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In-depth reviews

BMW 530e hybrid interior, dashboard & comfort

The 530e is the same inside as the standard 5 Series, and that's no bad thing: it's comfortable, high-tech and classy

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, dashboard & comfort rating

4.5 out of 5

Other than the digital dials, which show driving range and battery charge, the 530e has the same dashboard as any other 5 Series. It’s worth mentioning at this point, however, that an all-new BMW 5 Series has been revealed – including an all-electric BMW i5 – which takes the technology benchmark up a level. If this kind of thing matters to you, then you’d best wait for order books to open later in 2023.

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Regardless, even the outgoing 530e (and its more powerful 545e sibling) feel luxurious and well built inside. Comfort is a little compromised, though, as BMW has beefed up the suspension to make sure the extra weight of the batteries is contained, resulting in a slightly lumpier ride. If this is an issue for you, we found that choosing the optional adaptive dampers and adjustable lumbar support can take the sting out somewhat.

BMW 530e hybrid dashboard

The 530e’s dashboard is much the same as you’ll find in the rest of the range, other than its digital driver readout displaying the additional information you need from a plug-in hybrid, including the electric range you’ve got left and the battery charge. Otherwise, everything follows the same well structured, conventional dashboard layout that BMW has honed over many decades.

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One niggle we have is with the infotainment screen fixed to the top of the dash, looking like an afterthought despite being the most critical part of the interior after the driver’s dials. Otherwise, the 5 Series’ interior is made of plush-feeling materials, with a combination of textures that look and feel great. Picking one of the lighter upholstery colours also helps to brighten things up.

Equipment, options & accessories

The 530e is available in two trim levels – SE and M Sport. Even SE gets 18-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors and heated front seats. M Sport brings 19-inch alloys, an M Sport bodykit and glossy, dark grey exterior trim. You don’t get stiffer M Sport suspension with the 530e as you do with other 5 Series M Sport models; the 530e has its own particular suspension setup that applies to both trims.

Infotainment, apps & sat nav

Every 530e comes with BMW’s Professional media system, complete with a 10.25-inch colour touchscreen, sat nav, voice control, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The BMW’s system is operated using a rotary dial or the touchscreen, and it’s one of the most user-friendly setups going.

You also get BMW ConnectedDrive, which includes live traffic information and will let the emergency services automatically if you have a crash, passing on your location. Using BMW's smartphone app, you can check on their car's location and even flash its headlights, lock or unlock its doors or preset the cabin temperature.

Adding the Technology Pack costs a lot, but it adds an excellent head-up display, a wi-fi hot spot, wireless charging for your phone and a fancy (if rather large) key that includes a screen to show whether the car is locked. It also includes BMW’s ‘gesture control’, which lets you adjust volume, skip tracks and issue other basic commands by moving your hand in front of the dashboard. It’s clever technology, but we think it’s a bit of a gimmick and doesn't actually make life on the road easier.

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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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