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In-depth reviews

BMW 530e Touring hybrid review

A tempting blend of performance, practicality, efficiency and style means the current 530e Touring still has lots to offer

BMW 530e Touring
Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Cheap to run
  • Drives brilliantly
  • Looks great inside and out

Cons

  • Soon to be replaced
  • Pricey for private buyers
  • Battery eats into boot space
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid32 miles157mpg42g/km

This generation of BMW 5 Series has been around since 2016, and an all-new incarnation (including a fully electric i5 version) isn’t far off. But such is its prowess in almost every single area, it’s not surprising to find the car still holds appeal for buyers in 2022 – particularly in practical and efficient plug-in hybrid estate guise.

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Granted, the 530e is a little less practical than a purely petrol or diesel-powered 5 Series Touring, offering a 430-litre rather than 560-litre boot for your luggage. But you can still boost that to 1,560 litres by lowering the back seats and BMW has managed to avoid the awkward boot-floor step found in one of the 5 Series’ main rivals – the Mercedes E-Class Estate.

Furthermore, the 12kWh battery that has reduced that boot space means over 30 miles of driving on pure-electric power is possible. That electric range helps the 530e Touring achieve an impressively low 42g/km CO2 emissions figure in official testing, which in turns translates to a very low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rating for company-car drivers, who make up a large proportion of this car’s customer base.

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And while it stacks up financially, the 530e Touring – just like its four-door saloon counterpart – doesn’t compromise the superb driving experience every 5 Series is known for. The steering is a great weight and matches the chassis’s front-end response perfectly, while the car also absorbs bumps well, making it  a comfortable cruiser with well judged balance between ride and handling.

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Combined with an electric motor, the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine develops 288bhp and 420Nm of torque, with a temporary additional 40bhp available from the ‘XtraBoost’ function, for a 6.1-second 0-62mph time. But even the electric motor on its own is capable of propelling the big estate in swift and smooth fashion, particularly at lower speeds around town. And unlike some plug-in hybrids, it can easily hit that claimed 30-plus mile range in everyday driving, thanks in part to very effective regenerative braking.

Refinement isn’t lost when the petrol engine kicks in, either, helped by an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Things do get a little clunky when running low on battery power, however, so like all plug-in hybrids, the 530e suits those who tend to do mostly shorter journeys rather than regular long-distance motorway runs.

In addition to strong refinement, great cabin quality and easy-to-use technology make the 530e Touring’s interior a great place to spend time, however long your journeys are. Although it’s not a cutting-edge design anymore, having debuted in 2016, the benefit of that is that there are still knobs and buttons for the climate control, rather than a touchscreen interface, and the intuitive iDrive click wheel still operates the 12.3-inch infotainment setup.

SE is the entry point to the range, but the majority of customers opt for the sportier styling and stronger resale values of the M Sport versions. Standard kit here includes LED lights, parking sensors, cruise control, 18-inch alloys, M Sport brakes and gloss-black trim, with rear-drive version costing just over £57,000 and the four-wheel-drive xDrive variant around £2,000 more. More importantly for business users, the 530e Touring attracts less than half the annual Benefit-in-Kind tax bill of an equivalent 520d diesel model.

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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