It’s not just Range Rover that’s taking the opportunity to upgrade its Velar, but BMW and Mercedes have also given their mid-sized premium SUVs – the BMW X5/X6 and the Mercedes GLE – a facelift. As with the Velar, the focus is on technology and extended electric power.
BMW X5 and X6
The latest generation BMW X5 hit the market in 2018 and the coupe variant BMW X6 got its update shortly afterwards, so it’s time for an update.
Now the BMW X5 gets a new design and technology, and for the new plug-in hybrid it also means more power and longer range. Externally, there are no major differences: BMW has made the front end and headlights a bit more futuristic, similar to the company’s electric SUVs. Whether it’s more beautiful or not is a matter of opinion, but it’s a matter of time.
Inside, the major change is the implementation of the BMW Curved Display and the new infotainment system, BMW iDrive 8. The same curved display, known from, for example, the BMW iX and the new BMW X7, forms the basis of the interior. The new BMW X5 models also share the new light strip interior with its big brother, the BMW X7. In addition, the classic gear lever has been similarly replaced by a smaller switch.
Beyond the design, driver assistance systems and digital functions have been updated to the same standard as other new BMW models. In addition, air suspension will now be included as standard.
The BMW xDrive45e plug-in hybrid has been the most popular X5 model in recent years. The new hybrid is called xDrive50e, and has had its engine output increased by 96 hp, so that full power (including a temporary boost) is now 490 hp. The car accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds. The capacity of the high-voltage battery has been increased to 24.7 kWh, an increase of almost 25%. This means that the electric range is now up to 110 kilometers. As usual, there are also several mild hybrids to choose from, where a 48V battery collects power when braking, which can then be used to give the engine some extra drive.
The BMW X6 receives a similar update to the BMW X5 but with the major difference that the BMW X6 now comes with the M-Sport package as standard equipment.
The Mercedes GLE has also received a minor update. Both exterior and interior are very similar – why change a winning concept? Mercedes had already upgraded the display and chose to keep the same design. Among the changes are a new steering wheel with touch controls and an updated infotainment system with a “transparent bonnet” where cameras show what is in front of the front, should you dare to take your SUV off-road.
The hybrid version is called GLE 350 de 4MATIC and has a range of up to 109 km on electricity. Other gasoline and diesel variants are mild hybrids with a battery that is charged when the car brakes. Compared to the BMW X5/X6, the hybrid has lower engine power, with 0-100 running in a reasonable 6.9 seconds. If you want something sportier, there is the AMG version GLE 53 where the top version does 0-100 in 3.9 seconds.