sport-activity vehicle” (SAV). Its ensuing success — something like three million sold worldwide over the past 24 years — has spawned an extended family of like-minded but differently sized crossovers: X1, X2, X3, X4, X6, and X7, while also spurring other automakers to join the highly lucrative party.

Here’s the thing: over four generations, the X5 has always been built like a tank. Yet when fitted with the right powertrains and suspension systems, it ensured a proper good time once the roads turned twisty. Think of the V8-powered models such as the X5 4.8is, xDrive50i, and X5 M Competition. The fact remains, however, that each generation has gotten bigger and heavier. And when it comes to the refreshed-for-2024 xDrive50e — the truly weighty plug-in-hybrid version — there’s an overwhelming impression that the “S” in “SAV” stands for “Stately.”

Certainly, a large part of it comes down to its avoirdupois, the U.S.-built five-seater tipping the scales at a portly 2,528 kilograms (for comparison, the Volvo XC90 PHEV is 2,291 kg). This is not to say the X5 is leisurely in use. No, this is BMW we’re talking about. Slow is not in its DNA. The new xDrive50e — previously the xDrive45e — combines a reworked gasoline engine with an electric drive unit to produce a maximum system output of 483 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.

1 of 7

You may use a different browser or device to view this in full screen.

Overall, though, like most EVs and PHEVs, it’s the silence that defines the 50e’s unruffled nature. Starting off under battery power — unless the transmission is put into Sport, which immediately fires up the gas engine — the xDrive50e glides with uncanny stealth for up to 70 kilometres before good old-fashioned internal-combustion takes over. And even when it does, the inline-six engine operates with the precision and smoothness endemic to its cylinder alignment.

The 2024 refresh across the entire X5 lineup includes a mild facelift, along with expanded standard equipment, electrification across the board, and advancements in digital technology. Also new systems for automated driving and parking, plus the latest-generation iDrive control system with the BMW Curved Display and BMW Operating System 8. In the face of increasing competition, especially when it comes to PHEV models, the company is assuring its customer base that mature doesn’t mean past its best before date.

BMW says its hybrid gains an “extensively upgraded combustion engine” and eDrive technology that endows it with nearly 100 more horsepower than last year’s xDrive45e while increasing the range of purely electric driving to an estimated 64 km, an increase of 14 km. (It turns out the company was slightly cautious. With overnight charging using the standard 110-volt outlet in my garage — it takes about 18 hours to fully recharge on a Level 1 charger — the readout in the instrument display indicated a range of 70 km.) Unlike, say, the Chevy Volt, there’s no self-charging courtesy of the IC engine. There is some regeneration through braking, however, helping to top up the battery when out and about.

The latest incarnation of the 3.0L inline-six with TwinPower Turbo technology uses the efficient Miller combustion cycle, which shortens the time the intake valves are open. The 308-hp six also features redesigned combustion chambers and intake ports, a new dual (direct and port) injection system, and a cylinder head with an integrated exhaust manifold. The VANOS variable camshaft timing now works electrically.

The motor draws its energy from a fifth-generation high-voltage lithium-ion battery mounted under the floor. The battery can store 25.7 kWh of usable energy, an increase of almost 25 per cent compared with the preceding generation. A new combined charging unit supports both single-phase and three-phase charging, doubling the maximum AC charging rate to 7.4 kW.

Furthermore, the electric motor is integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission and boasts a substantial increase in power output and what BMW says is “a novel innovation” for boosting torque delivery. The new synchronous motor produces a nominal output of 194 hp — 83 more than the previous version.

A pre-gearing stage is used to increase the effective torque produced by the motor to a maximum 331 lb-ft at the transmission input. In this way, says BMW, the compact motor can provide the sort of torque boost that could normally only be achieved using a far larger and heavier unit. The improved build-up of power resulting from the pre-gearing stage between the electric motor’s rotor and the transmission’s input shaft makes a difference both when accelerating off the line and when a quick burst of speed is needed for passing.

The 50e comes standard with an adaptive two-axle air suspension with automatic self-levelling. The setup uses an electrically driven compressor with pressure reservoir to maintain optimum ride height no matter the speed, and regardless of how much load is being carried. The ride height automatically lowers by 10 millimetres at speeds above 140 km/h. Then there’s the meaty rubber, the tester fitted with optional 21-inch Pirelli PZero all-season run-flat tires (P275/40 up front, P315/35 on the rears).

Some EVs and PHEVs drive “heavy,” because, well, they are. The X5 xDrive50e is not one of them. Its stateliness does not come at the expense of manoeuvrability or speed. The SAV is more than capable of getting out of its own way on battery power alone. Combine the engine and motor and this is a suitably quick PHEV. When pushed, it’s a speedy 4.8 seconds to hit 100 km/h.

Steering is light but direct. The air suspension and active anti-roll bars do yeoman work in keeping the body from heeling over when turning, though you definitely feel the weight transfer on on-ramps. Its overall demeanour is unruffled, even over patched and potholed pavement, though not at the expense of solid communication between driver and road.

Most BMW cabins tend more toward logic than outright opulence. That said, the xDrive50e’s cabin is a rather nice place to spend time in — all the required modern conveniences, pleasing colour choices, and an appropriate number of shiny bits. X5s come with standard sport seats, BMW promising outstanding comfort as well as lateral support when the road gets twisty. The $107,000 tester came with “comfort” seats with ventilation for front passengers as part of the $8,500 Premium Enhanced Package. Other items found in the package include a panoramic sunroof, soft-close doors, four-zone climate control, and adaptive LED headlights.

The fully digital Curved Display — made up of a 12.3-inch information display behind the steering wheel and a visually stunning 14.9-inch control display — is the biggest change inside. There are fewer buttons and such to use as touch and voice control for various functions take over. I admit to being impressed that a voice request for directions to an address was repeated back accurately and quickly the first time, with the route guide appearing on the navigation screen a second later.

1 of 5

You may use a different browser or device to view this in full screen.

Another new interior bit is the ambient Light Bar, integrated below the trim in the front passenger area. Interior light distribution, brightness, and a choice of 15 colours can be configured via the iDrive menu. This also includes the Welcome Light Carpet – which projects a graphic on the ground alongside the X5 when the doors are unlocked or opened — plus pulsating light signals that appear on the inner panelling of an open door when the engine is running. All together now: “Disco, Disco Duck…”

Considering the 50e’s 4,935-millimetre length, I was surprised the cabin was a little cozier than expected. Admittedly, the circumstances involved family friends, with two out of the three, plus me, over six feet tall. I could feel the knees of the long, lanky 14-year-old son firmly in my seat back.

Because of the battery pack, the 50e also has less cargo capacity than its gas-only brethren — 500 litres behind the rear seats versus 650; 1,700 litres with the seats folded versus 1,870.

While the 50e is new for the 2024 model year, its predecessor, the 45e, received decent reviews. “The BMW X5 Hybrid is a big, premium and comfortable plug-in model with a strong level of equipment and well-finished styling,” says “If you’re after an SUV with some form of electrified powertrain, the X5 could be a great choice — particularly the later model with its larger battery.”

Says “With an impressive EV-only range and enough room for a family and their gear, the X5 xDrive45e PHEV hits all the right marks. It’s quick, livable, and doesn’t require anything more than someone to plug it in at night to be ready to save some cash while commuting … Its slow charge rate is a bummer, but it’s not a deal-breaker.”

In its test of 2022 X5s, Consumer Reports said “it’s among the best SUVs we’ve tested. It is a luxurious, slick, and well-rounded vehicle. With each new generation, the X5 has become more refined and comfortable, but less of a crisp-handling SUV. We think this redesign optimally balances comfort, agility, power delivery, and interior quality.” While it hasn’t commented on the 2024 models, CR weighed in on the 2023 X5’s projected reliability: “…about average reliability when compared to the average new car. This prediction is based on data from 2020, 2021 and 2022 models.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U.S. gives the 2024 X5 a four-star safety rating out of five.

Those shopping the luxury end of the mid-sized SUV PHEV segment are finding an increasing array of 2024 models (both two-and three-row) from which to choose. Keeping it in the general vicinity of the X5 xDrive50e’s base price, there’s the $82,650 Volvo XC90 Recharge; $99,200 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid; $86,950 Lexus RX 450h+ (new); $123,050 Range Rover Sport Plug-in Hybrid (2023); Mercedes-Benz GLE 450e (new, no price yet); and $85,400 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring (2023).

The base MSRP is $90,500, some $4,500 more than the xDrive40i and $14,500 less than the top-line X5 M60i. The tester was fitted with $16,500 worth of options, notably the previously mentioned Premium Assistance Package. The Advanced Driver Assistance Package ($2,500) adds features such as Driving Assistant Professional, Highway Assistant (“It allows the driver to take their hands off the steering wheel when driving on limited access highways at speeds up to 130 km/h under certain highway driving conditions,” says BMW), Traffic Jam Assistant, Steering and Lane Control, and more. The M Sport Package jazzes up the SAV with larger 21-inch wheels, blue M Sport brakes, an aerodynamics package, and a leather steering wheel. Of the several individual options, the $500 illuminated kidney grille is: a) a waste of money, b) cool, and c) both.

Past BMWs were fun to drive because of their sporty nature. The new xDrive50e, while quick when it needs to be, impresses more with its quiet and calming demeanour as well as its luxury trappings. The ability to run on battery power for a decent distance goes a long way to dismissing — or at least reducing — the deserved reputation larger SUVs are gas pigs. (After a week, I spent just $6.90 to fill up the 50e’s gas tank with 91 octane.) PHEVs are not the ultimate solution to shrinking dependence on fossil fuel, but they are a certainly a step in the right direction. And the 50e lets you show your green side in high style.

✔ Stylish, especially with M Sport Package ✔ Plenty quick on electric power alone ✔ Goes farther on battery power than last year’s model

✘ Legroom can be tight for taller rear-seat occupants ✘ No third-row option ✘ Interior light show is rather silly

Check out details on the latest BMW X5 xDrive50e via our online shopping tool.

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

To contribute to the conversation, you need to be logged in. If you are not yet registered, create your account now - it's FREE.

5 Affordable EVs

Small trucks

Popular Crossover SUVs

Practical 3-row SUVs

Minivans for the whole family

Compact Cars

Luxury SUVs

Affordable AWD SUVs

All things automotive: breaking news, reviews and more. Wednesdays and Saturdays.

A welcome email is on its way. If you don't see it, please check your junk folder.

The next issue of's Blind-Spot Monitor will soon be in your inbox.

We encountered an issue signing you up. Please try again