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Sixth iPerformance model joins BMW ranks with 530e

BMW's new 530e will join the iPerformance line-up alongside the 330e, X5 40e, 740e, 225xe and X1 25Le.

BMW has added another plug-in hybrid model to its proliferating electrified model range with a 530e rolling out at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) next month, ahead of its arrival Down Under in the middle of 2017.

Local pricing has not yet been confirmed but BMW Group Australia product communications manager Adam Davis said a figure would follow the full option pricing announcement of its 5 Series siblings.

"We're still finalising option pricing for the initial (5 Series) range, so 530e will be next," he said.

If it is given a similar price difference as the smaller 330e and 330i, the 530e is not expected to carry a significant premium over the 530i, with which it is related. Customers are asked just $2000 extra for the $71,990, before on-roads, 330e compared with the 330i.

The next-generation 5 Series range will kick off with four variants starting with the $93,900 520d, the 530i carries a $108,900 ticket, while the range is rounded out with 530d for $119,900 and the 340i priced at $136,900.

Exact timing is also yet to be confirmed, "still nothing specific for here," said Mr Davis, but typical production lead times would see the 530e touching down in Australia from the middle of 2017.

Its powertrain is shared with the 330e, the same combination of 70kW/250Nm electric motor and 135kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine for a team effort of 185kW and 420Nm, which gets to the tarmac via an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive.

With peak electric motor torque available instantly, the 530e does the zero to 100km/h dash in 6.2 seconds, has a top-speed of 235km/h and uses just 1.9 litres of fuel per 100km. CO2 production is rated at 44g per km.

The system "ensures that the engine and electric motor interact to optimum effect in all driving situations".

With petrol engine and electric motor working in tandem, the 530e has up to 650km of 'real world' driving range and can cover about 50km on pure electric mode. Charging its 9.2kWh battery from a standard power socket takes just shy of five hours.

By locating the lithium ion pack under the rear seat, the 5 Series has retained its 410-litre boot whilst optimising weight distribution and driving dynamics.

Subtle styling tweaks differentiate the 530e from its combustion counterparts with blue highlights to the signature kidney grille fins and wheels centres, while the charge port cover in the front wing and badging complete the exterior changes.

On the inside, the 530e has illuminated sills and redesigned instruments as well as an eDrive select button for switching between Auto eDrive, Max eDrive and Battery Control modes.

In Auto eDrive the system "ensures that the engine and electric motor interact to optimum effect in all driving situations" says BMW, and limits maximum speed to 90km/h.

When flicked to Max eDrive the 530e is powered purely by the electric motor with the top speed extended to 140km/h, but the petrol engine will lend a hand if the accelerator is fully depressed.

Battery Control mode allows the driver to set a reserve charge level of between 30 per cent and 100 per cent so that there is always enough battery level remaining to cover a particular section of the journey such as urban or heavy traffic, for example, with zero emissions.

A 10.3-inch high-resolution monitor is shared with the rest of the 5 Series family, allowing access to navigation, entertainment, information and vehicle settings with iDrive, steering wheel or gesture controls.

Standard safety fare includes evasion aid, cross-traffic alert, lane-change assistance and warning, active cruise control, a head-up display and 360-degree cameras. Images from the array of cameras can relay images to the owner's smartphone.

Occupants will also be able to check emails, calendar entries and contact information while on the go with Microsoft Office 365 compatibility.

Which model do you think BMW will plug in next? Tell us what you think in the comments below.