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£49,055 when new
Let me guess. It’s a PHEV. You’re so right. A BMW 5 Series with a 2.0-litre, 184bhp four-cylinder petrol engine (gone are the days when 30 meant six- or eight-cylinders. Pffft), a 9.2kWh battery pack and a small 95bhp electric motor. This gives a claimed 29 miles or so of engine-off, EV-running at up to 87mph, and a total of 252bhp and 310lb ft of torque. A full charge from a standard plug takes four and a half hours, or a little under three if you’ve invested in a “BMW i Wallbox”. 0-62mph takes 6.2 seconds, the top speed is 146mph and BMW claims 141.2mpg and 46g/km of CO2. Thanks for the headlines Fiona Bruce. It won’t actually do 141mpg though, right? Quite welcome. And of course not. PHEVs are very sensitive to the lifestyles of their owners – if you have the capacity to charge at either end of your journey, or if your commute is less than 30 miles then yes, a PHEV makes some sense. If not, they’re less economical than their diesel equivalents (but still benefit from the massive tax savings for company car drivers – genius). We did the same commute twice over in the 530e. With no charge in the batteries whatsoever it managed mid-thirties, but with a full charge it crept into the fifties. One particularly commendable thing about the 530e is that it doesn’t bombard you with unnecessary information, or offer up too many drivetrain options. There are some, sure, but they’re calibrated and implemented in such a way you don’t feel like you need to bother with them. If you want to get in and drive, as you would a normal 5 Series, you can. And the car won’t punish you for it. This is not true of all PHEVs – driving a Panamera Hybrid, for example, feels like an exercise in mode management.