Photo by Vince Taroc.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

Many companies have implemented corporate sustainability programs to achieve self-imposed reductions in CO2 and GHG emissions. Typically, these companies employ a multipronged approach, with fleet being an important component of this sustainability strategy.

However, the one segment that is sometimes the least compliant with corporate sustainability goals is the executive fleet, which conveys the subliminal message of “do as I say, not as I do.” It is important for management to lead by example when initiating a fleet sustainability program to generate corporate-wide acceptance. The 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid provides management with the ability to do so.

Recently, AF had an opportunity to test drive the X5 xDrive40e, which is BMW’s first plug-in hybrid sports activity vehicle (SAV). One impressive feature is that the EPA rates it at 56 MPGe, while being powered by a robust powertrain. The X5 xDrive40e demonstrates that high fuel efficiency doesn’t need to equate to anemic performance.

The X5 xDrive40e combines the 2.0L TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder engine with an electric motor, powered by a lithium-ion battery, which are integrated into its 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. The electric motor provides output of 111 hp, while its maximum torque of 184 lb.-ft. is available from the word “go” in typical electric drive fashion. Working in tandem, the gasoline engine and electric motor generate 308 hp and produce 332 lb.-ft. of torque, enough to accelerate the X5 xDrive40e from 0-60 mph in just 6.5 seconds.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

The BMW X5 xDrive40e can travel approximately 14 miles on pure electric power, ideally suited to short commutes and nearby appointments. The lithium-ion high-voltage battery pack, which also supplies power to the battery for the 12V electrical system via a voltage transformer, is housed underneath the luggage compartment floor, where it is well protected in the event of a crash.

Another takeaway from our test drive was the sure-footedness of the X5 plug-in hybrid due to BMW’s xDrive, the intelligent all-wheel drive system, which also operates when the vehicle is in the all-electric mode. The xDrive system ensures optimal traction in all weather and road surface conditions, together with optimized handling stability and increased agility when powering through corners.

An electronically controlled multi-plate clutch provides the basis for fully variable distribution of the drive torque between the front and rear wheels. xDrive is linked up to the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), making it capable of acting in advance to counter vehicle understeer or oversteer and to direct drive power in such a way as to optimize the handling dynamics.

For those execs, who want to control gear shifts, the BMW X5 xDrive40e can also be optionally equipped with shift paddles on the steering wheel, enabling the driver to swiftly make manual gear selections.

In summary, the 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e can make a major contribution in helping to green an executive fleet. It will allow management to take a leadership role in corporate fleet sustainability to lead by example, without sacrificing luxury or responsive performance.

Related Photos: BMW's 2016 X5 xDrive40e

About the author
Mike Antich

Mike Antich

Former Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike Antich covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Global Fleet of Hal in 2022. He also won the Industry Icon Award, presented jointly by the IARA and NAAA industry associations.

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