What Car? Electric Car Awards in association with myenergi
Electric Car Awards 2020: Hybrid luxury SUV
With electric cars now coming in all shapes and sizes – and available to suit every budget – we’ve named the best models in every class. Here we look at the best plug-in hybrid luxury SUV...
WINNER: Hybrid luxury SUV
BMW X5 xDrive45e
Best buy M Sport List price £68,245 Target Price £66,235 Target PCP £779 per month 0-62mph 5.6sec Top speed 146mph Official economy 201.8mpg Official electric-only range 54 miles CO2 emissions 31g/km
Of all the cars to benefit from plugin hybrid technology, a luxury SUV is one of the most logical. Think about it: a serene driving experience, effortless performance and plenty of space are prerequisites for such vehicles, and the first two of these attributes are generally improved by adding electric power into the mix.
That’s certainly the case with the BMW X5 xDrive45e. With an official 54-mile all-electric range (more than both the Audi Q7 TFSIe and Volvo’s XC90 Recharge T8 offer), you don’t need to pussyfoot around worrying that you’ll wake the petrol engine under the bonnet with a simple overextension of your right foot. On our set test route, which replicates a range of real-world driving environments, we managed an impressive 32.5 miles of pure electric travel (versus just 18.7 for the XC90). That’s easily enough for most people to get to work and back without using a drop of petrol.
And when you do wish to go farther afield, if you enter your destination into the sat-nav, BMW’s hybrid system is clever enough to juggle between petrol and electric power sources to maximise fuel economy on your trip.
For example, if the first stretch is on a motorway and your journey ends in a city, the 3.0-litre straight six petrol engine will be used for the faster roads and the electric power will be saved for slower, more congested sections. Just be aware that when the battery is fully depleted, fuel economy will drop to below the level of an equivalent X5 xDrive30d diesel.
In truth, it’s on company car tax that this X5 will save you the most money; the fact that hybrids are judged on their CO2 emissions and pure electric range puts the X5 in a very sweet position. With a CO2 output of just 31g/km and that impressive electric-only range, the X5 attracts a benefit-in-kind rate of just 6%. To put it another way, that means your monthly tax bill will be less than if you’d gone for a sub-£25,000 1.0-litre Ford Puma.
However, the 45e is far more than just a luxury SUV for penny-pinchers. Not only does it offer hot hatch-rivalling performance (on our private test track, we managed a 0-60mph time of just 5.1sec), but it also handles better than the Q7, rides more comfortably than the XC90 and features a beautifully finished interior with a class-leading infotainment system.
The only real disappointment is that BMW doesn’t offer the 45e with seven seats, but at least it retains a capacious boot, despite the inclusion of a hefty 24kWh battery.