Car Review: BMW 530e is a plug-in hybrid that’s still fun to drive

When you think of luxury mid-size sedans, the BMW 5 series usually comes to mind. There are many BMW 5 series variants. There is the wild 600hp M5, which we looked at before. This time, it is the sensible BMW 530e plug-in hybrid, which allows for 22 miles of electric operation.

The car has added power for this year when you choose the 530e version. You get a 30hp bump over the gas only 530i. This plug-in feels quick using the sport mode when both the gas engine and electric motor come to play. On the other hand, it is a quiet cruiser, knocking out the daily commute on all electric power. The 530e was a comfortable highway cruiser averaging about 45 mpg, running on a mix of gas and electric power, on a trip to West Virginia and back. Run battery control to allow recharging on the highway, allowing for electric operation on slower roads.

The 2021 5 series received a front-end makeover this year. Those kidney grills are bigger, but luckily, they stay above the bumper and do not follow the style of the smaller BMW 3-and 4-series models. The 5 series has the classic, if not more conservative, look than some others do in the luxury market. The 19” M sport wheels and the optional M sport package add a sportier styling than you think a hybrid would have.

Inside, the 530e comes nicely equipped before you add the options. A larger 12.3” touch screen display and the iDrive control is easier to use than I remember. Live Cockpit Pro replaces the normal gauge cluster with a virtual instrumentation. I would suggest spending some extra money on the Luxury seating package that adds great multi-contour seats that makes long trips easier.

 

Cost: $57,200; as tested $70,485

MPG: 64 MPGe;  26 MPG, I managed 39.8 mpg in 673 miles of mixed driving with 159 miles electric

Safety: Active cruise control with braking function; dynamic stability control; active driving assistant pro with active blind spot detection; active park distance control & parking assistant plus; head-up display; Adaptive full LED lighting & auto high beams; surround view with 3D view; extended traffic jam assistant; drive recorder; front & rear head protection system.

Options: $550 Phytonic blue metallic; $2,500 Ivory white nappa leather; $1,700 driving assistance package; $550 shadowline package; $1,000 luxury seating package; $2,500 M sport package; $800 parking assistance package; $1,850 premium package; $650 M sport brakes with blue calipers; $190 heated steering wheel.

Things to know: The 2021 BMW 530e helps you baby step toward an electric future. The Active Driving Pro helps change lanes when using the cruise control.

Pros:

  • A power boost for the 530e makes this a quick plug-in hybrid
  • Comfortable interior with large touch screen and virtual instruments
  • Classic styling with a fresh front-end design

Cons:

  • You give up a little of the large trunk space for battery storage
  • Gets pricey quickly when you add the options
  • Some might find the classic styling lost in a sea of luxury sedans

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2021 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up