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2018 BMW 530e iPerformance Plug-In Hybrid Review By Senior Editor John Heilig

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The Auto Page
2018 BMW 530e iPerformance Review
By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2018 BMW 530e iPerformance
ENGINE/TRANSMISSION: 2.0-liter twin turbo 4/8-speed automatic with Steptronic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 248 hp (overall) @ 5,500 rpm/310 lb.-ft. (overall) @ 1,800 rpm
WHEELBASE: 117 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 195 x 74 x 58 in.
TIRES: P245/45R18
CARGO CAPACITY: 19 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 72 mpge/ 29 mpg gas
FUEL TANK: 15 gal. (est.)
CURB WEIGHT: 3,950 lbs.
TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Audi A7, Cadillac CT6, Jaguar XF
STICKER: $66,460 (includes $995 delivery, $14,065 options)
BOTTOM LINE: The BMW 530e is a plug-in hybrid with an all-electric range of a minuscule 14 miles, which may be disappointing. But at the bottom line, it’s still a BMW 5 Series, which ain’t bad.

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Most plug-in hybrid vehicles have underwhelming all-electric performance, and the BMW 530e fits the mold. The 530e delivers a disappointing 14 miles of pure electric driving. Then, it takes seven hours to recharge it using a 120-volt household plug, less than three hours at 240 volts.

However, the bottom line to the 530e is that it’s a BMW 5 Series at its heart and that can make up for any number of sins, even if they are imaginary.

During our week with the 530e we were hampered by family illness and did not get a chance to use the car as a full electric. We did, though, enjoy all the car’s virtues in “normal” gasoline mode. I have discovered that basically, I’m not a devoted BMW fan, although I love their performance through the entire range. Maybe I’m turned off by the fact that they all look the same, but under the skin and behind the iconic kidney grille, they are all quite different.

Electric power consists of a 95 horsepower motor that offers maximum torque of 184 lb.-ft. In iPerformance mode it can go from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds. The electric motor and combustion engine direct their power to the sedan’s rear wheels via the standard 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission.

The high-voltage battery pack consists of lithium-ion cells with a total capacity of 9.2kWh, and is located under the rear seat allowing for full use of the 19 cubic feet trunk and adds a flat passenger compartment floor.

Under gas power, this is pure BMW. Performance is quiet, almost leading you to believe that it’s on electric drive all the time. Almost no road noise intrudes into the cabin. This is what you expect from a 5.

The 3 Series is sportier and the 7 Series more luxurious, so the 5 Series is perfect middle ground. There’s really nothing more you could desire. Power, and handling are there, plus comfort.

Front seats offer excellent side support. Our tester had “cowhide leather” seats that went well with the black trim, but not with the brown wood trim. There was too much clash of colors. Rear seats are comfortable with good side support and very good leg room. The rear seats are heated, as are the fronts.

The driver holds on to a nice fat wheel with all the controls. In addition, there are shift paddles behind the wheel if you choose to extract more performance from your 530e. The shifter on the console is BMW unique and requires some concentration to master.

Instrumentation is clear. The large speedometer on the right of the i.p. has a power gauge to show how economically you’re driving. In addition, there is a heads up display (HUD) projected on the windshield that adds the local speed limit to the speedometer reading . When you exceed the local limit, the numbers turn red. It’s a good warning.

In the middle of the dash is a wide infotainment screen. It’s not simple to switch among sources or stations, but once you get there, sound quality is excellent. There’s a controller knob for navigating among the screens, plus all the options are there - media, com, menu, map, nav, back and options. The default screen has the audio source on the left and a map on the right.

Heating is great. We drove the 530e in winter weather and the heated seats plus the theater did the job.

The clamshell center console/arm rest contains USB and 12-volt plugs.

Cargo space is interesting. The large trunk has shelves on the right and back. Rear seat back releases are in the trunk.

While the BMW 530e iPerformance won’t take you from coast to coast on electric power alone, it is still a BMW 5 Series and, as such, is a great car.

(c) 2019 The Auto Page Syndicate