BMW 530E iPERFORMANCE.
BMW’s march towards electrification has already given us the mould-breaking i3, available in both battery-only or range-extender versions, and the supercar with a clean conscience, the i8. Now, its latest variation on a battery powered theme is the 530e iPerformance, a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) that offers a modest EV range as well as the reassurance of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine to augment the battery when you’re out on the open road.
In most respects the 530e follows the specification of its 5 Series stablemates, with advanced technology like BMW Gesture Control, a 10.25” touchscreen display, voice control and the BMW Connected Drive support service. Ambient lighting, cruise control with braking function, BMW Professional Multimedia and Park Distance Control are all standard on SE models upwards.
In electric-only mode, the 530e can travel for around 28 miles, so if your daily commute is half that (or if you have charging facilities at the office) you won’t need to use a drop of petrol all week long. Beyond that point the 182bhp, 2.0-litre petrol engine cuts in, delivering a combined 248bhp and 420Nm of torque. 0-62mph takes just 6.2 seconds and top speed is 146mph (87mph is possible on electric power alone). Auto eDrive mode seamlessly switches between electric and petrol power, while Max eDrive prioritises battery propulsion. Official fuel consumption figures are based on a set route of about 7 miles, therefore the 141.2 combined mpg figure needs to be treated with caution. If you only ever travel short distances in EV mode you’ll beat that, if you drive longer distances regularly then the diesel 530d could deliver better fuel economy.
From the outside, there’s little to give the game away that this 5 Series has hybrid power. Only the badging and the extra filler flap (hiding the charging port) reveal that this BMW has not one, but two forms of propulsion. Inside there are bespoke digital dials on the dashboard and an eDrive button by the gear lever, plus e-Drive sill finishers. Otherwise, it’s a typical 5 Series: classy, logical and impeccably comfortable. The only other difference is the boot size, due to the need to accommodate a 9.2kW/h battery beneath the boot floor. This is 410 litres, compared with 530 litres for the conventional 5 Series models.
A torsionally-stiff but light body construction gives the 5 Series excellent occupant protection in the event of an accident, while systems like Dynamic Stability Control help to ensure you don’t have one. Pedestrian warning with city braking function comes as standard, while features like Lane Departure Warning and Adaptive Headlights are options.
The biggest rival to the 530e probably comes from within the 5 Series stable, so it’s a question of deciding if a PHEV is the right choice for your needs. If you live in an urban area and your commute is less than 28 miles, the 530e will enable you to use it as a pure electric vehicle for work and a ‘normal’ 5 Series on longer journeys. Company car tax payers too will benefit from an official CO2 emissions figure of 46g/km.
M Sport model.