Here's a first look at the new 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e slated to hit showrooms this fall. The first plug-in-hybrid from the automaker's "core" brand is a near clone of the Concept X5 eDrive presented at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show. The production model also features BMW's 2.0-liter TwinPowerTurbo gasoline 4-cylinder engine that makes 242 horsepower and a 113-horse electric motor integrated into its paddle-shiftable 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. Collectively, the xDrive40e package develops a maximum of 309 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, which is shipped to all four wheels via BMW's intelligent xDrive system. The automaker claims that matchup will let the new X5 xDrive40e sprint from 0-62 mph in 6.8 seconds, reach an electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph and return a maximum of 85.6 mpg on the combined Euro driving cycle - although BMW admits it won't match that figure under the significantly tougher U.S. EPA testing regimen. 

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Energy for the motor in the X5 xDrive40e is supplied by a 9.0kWh lithium-ion battery pack located beneath the rear cargo floor. It holds sufficient charge to let this eco-friendly SUV travel up to 19 miles in pure EV mode at a speed of up to 75 mph. In addition to on-the-fly Brake Energy Regeneration, the battery can be replenished using several plug-in modes the quickest of which - a dedicated BMW Wallbox - can do the job in 2 hours 45 minutes, about an hour less than a standard 240V line.

Multi-mode mileage-stretching 

As one would expect, the new xDrive40e blends the best of the conventional BMW X5 with eco-friendly enhancements. For openers, an eDrive button on the center console offers three "intelligent" energy optimization choices. The default is Auto eDrive that starts the vehicle out on battery power and then switches the engine on at about 44 mph or when the driver steps more aggressively into the throttle. Max eDrive dials up pure EV operation while Save Battery works to conserve or build up battery charge levels for later use in potential zero-emissions urban zones. The eDrive setup is fully integrated into the X5's standard Driving Experience Control that offers its own Comfort/Sport/EcoPro settings to alter mapping of the steering, transmission, throttle and the Dynamic Damper Control/rear leveling. At speeds up to 100 mph, choosing the EcoPro setting adds even more efficiency by shutting the engine off completely any time the vehicle is coasting. 

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Save for a charging port on the left front fender, unique trapezoidal exhaust tips and a bounty of dedicated eDrive badging, the X5 xDrive40e looks like any other X5. Inside, its Dakota-leather appointed cabin features EV-specific instruments and screens for the iDrive system. Additional energy-optimizing functions for the BMW Connected Drive work with the standard Navigation Professional system. While a third row seat won't be offered, BMW says virtually all of the other X5 options will be, including an M Sport package and a host of bespoke features from BMW Individual. The 2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e will be built at BMW's assembly plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, which also is home to the existing X3, X4 X5 and X6 models. Pricing for this new addition to the BMW family will be announced closer to its on-sale date. 

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