top of page

Michigan Road Trip with the 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e

During the Christmas break I had the pleasure of driving the 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e, an LCI or facelift model for the G05 generation X5. This extended period gave me plenty of time to fully appreciate this mid-size sport activity vehicle, and the improvements brought to the plug-in hybrid system for 2024. As-tested, this 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e comes in at $107,000.00 CAD before delivery/PDI, dealer fees, or taxes, and is a good representation of what a typical high-end X5 buyer would be looking at. Equipped with the Premium Enhance Package ($8,500), M Sport Package ($2,500), Advanced Driving Package ($2,500), and Ametrine Metallic paint ($1,000) among a few other extras like the blue M Sport brakes, tow package, and illuminated kidney grille.

The big mechanical upgrade for 2024 is the improved PHEV range and added power from the inline 6 engine and electrical motors. Range is up approximately 25% with an estimated 64 kms of EV driving. We achieved nearly that on our 100 km test loop, and wrapped up that testing at a phenomenal 3.3L/100km. Our two weeks averaged around 7.0L/100km, without much charging available during our time in Michigan. Power output for this engine combo now comes in at 483 horsepower, up 94 hp from last year, and 516 lb-ft, up 73 lb-ft from last year. These are V8 power numbers without V8 fuel consumption.

Both the interior and exterior get updates for this model year, with slimmer LED headlights, unique arrow-shaped DRLs, and a revised front fascia that brings elements from the new BMW 7 Series we drove earlier this year. The tail lights get a big update also with a stylized welcome sequence, pulsating turn signals, and darkened tint. Overall the exterior has changed, but average consumers may not notice at first glance. It's not until you park next to a 2023 or older where the design changes become noticeable.

Inside we find another 7 Series styling cue, with iDrive 8.5's curved LCD display and driver-focused design. The old gear selector has been replaced with a modern electronic shifter which helps to clean up the centre console and makes it easier to access the heated and ventilated cup holders. Ambient lighting is simple and tied with the drive modes, with a prominent X5 illuminated in front of the passenger. Our test model came with the Sensafin synthetic leather finished in Silverstone. Seating was extremely comfortable with ample support for all passengers. It's rare that we'd prefer a non animal-skin seating surface but this X5 is the first. We'd take Sensafin over the real deal any day.

Our first week in Ontario with the 2024 BMW X5 was great, we were able to keep the vehicle in full EV mode nearly 100% of the time, with a trip to and from London completely electric with charge to spare. Climate scheduling worked great, and allowed us to pre-heat the cabin based on our usual departure times, along with the vehicle's remote start feature through the key fob and BMW Connected app. The X5 xDrive50e also provides three distinct drive modes, Electric, Hybrid, and Sport. Electric does just that, keeps the vehicle in EV mode until the battery has depleted or the driver hits wide open throttle. Hybrid was the usual drive mode for us in Michigan, pairing what EV charge we had with the inline 6 gas engine to give us a balanced driving experience. Sport mode keeps the engine running and disables the auto stop/start, and uses every ounce of power when needed.

To say the 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e is near perfection isn't far from the truth. It receives top scores from us as far as a plug-in hybrid SUV goes, and the LCI brings some improved feel to this already popular luxury vehicle. Even the Assist Plus system, which is a hands-free semi-autonomous driving system worked great. We used it as often as we could, allowing the vehicle to take over steering and lane centring functionality on highways, along with lane changes as the flick of the signal. The system worked throughout our trip in Michigan, with weather and construction related downtime expected.

Which brings us to our trip to Michigan. We previously went on a road trip to Detroit in August, taking the 2023 Jeep Compass Altitude with us for the voyage. This time we wanted to see how Michigan's electric vehicle charing infrastructure compared with Ontario, that is to say we were curious if it was just as bad as it is here, or if the Motor City and State are pro-EV. Our first fail was selecting a hotel we assumed had chargers, only to find the local dealership-sponsored Ultium stations hadn't been activated yet. We were able to use the level 1 EVSE several nights giving us approximately 50% charge after about 12-14 hours overnight. Apps like Plug Share helped us research different places to visit that might offer some sort of charging options, however much like Ontario we found Michigan just didn't have enough stations to make it fully worthwhile.

One of the sights we missed our first time was the Gilmore Car Museum near Richland, MI. This expansive estate is home to hundreds of vintage cars, some owned by the museum and others donated for display by owners. The exhibits are mostly American-focused, with the Big Three taking centre stage. A handful of European vehicles were on display including some newer supercars at the start of the museum. Visiting in the early winter gave us a great opportunity to go through the museum without much foot traffic from other visitors, however the outdoor space wasn't open. We'd definitely recommend checking out the Gilmore Heritage Center, but suggest going in spring or fall to get the most out of it. We've included a selection of photos from our visit in the gallery above.

No visit to Michigan would be complete without a trip to Detroit, the Motor City. We love coming here as traffic is light no matter when you go. We visited the downtown core on a Thursday morning and found it peacefully empty without any real traffic to contend with. We found a parking structure that offered a 3.6 kW charger and free 2 hour parking by visiting one of the local restaurants.

Traffic may change now that more US employers are issuing return to office orders, but it still baffles me that we're able to drive into a major US city on a work day without dealing with a second of traffic. Not many EV chargers seemed to be located in the downtown core of Detroit, with a few being available at different parking structures. Our PHEV was great as we could charge when we could without needing to, however a full EV on a road trip to the state would be difficult without extensive planning.

Michigan wasn't the only US state our BMW X5 visited during the week, as we took a quick trip south to Toledo Ohio to visit the Toledo Museum of Art. The experience at the museum was great, both from a cultural perspective but also from a PHEV one, as the museum offered 3 level 2 charging stations free for visitors. We arrived shortly after the museum opened and had our choice of any station, however two hours later as we left the other stations were occupied by other electrified vehicles.

After two weeks and many kilometres of driving, we can thoroughly recommend the new 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e for those looking at a luxury SUV with a plug-in option. We'd strongly suggest going for the Bowers & Wilkins Surround audio system, something not selected on our test vehicle. Integral Active Steering, or real axle steer, is another option we'd personally select if this were our vehicle. While the X5 was nimble enough in a parking lot, having that added few degrees of turning radius can help immensely.

To check out our full tour and review of the 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e we suggest heading over to our YouTube Channel where you can watch our episode of TestDrive Spotlight on this SUV, along with all the other videos we've published.


bottom of page