Shocker! our Ukhozi FM petrol­head cor­re­spon­dent Si­bonelo Myeni drives ’lek­tric — and likes it. Well, mostly.

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

NOTH­ING says I have ar­rived in the world of ex­cess than an M-Sport spec BMW X5 with those 20-inch wheels.

That usu­ally means the owner will also have to bud­get nicely for stops at the lo­cal petrol sta­tion; how­ever, with the X5 40e that’s not nec­es­sar­ily the case … here’s why.

The X5 40e we had on test con­sumed 10,1l/100km dur­ing the test week, drove for about 100 km with­out con­sum­ing a sin­gle drop of fuel (that’s be­tween charges) and on a full tank of petrol with full charge does 710 km be­fore fill-up.

Best is the fact that in Jozi’s no­to­ri­ous traf­fic, I drove from Midrand to Pre­to­ria and back to Midrand with lit­tle fuel used.

You see the X5 40e uses a 2,0-litre, four-cylin­der TwinPower Turbo linked to a plug-in elec­tric mo­tor for a com­bined out­put of 230kW/450Nm (that’s as much as the 3,0 litre, six-cylin­der turbo which av­er­ages 13-14l/100 km of eco­nom­i­cal driv­ing).

When charged, the 40e sprints from rest to 100 km/h in seven sec­onds but on the open road, the 2,0-litre strug­gles to main­tain its fuel-sip­ping tar­get, es­pe­cially when the bat­ter­ies are de­pleted.

A fuel-cap-like open­ing in the front left fender is where you charge the bat­ter­ies (two hours of a fast charge gives a 30 km range — about the av­er­age dis­tance home for most peo­ple) but the chal­lenge is, charg­ing sta­tions are not as com­mon. You can charge at home overnight for a full charge (re­mem­ber Eskom rates are lower at night).

The rest of the 40e looks sim­i­lar to the X5s launched a cou­ple of years ago, which means it doesn’t raise a lot of eye­brows when peo­ple see it. It does strug­gle against newer de­sign com­pe­ti­tion, no­tably the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7, but it man­ages to outdo the re­cently re­vised Mercedes-Benz GLE.

The in­side is typ­i­cal BMW with qual­ity switchgear and a well laid out cabin. How­ever, the seven-seat op­tion is not avail­able here due to the bat­ter­ies stored un­der­neath the slightly smaller boot.

Five peo­ple do get com­fort­able ac­com­mo­da­tion with our test unit’s op­tional Logic 7 Au­dio sys­tem, one of the best in the busi­ness. The panoramic glass sun­roof is another wor­thy op­tion to go for, but one would have ex­pected the Xenon head­lights to come stan­dard.

The X5 40e comes stan­dard with rear air suspension, which makes this model one of the most com­fort­able X5 mod­els yet to test. Adap­tive suspension al­lows a Sport mode that firms up the suspension for Porsche Cayenne-equalling han­dling dy­nam­ics aided by the light­weight 2.0-litre en­gine (XC90, Q7 and GLE won’t even get close).

Wind and tyre noise is no­tice­able by its ab­sence, even on the 20-inch, M-Sport suspension test unit.

At R1,1 mil­lion, the X5 40e is cer­tainly not cheap, but con­sid­er­ing the tech­nol­ogy you get, its dy­nam­ics, it’s worth a con­sid­er­a­tion … it’s just the X5 30d is equally good. — WR.

The X5 40e gave me 10 km/litre in open road and city traf­fic, us­ing only bat­tery and then the 2-litre turbo. The X5 30d does quite a bit bet­ter than this.

PHOTO: BMW

The main com­peti­tor for BMW’s X5 40e comes from the equally good X5 30d.

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