BMW 530i 2017 review
While BMW's 7 Series acts as a techno-flagship for the brand, it's the Five Series where new technologies reach the mass market.
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Tell Trump how you feel, buy a BMW 530e. Yup, despite a bloke with bad hair pulling his country out of the Paris Accord, most automakers are sticking to their commitment to reduce greenhouse gases, including BMW whose new petrol-electric hybrid 530e has been created to help meet its 2020 emission target.
So does an electric motor make the 530e feel less luxurious than a 5 Series should? Do you have to pay more just for doing the right thing by the planet? We found out when we drove the 530e at its Australian launch.
|BMW 5 Series 2017: 520d Luxury Line|
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
The only way you can pick a 530e from a 530i is by the subtle blue accents on the grille and wheel centre caps BMW gives to its hybrid models. There's also the charging port flap near the front passenger's door and eDrive badges on the C-Pillar.
Apart from that the 530e looks like a 530i in every way – a large, imposing executive saloon – and with identical dimensions of 4936mm end-to-end, 1868mm wide and 1479mm tall. By comparison the Benz E300e is 4923mm long.
The 530e's cockpit is also identical to the 530i's, that is apart from the eDrive badged door sills, the digital instrument cluster and the drive mode buttons near the shifter. The 530e's cabin is a sumptuous, stylish place with its leather upholstery, wood trim and cool tech such as the enormous display screen and head-up display.
The 530e's 410 litre boot is 120 litres smaller than the 530i's. The size reduction is because the batteries have been positioned under the rear seats and that has seen the fuel tank moved backwards eating into the cargo area.
Listing for $108,900 the 530e is exactly the same price as the 530i – that's a fairly big deal.
The wheelbase is unchanged at 2974mm which outdoes the E-Class's 2939mm. Legroom in the back seat is excellent – as it should be – and at 191cm tall I can sit behind my own driving position with plenty of space to spare.
Storage throughout the cabin is good with a deep, wide centre console bin and two cupholders up front, while there are another two cupholders in the fold-down centre armrest in the back.
Listing for $108,900 the 530e is exactly the same price as the 530i – that's a fairly big deal as hybrids can be more complicated and costly to build which often means the buyer pays a premium.
The 530e's standard features list also mirrors the 530i's and includes a 12.3-inch screen, Harman Kardon 16-speaker stereo, adaptive LED headlights, heated and power adjustable front seats, head-up display, auto parking and the 'Driving Assistance Plus' package which comes with active cruise control and advanced safety equipment.
Something the 530e has over its 530i sister is the stationary cooling function that allows you to lower the cabin temperature remotely before slipping behind the wheel – great for hot days.
The 530e has a 135kW/320Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine under the bonnet, backed up by an eight-speed automatic transmission, and in between them is an 83kW/250Nm electric motor. The combined output is 185kW/420Nm – more grunt than the 530i's 185kW/350Nm petrol engine.
No straight line performance is lost with BMW claiming a 0-100km/h time of 6.2sec – the same as the 530i.
The 530e's claimed, combined cycle fuel efficiency number is 2.3L/100km. That's outstanding given an 800cc BMW motorcycle gets about 4.5L/100km. The 530i is impressively fuel efficient, too, with a claimed combined 5.1L/100km.
On my short drive of the 530e the trip computer was reporting an average of 2.0L/100km of fuel being used – and this was on hilly roads, too, which required a bit of hard acceleration at times.
Charging the batteries fully using a wall unit takes two hours, while the cable which comes with the car will fit a regular household powerpoint and charge it in four hours. Under real-world conditions you'll get about 30km of pure electric driving from a fully charged battery.
The 530e's launch saw us leave a shopping centre in the Sydney suburb of Bondi Junction, where BMW charge points have been installed, and travel to Centennial Park on a route which covered 40km.
That's not a lot of time to get to know a car, but I've driven the xDrive40e and 330e extensively and knew what to expect – silence. Silence when under electric power only, sliding through heavy traffic, and silence when coasting to a stop or slowly moving away again. The smooth tranquil nature of electric power suits the 5 Series limousine personality well.
There are three hybrid driving modes: 'Auto eDrive', 'Max eDrive' and 'Battery Control'. The first is the mode I drove in the entire time, using the engine and motor (alternately, and in parallel), while the second is electric power alone, and the third is for the petrol engine-only.
That acceleration, while not lightning quick, is impressive. The ride is comfortable and composed, as it should be in a 5 Series, and the steering is light and accurate. The jury is out on the handling until we can road test the car on more challenging pieces of tarmac at higher speeds.
3 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The 530e scored the maximum five-star ANCAP rating, but so do most cars now. The difference is in the advanced safety equipment and the 530e's standard 'Driver Assistant Plus' package which brings AEB which works at highway and city speed, auto parking, steering assistance with auto lane changing, plus blind spot warning, and rear and front cross traffic alert.
There are three ISOFIX mounts in the back and three top tether anchor points as well.
The 530e is covered by BMW's three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty. BMW has what's called condition-based servicing and the car itself will tell you when it needs a check-up.
Moving silently and serenely though traffic under electric power suits the limousine nature of the 5 Series perfectly. That the 530e lists for the same price as the 530i provides a real low emission alternative that you don't have to pay extra for – this is great and normalises low emission cars. Ideally an all-electric 5 Series would be better than the hybrid but the 530e is a stepping stone towards that future.
|530d Gran Turismo Luxury Line||3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO||$51,100 – 64,570||2017 BMW 5 Series 2017 530d Gran Turismo Luxury Line Pricing and Specs|
|528i Ind Collection||2.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$67,400 – 85,250||2017 BMW 5 Series 2017 528i Ind Collection Pricing and Specs|
|530E Iperf (hybrid) Luxury Line||2.0L, Hyb/PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$64,600 – 81,620||2017 BMW 5 Series 2017 530E Iperf (hybrid) Luxury Line Pricing and Specs|
|530E Iperf (hybrid) M Sport||2.0L, Hyb/PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$56,800 – 71,830||2017 BMW 5 Series 2017 530E Iperf (hybrid) M Sport Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||8|
|Engine & trans||7|