New Model News

U.S.-made next-gen 2021 BMW X5 plug-in hybrid SUV debuts with big horsepower bump

BMW has unveiled the next-generation of its plug-in hybrid X5 SUV.

Photo courtesy of BMW

The second-generation of the BMW X5 plug-in hybrid (PHEV) has debuted featuring more horsepower, a quicker zero to 60 mph time, and a long list of fresh technology. It also has a super ultra-low emissions vehicle rating (SULEV), which can benefit owners as the vehicle qualifies for high occupancy lane access stickers.

Dubbed the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e, the model is only sold as a PHEV. It is powered by a new twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that replaces the last-gen's 2.0-liter twin-turbo-four. The engine is paired with a 24 kilowatt-hour battery (double the previous model's capacity) and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e The model retains much of the exterior elements of the traditional X5 model.Photo courtesy of BMW

The new battery allows the car to have a maximum all-electric speed of 84 mph (75 mph in the previous model) and more than double the all-electric range - now 30 miles. With the rear seats up, cargo space is only 0.8 cubic feet less than the standard X5. With the rear seats folded, cargo space is 1.1 cubic feet less.

Combined power is 389 horsepower, an 81 horsepower increase from the last edition, and 443 pound-feet of torque (up 111 pound-feet). The powertrain moves the X5 xDrive45e from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, making it 1.2 seconds faster than before.

Drivers have three drive modes to choose from: Hybrid, Electric, and Sport. Hybrid is the default at start up and allows the car's computers to decide the best use of gasoline and electric power based on driver input. Electric-only driving is capable up to speeds of 68 mph in this mode.

Using Electric mode, the X5 xDrive45e can go up to 84 mph. To get back to Hybrid mode, the driver simply has to push the throttle back down through the kick-down position or push the button on the center console. Sport drive mode utilizes only the gasoline engine and allows for aggressive energy regeneration from engine and mechanical braking.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e Its grille is big but so is its horsepower boost.Photo courtesy of BMW

Sport isn't just a mode. BMW has given the X5 xDrive45e the ability to deliver an engaging drive experience. It has a double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspension, which make it agile. Its standard Dynamic Damper Control system uses electronically controlled shock absorbers.

The X5's ride height can be changed among five selectable levels at the touch of a button. The driver is also able to adjust the body's ground clearance for off-road driving to a maximum of 1.6 inches above the standard setting. Another button lowers the car's height by 1.6 inches to make loading and unloading of the vehicle easier.

BMW equips the car with standard 19-inch V-spoke Style 734 wheels that are wrapped in 265/50R19 all-season run-flat tires. Two 20-inch and two 21-inch wheel options are available.

The SUV is offered in the buyer's choice of nine paint finishes.

A factory-installed available trailer hitch allows the SUV to be rated for up to 7,200 pounds of towing capacity.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e BMW offers the car with three drive modes, which are activated using buttons on the center console.Photo courtesy of BMW

The cabin of the X5 xDrive45e is upholstered in standard Sensatec material in either Canberra Beige/Black or in Black. Buyers can upgrade to Vernasca Leather in their choice of five colors: Ivory White, Canberry Beige, Coffee, Cognac, or Black. Additionally, BMW Individual Extended Merino Leather is available as an option Ivory White, Coffee, Tartufo, Black, and Ivory White/Navy Blue.

There are stripe wood high gloss interior accents on the interior in the base model. Alternatively, buyers can choose Aluminum Tetragon, Aluminum Dark Mesh, Brown-Metallic Ash Grain Wood, Fineline Stripe Brown High Gloss Wood, or Anthracite Brown Poplar Matte Finish Wood.

In front of the driver is BMW's Live Cockpit Professional which includes a high-resolution 12.3-inch instrument cluster. A 12.3-inch infotainment screen sits at the center of the dashboard. The system offers haptic controls for the iDrive controller, an advanced tablet-like touch interface. Additionally, there are two USB-C ports and Bluetooth capability. The SUV comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Google Assistant, Google Maps, music streaming services like Spotify and Amazon Music and the WhatsApp messaging service are now available to both iPhone and Android users.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e Three different types of upholstery are available in the new SUV.Photo courtesy of BMW

The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e is available with a wide variety of standard and optional driver assistance systems. The standard Active Driving Assistant includes blind spot detection, lane departure warning, rear collision warning, front collision warning and pedestrian with city collision mitigation (which now also alerts the driver if cyclists are detected) rear cross traffic alert, and speed limit information.

Adding the Driving Assistance Professional Package gives drivers access to adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, including the ability to stop the car and pull away again automatically after being stationary for up to 30 seconds. Lake keeping assist with active side collision protection; evasion aid, which reacts to pedestrians; and front cross traffic alert are also included.

A drive recorder is available with the Parking Assistance Package and uses cameras of the various driver assistance systems to record video footage from the front and/or rear view points of the vehicle before storing the recordings. The saved video files can be either watched later on the center control display when the car is stationary or exported via the USB port. When activated, the drive recorder shoots and stores up to 40 seconds of video. In the event of a collision, a period of up to 20 seconds around the moment of impact is automatically recorded and saved.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e Two 12.3-inch screens make up the displays at the front.Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW makes the X5 xDrive45e at its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The model goes on sale later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date.

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Electric vehicle concepts

Nissan shows off new concepts and plans for future EVs

Nissan showed off a group of funky concept vehicles at the announcement.

Nissan

Nissan is approaching the release of Ariya, its brand-new EV, but there are plans for much more in the automaker’s near future. Today, the Japanese company announced Nissan Ambition 2030, its plan to develop electrified vehicles and become a more sustainable company. Beyond new vehicles, the roadmap includes investments in battery recycling and charging infrastructure, new battery tech, and more widespread safety technologies.

Nissan Ambition 2030 The automaker plans for 50 percent electrification by 2030.Nissan

Nissan’s plans include 23 new electrified models by 2030. The target covers 15 new EVs and a target of 50 percent electrification. The automaker says it plans to launch a proprietary solid-state battery by 2028, and notes that it will develop a pilot production facility in Yokohama, Japan by 2024. Solid state technologies are not yet commercially viable but will offer faster charging times and better energy densities than lithium ion battery packs.

Nissan Surf-Out Concept Surf-Out is a concept truck with super funky styling.Nissan

While the focus was on the news of its electrification plans, Nissan’s concept vehicles stole the show. The Surf-Out concept truck features a long, low cargo surface and unique all-terrain tires. Typical of concept cars, the Surf-Out’s styling and design are over-the-top. The cabin is surrounded on three sides by glass and open to the bed in the rear. Instead of a grille, there’s a glass panel with an illuminated Nissan logo. It's unlikely Surf-Out or the other concepts shown will make it to production unchanged, but they show that the automaker is looking to explore bold designs with its electrified vehicles.

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New electric pickup truck

GMC Hummer EV deliveries to start soon

Hummer EV deliveries will start in December.

GMC

This year has turned out to be as difficult for automakers as 2020 was, if not much more so. The pandemic is still a major factor, and to make matters worse there's a global microchip shortage that heavily impacts automakers' ability to build tech-heavy vehicles. GMC has a big launch left to handle in 2021, and according to a recent call with journalists, it's proceeding as planned. On a recent call with reporters, GMC exec Duncan Aldred noted that Hummer EV pickup deliveries are on track to begin in December. He also elaborated on the truck's EPA range numbers.

2023 GMC Hummer EV The trucks will deliver up to 329 miles on a charge. GMC

The Hummer's EPA range lands at 329, not far from the 350 miles General Motors targeted for the vehicle. Those are the estimates for the limited Hummer Edition 1, which carries a six-figure price tag and gobs of bells and whistles. Aldred said that other models coming later on will offer longer range estimates when they hit the roads sometime in 2023.

A staggering 80 percent of reservations GMC has gathered so far are for the Edition 1 model. Almost half of the 125,000 people who have inquired about the Hummer EV have placed the refundable $100 deposit and the SUV's first year of production is completely sold out.

2023 GMC Hummer EV The Hummer EV's first year of production is sold out. GMC

When it hits the streets later this year, the Hummer EV will be just in time to face off against a growing crop of EV trucks and SUVs. Rivian recently began delivering the R1T electric pickup truck and will continue with the R1S SUV next year. The Ford F-150 Lightning is coming in 2022, and General Motors itself has a Cadillac EV rollout to handle in 2022. Chevy and GMC will show off electric versions of the Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks on January 5 and GMC will push the Hummer SUV EV in 2023.

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