BMW 520e 2021: 5 Series gets new entry-level plug-in hybrid drivetrain

New BMW 520e announced, set to sit below 530e and 545e in the range, but only in Europe

BMW 520e

BMW has announced a new plug-in hybrid option for the 5 Series executive saloon and Touring estate. Revealed alongside a similarly powered 3 Series, the new 520e will be the entry point to plug-in hybrid 5 Series ownership in European markets.. Order books open in March 2021, but the new car will not be coming to the UK.

Power comes from a 2.0-litre petrol engine plus an electric motor and battery. Its total output of 201bhp is down significantly from the 292bhp of the 530e and 387bhp of the 545e. It's also identical to that of the new, smaller 320e. 

Performance is adequate, with 0-62mph taking 7.9 seconds, or 8.2 seconds for the Touring estate. Both are rear-wheel drive; those looking for a four-wheel-drive version will have to step up to the 530e.

BMW 520e

The car's 12kWh battery offers an electric range of 33-38 miles in the saloon and 32-35 miles in the Touring. CO2 emissions are reassuringly low – an important factor for company-car users – with the saloon emitting 39-43g/km and the Touring estate outputting 42-46g/km.

Just like the new 320e, the 520e can be charged at a maximum of 3.7kW, with BMW claiming a full charge in around three-and-a-half hours from a home wallbox, with an 80% charge completed in just over two-and-a-half hours. 

A new feature added to both the 520e and 320e is BMW Live Cockpit Plus with Connected Package Professional – a system that includes a 'BMW Points' system, whereby every kilometre covered under electric power equals one point, or two points if you drive within predetermined inner-city 'BMW eDrive Zones'. These points can then be used against the cost of public charging. 

The new 530e joins the wider BMW plug-in hybrid range in Europe. Other models include the 225xe family car, X1 and X2 compact SUVs, larger X3 and X5 SUVs, as well as the 530e and 545e. The 745e luxury saloon sits at the top of the range.

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