Published on August 8th, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW 530e Sport, ‘The Plug In Hybrid’ Test Drive Review
When BMW Malaysia launched the all new 5-Series plug-in hybrid at RM343,800 back in January 2018, the market responded with some light hearted negativity, especially from current BMW owners and BMW enthusiasts. The issues they harped on came from the lack of some cabin and drive features. This 530e Sport was missing a sunroof (which most owners never even use), adaptive LED headlights (which most owners will not know its missing after a few weeks on the road), display key (most owners will forget about this after a few weeks), and gesture control (which does not alter the BMW driving experience…..its all just a nice piece of cabin tech to have).
What Is The Drama
Yes, the earlier launched petrol driven 530i had all this ‘deemed’ necessary kit included, but at a price of RM398,800 at launch in March 2017 which is a RM55,000 price premium, whilst the 530e Sport gets a generous government tax incentive, but this is the car business. So, BMW showrooms have been seeing brisk business with all their models except for this 530e Sport. A sort of retaliation from the buyers.
So, now some 6 months after its launch, we are given the opportunity to take the 530e Sport for a weekend of luxury and fuel efficiency to see what the drama is all about.
Who Are The Buyers
This BMW 530e when fully charged serves up the dynamic driving experience with the possibility of electric driving with zero local emissions. Its fuel consumption of 2.0 l/100 km is possible for the very light foot driver but which BMW driver has a light foot? Seriously, which BMW driver that forks out RM343k in Malaysia is bothered about emissions and saving fuel. They bought their BMW for dynamic driving and the opportunity to get a luxury sedan at a tax incentive price (savings of RM55k).
Where Is The Battery Pack
The high-voltage battery pack consisting of lithium-ion cells with a total capacity of 9.2 kWh has been placed in a space-saving location underneath the rear seat and includes efficient refrigerant cooling with a highly integrated low-temperature circuit. Thanks to the battery’s neat installation, the BMW 530e Sport offers 410 litres of boot capacity and a flat load compartment floor. When fully charged, this 530e is capable of covering distances of up to 50 kilometres purely on battery power.
How Does The BMW eDrive Work
As well as the Driving Experience Control switch, with its SPORT, COMFORT and ECO PRO settings, drivers will also find an eDrive button at their disposal, which lets them tailor the BMW eDrive system’s operation even more precisely to the journey ahead through three driving modes: AUTO eDRIVE, MAX eDRIVE and BATTERY CONTROL.
AUTO eDRIVE ensures that the engine and electric motor interact to optimum effect in all driving situations and allows an all-electric top speed of 90 km/h. This mode is automatically activated as the default setting every time the vehicle is started. When MAX eDRIVE mode is selected, the BMW 530e drives on electric power alone.
To do so, it uses the electric drive’s full power and can attain a maximum speed of 140 km/h. However, if the accelerator is pressed through to kick-down the engine will cut in, which is handy should an extra boost of power be desired, when overtaking, for example.
BATTERY CONTROL mode lets the driver set the charge level for the high-voltage battery manually. The target value can be adjusted to between 30 and 100% of maximum charge, allowing that proportion of the battery’s capacity to be reserved for all-electric driving at a later point in the journey. The intelligent battery management of the BMW 530e either keeps the high-voltage battery’s charge constant at the selected level or increases it to the pre-set value, with the electric motor acting as a generator. In this way, BATTERY CONTROL mode makes it possible to conserve or even increase the reserves of electric power while travelling on the motorway, for example, in order to ensure that an upcoming section through an urban area can be covered with zero local emissions. So enough about saving fuel and getting the most out of the hybrid battery system.
Why We Liked This 530e Sport
Well it is simple. When the car’s hybrid battery is fully charged, this 530e if a fun sports sedan as it delivers 113 hp from its electric motor with a maximum torque of 250Nm on tap, while its 4-cylinder 2-liter petrol engine generates 184 hp and 320 Nm of torque. The combination of motor and engine working delivers 252 hp and combined peak torque of 420 Nm which propels the BMW 530e Sport from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds and enables it to reach a top speed of 235 km/h. What this means in lay-man terms is, this sedan is entertaining to drive on the open road and will be a docile well mannered machine in heavy city traffic.
Away from the city roads and highways this 530e will show off its best attributes. Forget any pre-conceived ideas of lackluster heavy handling due to its sheer size. There are a lot of performance sedans out there that will protest at the thought of a quick sweeping corner. Not this 530e. Its given DNA means turn in is sharper than you would expect, body roll kept to the barest minimum, with more steering feel than some less focused peers. In other words, it is very agile and enjoyable leaving the owner/driver to quickly forget its size and weight. Despite its sporting DNA, the taut firm yet comfortable suspension manages to isolate all but the worst of the tarmac on the outer limits of Klang Valley roads, without compromising cabin comfort, especially in the rear.
What’s The Final Word
At publishing time……which is 8th August 2018, our Malaysian GST free entitlement is still running and this means you can buy this BMW for just RM324k (there are immediate stocks available and you do not need to wait) and its nearest competitor, the Mercedes E350e plug-in hybrid is sold out. Audi, Infiniti, Jaguar and Lexus do not have a similar priced rivals. Its pure petrol driven sibling, the 530i Sport is priced at RM366,833 which is RM42k more. Only the Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine rivals this 530e at RM366,913. The final decision is yours and you have 3 weeks left to have this 530e parked in your garage with a registration number of your choice.
Specifications BMW 530e Sport PHEV
Engine: 4-cylinder Petrol
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic Transmission
Max Output: 184bhp + 113hp of electric power
Max Torque: 320Nm + 250Nm of electric power
0-100km/h: 6.2 seconds
Top Speed: 235km/h
Price: RM324,380.89 without GST