BMW 530e iPerformance
BMW 530e Hybrid
Base MSRP: From $54,395
Destination Charge: $995
Tax Credit: up to $4,668
EPA Range: 16 electric miles, 370 total
Charging Acceptance Rate: 3.6 kW
Dimensions: 195″ L x 74″ W x 58″ H
Reviews of the BMW 530e iPerformance
Performance: 9.2-kWh lithium-ion battery, 2.0-liter, inline four, combined 248 horsepower
Mileage estimate: 72 mpge as EV; 27-29 mpg overall
Price estimate: $52,800 to $68,800
Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
Drivetrain warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
Roadside assistance: 4 years/unlimited
Corrosion warranty: 12 years/unlimited
Hand Gesture Controls are a Thing of the Present
There’s a lot more depth to the popular BMW 5 Series than ever before. Perhaps the most popular addition is the BMW 530e, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
One of the primary things to know about the 530e is that BMW offers it at the same price as the base model, the gasoline-powered 530i. Both start at approximately $52,800. But the sticker price for the 530e is actually much lower when the federal tax credit of $7,500 is deducted.
Sure, the overall range of 16-18 miles in electric mode is certainly not overwhelming and the overall fuel efficiency for the 530e is not significantly higher than the 530i. But it should leave many prospective BMW 5 Series buyers contemplating: is there a reason not to go with the 530e? Apparently, many people think the BMW 530e is a worthy car purchase. Sales of the 530e reached 6,289 through October 2018, moving it ahead of the Ford Fusion Energi and into ninth place for EV sales for the year 2018 in the U.S.
The BMW 5 Series features midsize luxury sedans that seats five people. It has been around for more than four decades and its calling card has always been terrific performance and handling. Starting in 2018, it can also be known as one the most innovative offerings in the vast BMW lineup.
For 2018, BMW has added three more options to the 5 Series, which was previously the 530i and upgraded 540i. The lineup now includes the 530e PHEV, the 540d xDrive, a six-cylinder diesel that gets 36 mpg, and the performance-laden M550i xDrive, a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter, V-8 engine.
The BMW 530e has a 9.2-kilowatt lithium-ion battery that’s located under the trunk floor and powers a 111-horsepower electric motor/generator. The battery is 520 pounds heavier than the standard 530i. According to BMW, charging takes three hours when utilizing a 240-volt outlet (Level 2 EVSE) and around seven hours on a standard 120-volt wall socket. Overall range is approximately 375 miles before the gas gauge hits empty and the battery needs a recharge.
An inline-four engine produces 180 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, while the electric motor adds 111 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The result is a combined 248 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque (the motors reach peak power at different rpms, resulting in the combined numbers not adding up). The 530e goes 0-60 mph in 6.0 seconds and reportedly can top out at 146 mph.
Fuel efficiency for the 530e is much lower than other PHEV vehicles – 72 mpge in electric mode and 27-29 mpg overall. Most people probably won’t notice the switch from EV mode to the gasoline engine if they aren’t paying attention to the digital gauges.
The non-hybrid 530i delivers sharper steering, better handling and a smoother ride than the 530e. But the PHEV version still provides good handling and has an athletic feel for the road. A knock on the 530e is the regenerative braking is modest, which is unlike many green cars that slow the vehicle down significantly when the foot comes off the accelerator.
Drivers enjoy the diversity that comes with the 530e. It has three driving modes – Sport, Comfort, Eco – and three electric power settings: Battery Control, Max eDrive, Auto eDrive. The Max eDrive uses only electric power until the battery level drops low, and reaches a top speed of 87 mph on e-power only.
A cool interior gimmick is a new control scheme that utilizes mere hand gestures to use the iDrive, as opposed to touching it. For instance, a simple finger twirl can lower or raise the audio volume. Controlled by the iDrive, the menus are not complicated, yet there are so many of them that it takes repetition to really master their usage. The interior features a 10.2-inch touchscreen.
Front seat room and comfort are terrific in all BMW 5 series cars and the 530e is no exception. The back seat is roomy and even taller people will experience no problem with leg or head room. Although the battery is in the trunk, limiting the cargo space from 19 cubic feet in the 530i to 15 in the 530e, there’s still solid storage. The back seat also folds down to accommodate larger items.
There’s a lot to like about the BMW 530e, so we see the logic in picking it over the base model 530i. The 530e is cheaper (with the rebate), EV mode can be used exclusively for a short commute to work each day, it delivers very good performance, and has the handling and comfort one expects with BMW. For those reasons, expect sales of the 530e to continue to climb.