BMW combines plug-in hybrid system with AWD in new X5 concept
By C.C. Weiss
April 21, 2014
BMW's xDrive meets its eDrive in the new Concept X5 eDrive. However you want to look at it – a more capable plug-in hybrid or a more efficient AWD – the concept blends utility and cleanliness like few other vehicles. Originally revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the X5 concept was reworked for this month's New York International Auto Show.
The new concept SUV (or SAV/Sports Activity Vehicle as BMW insists on calling it) uses eDrive technology filtered down from the BMW i3 and i8. It combines a 245-hp TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine and an internally developed 95-hp electric motor. A lithium-ion battery mounted underneath the luggage floor is wired to the motor, providing up to 19 miles (30 km) of all-electric range and 75 mph (120 km/h) of speed. In addition to the full-electric "MAX eDrive" mode, the X5 concept offers an "AUTO eDrive" hybrid mode and a "SAVE Battery" mode designed to reserve the current level of battery power for later use.
The X5 eDrive represents BMW's first effort at throwing eDrive plug-in hybrid hardware into an xDrive all-wheel configuration. In all three driving modes, power from the motor and/or engine is directed at the driving wheels that can most effectively turn it into forward momentum. BMW says the traction, handling and cornering are all exactly what you'd expect from one of its AWD SUVs, difference being, this one brings home an estimated 62 mpg (3.8 L/100 km) and CO2 emissions below 90 g/km. The concept can accelerate to 62 mph (100 km/h) in under 7 seconds.
In addition to switching between driving modes to change the engine-motor output configuration, drivers can tweak other drive settings with three modes: Comfort, Sport and ECO Pro. In ECO Pro mode, "the energy management system orchestrates the interaction between engine and electric drive unit as the driving situation changes in order to maximize efficiency." On top of that, the Proactive Driving Assistant works with the navigation system to factor route, traffic and speed restriction information into the hybrid-drive equation.
The concept also includes ConnectedDrive technologies, such as a dynamic range display that calculates remaining electric range, making updates based not only on distance driven, but also traffic, driving style and route profile. A smartphone app allows remote control features and remote viewing of car information.
Visually, the X5 eDrive wears some subtle adornments to separate it from the regular ICE-powered X5. Its Silverflake metallic exterior is highlighted with BMW i Blue around the grille, air intakes and rear bumper insert. This theme continues through the doors, where light blue seams are stitched around the Ivory White leather, blue accent strips accentuate the piano black trim and blue ambient lighting appears throughout.
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