2020 BMW X5 xDrive45e M Sport PHEV (car review)

THE 2020 BMW X5 xDrive45e M Sport plug-in hybrid could be the coolest PHEV SUV on the market. Now before you go “huh? what are these people talking about”, there’s a story that goes with that statement.

Picture this. Two adults and two kids jump in a car, this car, and drive nearly two hours to visit Heddon Greta, a pint sized town in the NSW Hunter Valley, that just happens to be home to one of the last Drive-In movie screens in Australia.

If you aren’t sure what that is, you pretty much drive your car in, reverse into a spot so the back of your SUV is facing the screen, tune the radio to the audio broadcast, throw the rear door skyward, lay the seats flat and watch a movie.

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You are of course, piled into the back, with quilts, food, drinks, and pillows. You watch the big screen, the car audio pumps out the noise. The movie, in this case, was Sonic the Hedgehog (the two kids are eight – it was a sensible choice).

Now modern technology wreaked a little havoc with the audio broadcast thanks to the fact that every 30 minutes or so the car audio would shut off to save the battery, but a quick tap of the start button bought it back to life. A little painful but it is what it is.

It’s a modern car in 2020 and it has a mind of its own. But that’s not the story. Rather the tale lies in the other technology this car has, in its ability to basically drive you home on a two-hour trip, that included getting on and off freeways.

With very little influence from the driver, with lane keep assist and lane guidance turned on, as well as adaptive cruise control, more than 95 per cent of the journey was completed pretty much semi-autonomously.

You still need to keep a hand on the wheel, and you still need to use your blinkers to change lanes and take exits, but the technology in the BMW X5 xDrive45e will do its thing and keep the car centred in the lane, and all while matching itself to the speed limit.

Because that’s the other cool bit of tech you’ll find here, adaptive cruise control that tracks the speed limit thanks to road sign recognition, and with the odd push of a button on the steering wheel, will keep itself firmly held at the limit.

So when you’ve sat through the resurrection of Jim Carey’s comic genius as Dr Robotnik and a talking blue hedgehog for the second time (sshhh, don’t tell the kids we’d seen it already), it’s nice to know the X5 has your back, and will get you home safe.

The heart of all this technological goodness is BMW’s Driver Assistant Professional, which includes, in addition to bits we’ve already mentioned, support when parking and driving in narrow places, emergency stop assist, and active side collision protection.

All the whizz bang technology aside, the BMW X5 offers 290kW of petrol power and 600Nm of torque from its 3.0-litre in-line 6-cylinder engine, and hybrid powertrain, all paired to an 8-speed Sport automatic transmission.

It can race to 100km/h in just 5.6 seconds, although oddly it never quite feels like that’s possible, as although it really is going fast, it does give the impression that it’s not really fussed about the time it takes to get there.

It’s a weird feeling, and one that took a little getting used to. That aside, the five-seater will give you an outstanding 2.3-litres/100km according to BMW, although our best was a still impressive 4.6-litres.

It has adaptive 2-axle air suspension with automatic self-levelling and a bucket load of M Sport goodness, including an M Sport exterior package with 20-inch star-spoke light alloy wheels with run-flat tyres, a panoramic glass sunroof, and an M aerodynamics package.

It also comes with BMW Individual high gloss shadow line roof rails, and high gloss black air breather surround. Inside, it has Vernasca leather upholstery, M door sills, Mesheffect aluminium trims, an M leather steering wheel and Anthracite headliner.

Automatic soft close doors are available as an optional extra too, which is a nice touch. If you’ve never experienced these, we recommend you get along to a BMW dealer and check them out. It means you’ll never leave the door slightly ajar, ever again.

To jump into a 2020 BMW X5 xDrive45e M Sport PHEV, you’ll need to part with around $145,000 drive away. It’s available in Alpine White, Carbon Black Metallic, Black Sapphire, Sophisto Grey Brilliant Effect, Mineral White and Phytonic Blue.

We’re not done yet though, you can also have Arctic Grey Brilliant Effect, and BMW Individual paint options including the Tanzanite Blue Metallic of our test vehicle. Six interior trims are available as well.

These include such colour combinations as Black with Black stitching, or Cognac, Coffee or Ivory White, all with decorative stitching. It comes with a 3-year warranty and BMW roadside assistance.

Our test vehicle was provided by BMW Australia. To find out more about the 2020 BMW X5 xDrive45e, contact your local BMW dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - Driver Assist Professional is brilliant; additional pure electric range; luxurious and stylish; adaptive air suspension.
Cons - needs to charge for EV goodness; heavy thanks to larger battery; feels a little lazy under heavy acceleration.
Mark Holgate
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> Driver Assist Professional is brilliant; additional pure electric range; luxurious and stylish; adaptive air suspension.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> needs to charge for EV goodness; heavy thanks to larger battery; feels a little lazy under heavy acceleration.2020 BMW X5 xDrive45e M Sport PHEV (car review)