BMW 530e hybrid performance, top speed & engine
You get bona-fide sports-saloon pace and grace with the 5 Series hybrid, but the ride is slightly firm
|Model||0-62mph||Top speed||Driven wheels||Power|
The 530e certainly warrants its badge, and lives up to the 5 Series’ reputation as the driving enthusiast’s option in the large executive-car class. Whether you go for the rear-wheel-drive model or the four-wheel-drive 'xDrive' variant, you get hot-hatchback pace and sports-saloon handling as standard.
BMW 530e 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 acceleration when you’re in electric drive mode. 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 6.1 seconds (6.2 for the xDrive), which is on par with the 530i petrol model.
It’s certainly brisk by any measure, and you really notice the boost from the electric motor as it kicks in to help fire the 530e up the road with both petrol and electric power working in unison. The similarly appealing Mercedes E 300 e is usefully faster, but the BMW is still the better car to drive and live with.
The 5 Series has long been considered the go-to executive car for anyone after something fun as well as cosseting, and the 530e lives up to that reputation. Weight is the only thing stopping it from offering quite the same finesse as the rest of the range, as those batteries 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 it back-to-back with another 5 Series to tell the difference; it’s safe to say that the 530e is one of the most entertaining hybrids you can buy.
You won't be disappointed with the handling of the four-wheel-drive 530e xDrive variant, either. It's a touch more inclined to understeer if you drive it with some vigour, but it's still a fantastically relaxed cruiser that can also deliver more entertainment on the right road than you'd ever expect of a heavy executive saloon car. In short, the BMW 530e is the best large executive plug-in hybrid car to drive, whichever model you go for.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid is a lot like every other version of the 5 Series, in that it's great to drive, comfortable and luxurious
- 2Range, MPG, CO2 & chargingWith a pure-electric range of over 30 miles and CO2 emissions as low as 31g/km, the 530e will be very cheap to run – provided you charge it regularly
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe BMW 530e's running costs versus a diesel equivalent are extremely low for company-car users, but the difference isn't as great for private buyers
- 4Performance, engine & drive - currently readingYou get bona-fide sports-saloon pace and grace with the 5 Series hybrid, but the ride is slightly firm
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortThe 530e is the same inside as the standard 5 Series, and that's no bad thing: it's comfortable, high-tech and classy
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe 530e loses some boot space in order to accommodate its batteries, but it's still adequately practical by executive-saloon standards
- 7Reliability & safety ratingSafety and reliability are both BMW 5 Series strong points, and the 530e plug-in hybrid is no different