BMW 530e iPerformance: Nearly Guilt Free Pleasure

    Posted by Shane Kalicharan about 8 months ago

    From Carbon Taxes to green plates and global warming, it’s hard not to be affected by the environmental impact of our everyday routines and actions. It’s clear that being environmentally conscious isn’t just a trend. It’s a change automakers are increasingly incorporating in their products and services. The early days of hybrid and electric motoring weren’t the most inspiring or exciting but cars like the Tesla Model S (reviewed here) and BMW’s i8 (reviewed here) prove there’s a lot more spark in this class of cars than one might expect. BMW has branded themselves as being synonymous with driving pleasure so how do the Bavarians balance fun with consciousness? We took the new 530e for a run to find out first hand.

    From the outside you’d be hard pressed telling the 530e apart from a standard 5-series. Which really is not a bad thing. The current generation 5-series is a very handsome car, even in its base trim. Our tester was fitted with some big black alloys with equally beefy M-Sport brakes hiding behind the wheels. The trunk lid also features a carbon fiber spoiler. The grilles and fender vent have also been blacked out, giving the car a more aggressive appearance.

    But despite the sporty aggressive outward look, the 530e is quite tame. It features a smooth 2.0L 4-cylinder engine under the hood that works in tandem with a 95 horsepower electric motor. Powering that motor is a 9.2 kWh battery pack. BMW claims you can run the car on electricity alone for over 40 kilometres, but in real world driving, expect that range to be almost halved. Unless you’re in a low speed urban environment, we found it’s not likely you’ll be able to do this very much without holding up traffic. It’s also worth noting that your electric range will suffer in winter. This is not an issue specific to BMW, by the way. Every hybrid and electric car that can run on a battery pack will experience this issue.

    Driving the 530e is pretty effortless. Many hybrids have a noticeable kick or jerk when the power from the electric motor transitions to its gasoline counterpart. You will hear the engine start but it’s not loud or intrusive. If you have your radio on, you might not even notice it. You don’t really feel it either, unless you’re actively trying to notice the engine’s ignition. With such a small engine and the aid of the electric motor, we were expecting better fuel economy. BMW doesn’t have official figures for the 2019 530e just yet but government estimates put it at around 29MPG, or about 8.1 L/100km. Our averaged hovered in the 9.0L/100km range, going as high as 9.5L/100km. This isn’t necessarily terrible but we expected a bit better from a hybrid. But given how small the battery pack is on the 530e, it’s more understandable.

    And with small battery packs in mind, that’s at least good news for charging. A standard 120v outlet isn’t ideal for an electric or hybrid with a large battery pack, but on the 530e, it’ll be suitable for overnight charging. That time is significantly cut down to about 3 hours on a 240v charger. While we hoped for better fuel economy on this hybrid 5-series, it is still as luxurious as you'd expect a BMW to be - and it's quite fun to drive too. 

    BMW, BMW 530e, BMW i, BMW iPerformance, BMW Hybrid, Hybrid Vehicles, PHEV

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