Hybrid X5 does 45.3mpg and is 'production feasible'
21 February 2008

BMW is setting out to silence critics of big, luxury off-roaders with an advanced new, X5-based concept car that it claims is every bit as economical and clean as a family saloon.To be unveiled at next week’s Geneva motor show, the X5 Vision Efficient Dynamics manages 45.3mpg and produces 172g/km of CO2 - 10mpg more and 42g/km less than the most frugal X5 on sale today.

Much more than a concept

The X5 Vision uses a new hybrid powertrain that BMW is in the process of testing, and will introduce in future models such as the Progressive Activity Sedan and X6. A departure from the full hybrid system unveiled on the X6 Active Hybrid at last year’s Frankfurt motor show, it uses a diesel engine supplemented by an electric motor.In fact, if BMW are to be believed, a production version may arrive sooner rather than later. “This is no pie in the sky project," said Klaus Draeger, head of development at BMW. “All of the features are production feasible. If reaction is positive we could easily and without too much delay apply the technology featured on our latest concept to existing showroom models.”The concept is powered by the twin-turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel – as seen in the 123d. It kicks out an impressive 201bhp – or just over 100bhp per litre - along with a solid 295lb ft at 2000rpm, giving a 0-62mph time of 8.9sec.Backing it up is an electric motor mounted within the gearbox housing developing 15kW and a maximum 210Nm of torque. It is propelled by electricity produced by the generator on a trailing throttle and under braking, stored in a lithium-ion battery pack mounted at the rear. Channelling drive permanently to all four wheels is an eight-speed automatic box incorporating the generator and management system for the electric motor. The unit will be used in the new 7-series due in September, providing a broader spread of ratios and promising greater response.

Not just battery power

Helping to further optimise efficiency is BMW’s stop/start function – as offered on the 1-series. The battery pack provides power for the air conditioning and other systems reliant on electricity when the engine is off. Along with the advanced drivetrain, BMW has further modified the X5 to boost efficiency. In addition to the conventional 12 volt electrical system, there is also a 120 volt arrangement supporting electricity from one of two lithium-ion battery packs to various components, including the EDC (electronic damper control) system. On the roof is a metre square solar panel that acts as an additional electrical source. It enables pre-heating of the oil, while providing a source of power for the air conditioning, cool box, entertainment and other systems when the car is stationary. The standard wheels have also been swapped for futuristic looking alloys developed in BMW’s wind tunnel. Their shape is claimed to play an important part in reducing fuel consumption by requiring one kilowatt less propulsion power at a speed of 100mph.

Our Verdict


The big BMW X5 SUV may be getting a little long in the tooth, but it’s still one of the best all-rounders in its class

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22 February 2008

Whilst I applaud BMW's success at continuing to produce cars that seem to manage both performance and remarkable economy, are they being a bit cute with this latest press release?

BMW claims is every bit as economical and clean as a family saloon

Yet if you make possibly the fairest comparison available: BMW's own large family saloon, the 520d auto, a car with two fewer gears in the gearbox and no fancy hybrid system to help it, the X5 is still 10% thirstier. I wonder what the next 5 Series will manage with a hybrid diesel driving it.

But lest I sound too mean: 45MPG is an incredible result for such a massive car as the X5. I'm glad to see BMW finally embracing hybrid technology after they spent so long trying to rubbish it.

22 February 2008

But they are rubbish - hybrids that is in general. BMW have been forced to go with the flow.

Take a look at the this car's Gallery pictures man. What's the point of a 4WD, SAV/AAV as BMW calls theirs if it sits on the ground? Good for reduced drag, but then why bother with automobiles at all beyond functional objects? It looks like one of those c.100gCO2/km VW BlueMotion Polos. Like an up-turned jelly mould. Do the wheels double up as childrens' windmills or perhaps wind turbines at speed?

Who's going to pay for all the extra kit with hybrids - all for the sake of theoretical, never achieveable in practice, sub 200gCO2 emissions? 8 speed heavy, complicated autos, extra motor, battery pack, controls, solar roof panels in cloudy Northern Europe, separate high-voltage system, instructions for dealership workshops etc., disposal/replacement of battery packs, 2nd/3rd hand reliability and operability factors - all a potential nightmare, oh but so good for the cool 'Hybrid' bullshit Toyota image.

BMW were, until Toyota and Hybrid mania came along, working away on Wasserstoff, Hydrogen fuel for engines and latterly fuel cells, again powered by hydrogen. This was and will again be the way to go. In the meantime, pure internal combustion technology, not petrol/diesel-electric hybrids like that showcased by Mercedes-Benz at Frankfurt last year, the Otto-Diesel engine is the way to go - diesel torque and efficiency without diesel soot, NOx or expense adding particulate traps and/or urea-catalysors. VW Group have also been doing excellent work with the low c.c. direct injection charged engines - very clean and highly efficient without all the weight, cost and fuss of the dreaded hybrids.

Do you really want to drag aroung several hundred more kilos of already bloated vehicle just to be able to say I can theoretically do 10mpg more in ideal test conditions and pay through the nose for the priviledge and drive something that looks lile a parody to boot? Madness.

If you have an uncontrollable urge to save the planet and boast of driving start-of-the-art 'green' machinery you should be wishing for all-electric vehicles or fuel cell powered vehicles. The cost, weight, size(energy density) and overall efficiency of battery packs will only come down to somewhere near reasonable cost with true mass production and the stepped up recycling facilities to go with it. The electricity for the 'plug in' car and hydrogen production will have to come from nuclear power stations or else in your carbon-obsessed world you're back to square one. You will not generate one tenth of the requisite elecrtricity from ranks of non-turning supposed 1MW-rated wind turbines or from solar power at Northern latitudes beyond 50deg..

22 February 2008

If they fitted this system to a 5 series it may make more sense. Maybe the result would be an executive saloon that is exempt from the London congestion charge!

25 February 2008

Whats the point in hybrids, just get a diesel!

25 February 2008

What's the point in X5s? Unholy alliance of a sports saloon and a tractor, styled in the dark.

25 February 2008

Generally not a fan of 4x4s/SUVs myself, for the well known inferior dynamics, high weight and economy reasons

So yes, it would make more sense for BMW to apply this technology to their saloons and estates and they probably will, but no reason why they shouldn't include their 4x4s too and make them greener. Hybrids will probably turn out to be a stop gap solution, but there is clearly still a big market for 4x4 and it makes commercial and PR sense for the company to do this. I don't recall Lexus getting much stick for doing this with the 300RX, so why the fuss with BMW?

I quite like the look of the X5. If they styled in the dark they should do it more often.

25 February 2008

A pointless exercise that appears designed to assuage the guilt of well-heeled faux-environmentalist, preachy types like Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow and to save face against Toyota/Lexus.

25 February 2008

Can we start a new thread just to slag off Coldplay? Please! go on!

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