Powering the BMW 530e is a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine, plus an electric motor. The combined power output of the two motors is 248 hp which is enough to propel this fairly large and heavy vehicle from 0 to 100 km/h in about 6.0 seconds
By Nauman Farouq
There are many who believe that electric cars are our future, and the industry is certainly turning that way.
However, our infrastructure is not ideal for electric cars, and not only charge times are still quite high, but also ports, where you have to pay to charge your vehicle, are often very expensive – such as at Sherway Gardens mall, where they charge $20/hour to plug in your vehicle.
With that in mind, it makes more sense to look into plug-in hybrid vehicles. Used correctly, you can charge at home, then try to use electric range in city driving, use gasoline power for highway use, and for when you deplete your battery.
There are a few such vehicles currently on sale, however, today we’ll discuss the 2019 BMW 530 in detail.
Styling: If you want to drive a plug-in hybrid without anyone knowing, then this might be the car for you. It looks just like any other 5 series BMW, which means, it is a nice looking sedan, but not one that will turn heads and ‘wow’ onlookers! Personally, I find its styling boring, but for some, that’s a good thing.
Interior: Step inside, and again the interior is very much like any other 5 series. It might not be a stylish place to spend time in, but everything you need is there (if not, it’ll very probably be in the options list), and all is well put together.
There is plenty of space for four adults (five in a pinch), and while the trunk of this plug-in hybrid version is not as commodious as that of the regular models, it is still plenty big enough for most people’s needs.
Any 5 series offers a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere, and the 530e version is no exception.
Powertrain & Performance: Powering the 530e is a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine, plus an electric motor. The combined power output of the two motors is 248 hp, which is enough to propel this fairly large and heavy vehicle from 0 to 100 km/h in about 6.0 seconds – top speed is electronically limited to 210 km/h.
The electric motor on its own is capable of producing 95 hp, and when its 9.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is fully charged, you can cover about 26 km in pure EV mode. That might not be enough for most, but for those who have a small, dedicated run, it might just work out. Personally, I think plug-in hybrids need to give about a 100 km range of pure electric driving, to be appealing to me.
Driving Dynamics: For a vehicle that has a hefty curb weight of 2074 kg, it feels surprisingly effortless and agile. BMW is very good at making cars that are just wonderful to drive, and this is no exception.
The ride and handling are wonderful, especially on the highway; but even in the city, the 530e dealt with potholes, cracks, and speed bumps with ease.
If you spend a lot of time on the road, the 530e -or any other 5 series, for that matter- is an excellent companion.
It surely isn’t the most exciting car you can buy for the money, but not everyone is looking for a four-wheeled missile – if you want one of those, BMW does offer the M5.
Fuel Economy: Ahh… the reason most people would buy a plug-in hybrid, is to save money at the pumps!
Well, if you drive very short distances every day, and charge the car every night, you’ll be fine. I ran my test cycle (170 km of highway driving + 130 km of city driving) with just one full charge, and I averaged 8.8 L/100 KM, Honestly, that is not very good, and the problem is weight, because when you are not running on electric power, the gasoline engine has to carry the heft of the electric motor and the battery pack, and that doesn’t help.
Pricing: It is priced well, though. The 530e is yours from $67,500. That is just $4,500 more than the 530i (standard gasoline model) is. Depending on your driving and charging habits, you might just be able to recoup the cost of the premium you paid for driving the plug-in hybrid version.
Verdict: BMW has been offering plug-in hybrid models for a few years now, and while they are all nice to drive, none of them offered an electric-only range that was impressive. Hopefully, that will change by the time we see the next generation of plug-in hybrids from BMW.