What kind of big executive saloon can hit 62mph in just over six seconds yet get as much as 166 mpg on the official combined cycle? A BMW 530e, that’s what. Figures like these plus low CO2 emissions makes this Plug-in Hybrid 5 Series perfect for the company car user who wants a low tax bill but high ownership satisfaction.
The 530e doesn’t advertise its hybrid powertrain beyond the discreet ‘e’ of 530e and an additional flap on the nearside front wing that hides the charging port. Apart from that it’s pure 5 Series, with the marque’s familiar short front overhang, smooth, balanced shape and Hofmeister kink at the rear C-pillar. The sculpted bonnet leads down towards the BMW kidney grille which flows seamlessly into the two slim LED light units either side. Wheels are 17” V-Spoke for the SE, 18” Multi-spoke for the xDrive SE and 19” M double spoke designs for the M Sport models. Inside, the only difference from the other models is the dark instrument panel with a hybrid-specific display showing charge and range.
This is the third revision to the 530e Plug-in Hybrid, and each time BMW has increased the efficiency of the drivetrain as well as the capability of the electric motor and battery. In its latest guise, the 530e produces peak power of 252hp and 420Nm of torque for a 0-62mph acceleration time of 6.2 seconds. CO2 emissions are 38g/km for the rear drive 530e, and 49g/km for the xDrive all-wheel drive version. Fuel economy figures in the WLTP cycle are quoted at 166.2 - 148.7mpg – real life figures will depend on how much of your journey is electrically powered. Another improvement for the latest model is the EV range – running on electric power alone the 530e can now cover up to 35 miles, a 30 per cent increase on the previous model.
The 530e SE comes with the acclaimed BMW iDrive system which combines both a 10.25” touchscreen and the iDrive controller; many find the latter easier to operate than reaching across to select a touchscreen item. Other standard features include park distance control front and rear, rain sensor with automatic headlamp activation, Bluetooth hands-free phone operation, ambient interior lighting. Another inclusion is BMW’s Connected Package Professional, with an in-car SIM card for services like Real Time Traffic Information, Connected Navigation, Apple CarPlay preparation, Concierge services and BMW music streaming via Spotify, Deezer or Napster.
The BMW 530e features a suite of electronic driver aids, including stability control, as standard. Automatic emergency braking (AEB), with pedestrian detection, is also included. Safety system options include Driving Assistant, a package comprising approach control warning, rear cross-traffic warning, lane change warning, lane departure warning, speed-limit information and no-overtaking indicator.
The BMW 5 Series is the current WhatCar? Luxury Car of the Year 2020 and the Company Car Executive Car of the Year. The Plug-In Hybrid 530e stands out among the range for its significant Benefit in Kind tax advantages and EV-only range of up to 35 miles. The fact that it offers all this without compromising on performance, luxury or practicality makes it a hugely compelling proposition.