The adventure of a lifetime continues.

The moment I climbed into the BMW X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid, I spent a few minutes taking it all in – the fine finishings. The aesthetic dashboard soon drew me in and I instinctively slipped in a USB. By Goo Goo Lourie

Soon I was humming along to Rock band Coldplay’s latest song “Adventure of a Lifetime”  …

“Turn your magic on,

To me she’d say

Under this pressure, under this weight

We are diamonds

Now I feel my heart beating

I feel my heart underneath my skin

And I feel my heart beating

Oh, you make me feel

Like I’m alive again

Alive again

Oh, you make me feel

Like I’m alive again …”

That’s exactly how I felt  inside the brand new BMW X5 xDrive40e.

It felt like heaven inside the this big German machine.

The minute I pressed the Engine Start button, I imagined myself flying off smoothly on a magic carpet.  My legal guru mate, Tebogo Makhubedu, had told me about the BMW X5xDrive40e.

Without any hesitation, I placed the automatic gear on neutral and pressed the accelerator pedal while expecting the horsepower to make a loud noise, but I only experienced systemic work of progress – as the SUV was so silent that could hear a pin drop.

Within seconds  I appreciated the carmaker’s slogan “Sheer Driving Pleasure”.

This is the BMW X5 xDrive40e

The official name of the plug-in hybrid X5 is xDrive40e. The xDrive refers to its all-wheel drive, while the 40e is just a marketing term.

The eDrive lettering at the rear is a subtle optical difference to the BX5. What sets it apart is the range in the purely electric mode. It can drive approximately 30km.

sandeck

I headed to Sandton from the South of Jo’burg to meet my cousins Muhammad Rasheed Maroos and Yazeed Lourie at the Sandton Sun San Deck.

Both Muhammad and Yazeed are Mercedes-Benz fanatics.

Yazeed once worked for the brand and Muhammad drives a Mercedes-Benz C-180 and I knew that they were going to try and spoil my fun.

My cousins are fond of saying aspire to drive “The Best or Nothing”  – something they got from their preferred brand  Mercedes-Benz.

Powerful & Expressive

Arriving at the San Deck – the place for Sandton Sundowners – with a celebrated outdoor venue boasting scintillating views of the surrounding Sandton Skyline, I flaunted the X5 keys.

Yazeed immediately noticed the keys and asked, “what series is that Gugz?”

“It’s a Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) that offers outstanding luxury in all areas in which the highest demands are made,” I responded with confidence.

I had read BMW’s statement describing the new X5.

I could see Yazeed was curious. I wasn’t surprised when he said: “Order food quickly boeta, so that we can feel this machine”.

In no time we were headed for the car park. I used the remote to open the car as we approached it. The cool LED ambient lightning beautifying the car, Yazeed exclaimed, “Wow, my broer“.

Ambient lighting including a remarkable “Welcome” staging and nine predefined lighting design meets the entire interior with a soothing relaxing blend of direct and indirect lighting, emphasising the lounge-like atmosphere.

The lighting includes three coloured LEDs (white, orange and blue).

As we explore the new X5 and it hugs the beautiful road of Sandton, Muhammad exclaimed:

“My men, this car is for a Distinguished Entrepreneur and Young Executive, and what a best way to drive it around Sandton, where most of these people are making their money. They will be inspired to acquire one”.

Loyalties flew out the window neither Muhammad or Yazeed mentioned the Merc .

We drove around Sandton for a while.

 

At the new petrochemical giant Sasol’s new headoffice under construction, I  parked the X5 and it quickly  caught the interest of the construction workers.

“One day is one day, I shall afford this brilliant car,” said MacBeth Sibanda, a construction worker who took various images of the car.

BMW i cars embracing Smart Cities

MacBeth is one of the many workers who are remodelling Gauteng’s economic hub, Sandton, into a smart city with designs that emphasise sustainability and spaces that are consciously environmentally friendly.

What a best way to showcase the new X5 in such an environment experiencing drastic changes.

BMW is also redesigning its cars to adapt to its particular environment, especially reduce emissions in crowded cities.

The use of BMW eDrive technology for exceptionally efficient performance as well as all-electric mobility with zero tailpipe emissions as and when required ushers in a whole new form of commanding driving experience in a sports activity vehicle.

At the same time, the BMW X5 xDrive40e reaps the benefits of the technology and know-how transferred from the debut of the BMW i cars.

The new X5 is an SUV with a plug to charge it whether at home or one of the dedicated charging station.

After close to an hour of appreciating the X5 as it blends with the Sasol’s new building in Sandton, Muhammad suggested we go and charge the car as he has never seen a charging station before.

I drove to the beautiful South of Jo’burg and visited the BMW Auto Glen Motors in Oakdene. It took us 1 hour to charge the car and Muhammad was stunned.

The new X5 can be recharged by connecting to any standard domestic power socket or a BMW i Wallbox, as well as at public charging stations. The eDrive button allows the driver to choose between three eDrive modes: the standard AUTO eDRIVE mode, the purely electric MAX eDRIVE mode

The BMW i Wallbox  including installation service, are available for home charging as part of the BMW 360° ELECTRIC concept, offering customers a particularly fast and convenient means of recharging the high-voltage battery while parked. Model-specific assistance services are also available.

The ChargeNow service provides cash-free access to all BMW charging stations with the ChargeNow card.

Final Verdict

The new X5 is a systemic work of progress.

It boast eDrive, a high-powered interplay of internal combustion engine and electric motor. A glimpse of the future.

It’s an SUV suitable for our new, emerging smart cities across South Africa.

It is available from R1.22 million in South Africa.

The BMW X5 xDrive40e is a perfect car for urban entrepreneurs and young executives, who are conscious about sustainability and keeping our environment clean.

The new X5 fuel economy is excellent.

The petrol and electric motors works flawlessly. The eDrive components also include the electronic systems responsible for power-splitting between the petrol engine and the electric motor and for battery management.

However, it is a pity that the car can only drive 30km on electric, but we can forgive the German carmakers as the X5 was designed as a hybrid. What’s also exciting is that the X5 comes with a power cable in the boot and you can charge the car on the same home power outlet you use for your kettle or charging your phone.

The new X5 is amazingly agile and fun.

It provides efficiency without any compromise in a luxury sport utility.

Earlier during the day, I posted on my Facebook page a lovely image of the BMW X5 xDrive40e and Kagiso Mashego, an entrepreneur who owns Othela Management, excitedly responded:“Mad luv for this car” and Noel Ramaite said: “Super Car“.

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