We're beginning to wonder if there will be any new gasoline cars at the Frankfurt Motor Show, because hybrids are really dominating the pre-show sneak peeks. BMW is the latest to join the likes of Mercedes and Land Rover. It explores what happens when you add a plug-in hybrid powertrain to the X5 crossover.
As you can easily deduce from the name, the Concept X5 eDrive is a combination of the X5 and BMW eDrive technology. Its TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine is slimmed down from the six- and eight-cylinder options on the production X5. To make up for the smaller engine, a 95-hp electric motor kicks in extra oomph. The motor can take over driving duties completely, providing up to 19 miles (30 km) of zero emissions commuting and speeds up to 75 mph (121 km/h).
The electric motor is backed by a high-powered lithium-ion battery that's mounted below the load floor, barely compromising interior space. It can be charged via the port on the driver side front fender, and a charging cable is included in the load area just above the battery itself.
The electric system and smaller four-cylinder engine underpin a BMW-estimated fuel economy of 74.3 mpg imp (62 mpg US), which makes the 2013 xDrive35i's 19 mpg US look downright sad. BMW lists Concept X5 emissions at less than 90 g/km. Three different driving modes manage the efficiency: Intelligent Hybrid, which balances efficiency and performance; Safe Battery, which preserves battery power for later use; and fully electric. Drivers can select the ECO PRO option to shade the intelligent hybrid mode more toward frugal, efficient driving.
The hybrid system works with BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive to send electric and engine drive power to the wheels that can most effectively push the car forward. BMW promises that the concept has the sure-footed, all-weather traction and agility that people demand from an AWD utility vehicle.
As it is based on the actual X5, the X5 eDrive looks like a polished model ready to hit assembly lines, as opposed to the wild fantasies that some other concepts embody. It does distinguish itself ever so subtly with the charging port, specially designed roof rails, and BMW "i Blue" highlights in the the kidney grille, air intakes and rear bumper inlay.
Like other green BMW models, the Concept X5 eDrive's ConnectedDrive system is tweaked for electric propulsion. It shows the amount of all-electric range available at the moment, factoring traffic conditions, road conditions and driving style into the equation. The navigation system includes charging stations on its display. An accompanying smartphone app lets the driver monitor battery power, charging and range. It also offers control of certain functions, such as charging, preheating and precooling.
The Concept X5 eDrive will appear beside the third-generation gas X5 and the i3 electric car at next month's Frankfurt Motor Show. BMW will also bring the Concept Active Tourer Outdoor that it first revealed mid-year. BMW's Frankfurt blueprint doesn't mention anything about its most interesting debut: the i8 plug-in, which it previously announced would debut at the show.