BMW has been introducing electrified versions of its vehicles for a little while now, while also making all-electric offerings in the form of the i3 and i8.
The ever-popular 5 Series is one of the latest BMWs to get the treatment and with it comes a combination of a 2.0-litre turbo petrol and an electric motor – which the German brand claims can offer both sporty and economical driving.
With the iPerformance treatment, what is widely seen as the best executive saloon can now travel on pure electric power – meaning you can cruise around without producing any harmful emissions for up to 31 miles.
We get behind the wheel of this plug-in 5 Series to see what it’s like…
Under the bonnet is the aforementioned combo of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol and an electric motor, which together develop 249bhp and 420Nm of torque. With that powertrain, the 530e can get from 0-60mph in six seconds flat and get up to 146mph.
There can be a delay when switching between petrol and electric power – especially at higher speeds – but that is less noticeable at urban speeds. The four-cylinder can also feel a bit strained under hard acceleration, but when it settles down it feels as smooth as conventionally-powered 5 Series models. With the electric motor, drivers can go 31 miles of zero-emission driving, which can be great for getting around town and shorter trips.
Ride & Handling
Despite the large dimensions of the 530e, it is very easy to handle. That’s down to light controls and steering inputs, helping you place the car on the road without issue – with body lean also kept in check, even if the car is a bit heavier than the standard 5 Series.
When you settle down to cruise on the open road, the 530e is as well behaved as any other car around. The well-balanced and refined ride make it feel perfect for long distance cruising, while the powertrain also settles down when at a constant speed and doesn’t feel stressed.
Interior & Equipment
With the additional electricals on board, boot space is reduced from 530 litres in the standard 5er to 410 litres in the 530e – meaning there is a practicality penalty for being more environmentally conscious. But the limitation on storage space isn’t replicated in the cabin, as even taller passengers will find more than enough room to get comfortable in the front and back.
Standard equipment from the base SE spec includes 17-inch alloy wheels, two-zone automatic climate control, iDrive infotainment system with Bluetooth and satellite navigation, leather upholstery, cruise control with braking function, LED headlights, parking distance control with front and rear sensors, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and sports leather steering wheel.
With the iPerformance offering, BMW adds eDrive-specific driving modes, aluminium trim, a five-metre charging cable, hybrid-specific instrument cluster and fast charging capabilities.
BMW has also given the 530e a wireless charging system, which has only recently been released. When you park the front-end of the car over a special charging pad and switch the engine off, the car will automatically connect to the pad and start charging the battery. That will only take three and a half hours and mean zero-emission driving might not be as much of a hassle as you might expect.
Starting from £45,915, the iPerformance does come with a premium due to the hybrid system on board, but lower running costs means that can help off-set the higher purchase price.
BMW claims that the introduction of the hybrid powertrain can seriously improve fuel efficiency and levels of emitants, with the German brand claiming fuel usage of 141.2mpg and emissions of 46g/km CO2.
To many, the 5 Series is the best executive saloon around and the iPerformance only adds to the model’s breadth and options. Maintaining the handsome looks and high-levels of tech means that the 530e is as accommodating as its conventionally-powered siblings, while the driving dynamics here are as good as the diesel and petrol offerings. Boot space is encroached upon, but passenger is as good as ever. BMW has future-proofed this generation of the 5 Series here, and makes the 530e one of the credible saloon options around.