2018 BMW 530e

Styling

The 2018 BMW 530e plug-in hybrid is nearly identical to the internal-combustion versions of the 5-Series. The 530e shares BMW’s iconic kidney-shaped grille and dual exhaust pipes with other Bimmers. The plug-in is distinguished from the rest of the 5-Series lineup by the charging-port door on the driver-side front fender. On the inside, drives will also find an eDrive button next to the gear selector and slightly different graphics on the digital instrument display.

Performance

The 530e uses BMW’s eDrive system, combining a turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter inline-four with an electric motor and a 9.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. (The 3-Series plug-in uses the smaller 7.6 kilowatt-hour pack.) All BMW plug-in hybrids earn praise from reviewers for exceptionally smooth transitions between gas and electric propulsion.

The 530e is rated for a total combined output of 248 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. It uses a ZF-supplied eight-speed automatic transmission—with an electric motor replacing the torque converter. BMW claims a zero-to-60-mph time of 6.0 seconds for the rear-wheel-drive 530e, and 5.8 seconds for the xDrive all-wheel-drive model. That level of acceleration matches the standard, gas-powered 530i.

There are three different hybrid modes. In AUTO eDrive, the car decides the most efficient settings between battery- and gasoline-derived power for any given driving condition. Select MAX eDrive to emphasize the electric side of the powertrain—forcing the gasoline engine to stay off until the battery is depleted or speeds exceed 87 miles per hour. Drivers can save energy in the battery for later use by selecting the Save Battery mode. These hybrid modes are in addition to BMW settings that alter the responsiveness of the gas engine—from Eco Pro for maximum efficiency to Comfort and Sport options.

The hybrid’s battery pack is positioned low and to the rear, providing a weight distribution that improves upon other 5-Series variants.

Efficiency/Range

The BMW 530e’s 9.6-kWh pack is good for about 31 miles of all-electric driving—not quite at the current Chevy Volt’s 53 miles, but not far off from the first-generation Volt’s 38 miles.

When there is enough charge in the battery to allow for a combination of gas and electricity, the EPA fuel economy rating is 72 MPGe. After the battery is depleted, the rating drops to a respectable 29 MPG for a midsize luxury sedan.

2018 BMW 530e

Passenger/Cargo Room

The 530e’s big battery pack slightly encroaches into the sedan’s trunk space, reducing cargo volume from 19 cubic feet (in gas versions) to 15 cubes in the plug-in hybrid. The gas tank is also smaller—dropping from 8 to 12 gallons. (The car’s total range is 370 miles.)

The 530e has a flat-load trunk floor and retains split fold-down rear seats.

Reviewers give the 530e high praise for a gorgeous interior and dashboard controls that are well designed. Like other 5-Series vehicles, the car’s interior feels luxurious with rich materials. That is matched by abundant high-tech features, including a self-driving function. In 2018, BMW will add wireless inductive charging to the mix, making it easy to roll into your garage or driveway and automatically charge without having to plug in.

Charging

Charging times are standard for plug-in hybrids. It takes about 3.5 hours from a 240-volt charging station to fully replenish the 9.2-kWh pack after being fully depleted.

2018 BMW 530e

Price

The 530e’s pricing starts at $52,395 for the rear-wheel drive version, while the xDrive all-wheel drive adds $2,300 to the sticker. The cost of the 530e slots between the 530i and the 540i in the lineup. The 530e only costs about $200 more than the 530i, making it a compelling step up, considering the increased torque and improved fuel economy advantages of the plug-in hybrid model. The calculation is before tax and sales incentives, which makes the plug-in hybrid even more attractive.

The 530e is available with the same technology options found in other 5-Series models. Those include Blind Spot Detection System, Active Lane Keeping Assistant, 3D Surround View, and Side Collision Avoidance systems.

BMW 530e specifications

Availability: Now
Base MSRP: $52400
Est. tax credit: $4700
Technology: Plug-in Hybrid
Body type: Sedan
Seats: 5
EPA Range: 31 miles electric + gasoline
Battery size: 9 kWh
Charging rate: 3.3 kW

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