BMW 530e iPerformance engines, drive & performance

You get bona-fide sports saloon pace and grace, but the ride is slightly firm

0-62mph Top speed Driven wheels Power
6.2 secs 146mph Rear-wheel-drive 252bhp

The 530e iPerformance certainly warrants its badge, and lives up to the 5 Series’ reputation as the enthusiast’s option in the executive class. It’s got hot-hatch pace and a rear-wheel-drive sports-saloon level of fun.

BMW 530e iPerformance hybrid engine, 0-62mph and acceleration

The 530e’s electric motor is integrated into the eight-speed automatic gearbox, although you still have an uninterrupted stream of electric acceleration when you’re in electric drive mode – there are no gears at work unless the petrol engine is powering the car. Even then, this automatic is one of the smoothest around, so you needn’t give it much thought at all.

Performance is hard to criticise. With 94bhp from the electric motor and 182bhp from the petrol engine, the 530e will streak to 62mph from rest in 6.2 seconds, which is on par with the 530i. It’s certainly brisk, by any measure, and you really notice the boost from the electric engine as it kicks in to help fire the 530e up the road with both petrol and electric power working in unison.

Handling

The BMW 5 Series has long been considered the go-to executive car for anyone after something that’s fun as well as cosseting, and the 530e iPerformance lives up to that reputation. Weight is the only thing stopping it from offering quite the same finesse as the rest of the 5 Series range, as those batteries do add quite a few kilos and make it feel a fraction less poised during fast direction changes. Even so, you’d probably need to drive the plug-in hybrid back-to-back with another 5 Series to tell the difference, so it’s safe to say that the 530e is one of the most entertaining plug-in hybrids you can buy, despite its electrification.