Automotive 520e and 320e

Published on January 29th, 2021 | by Subhash Nair


BMW Reveals Less Powerful 320e & 520e PHEV Variants

Question is: what will the price in Ringgit Malaysia be for the BMW 320e and 520e?

When it comes to premium plug-in hybrids, you could say that BMW has been quite aggressive. In Malaysia, especially, they were the first to bring a plug-in hybrid option in the compact executive segment with the fully-decked out 330e and then a 530e sometime later. The trend was continued with the new generation of 3-Series, with a new variant of the 330e being made available here. Now though, BMW has unveiled a new, lower power output variant for each model. These are called the 320e and 520e and they’re the first BMWs to wear these badges.

These still use very similar hardware to the ’30e’ models on paper. Under the hood of either car, you’ll find a 2-litre turbocharged motor paired to an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission with an electric motor on board. However, the setup here produces a maximum of 204hp and 350Nm of torque.

Performance versus the current ’30e’ models

Current 330e and 530e Performance

For context, the 330e produces a total system output of 252hp and 420Nm of torque. In this older model, the B48 engine is tuned to 184 hp and 300Nm of torque, with the 68hp electric motor making up the balance. This gets it a 0-100km/h time of 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 230km/h. This model has a 12 kWh battery capacity. Fuel consumption is rated at 2.2L/100km with 50g of CO2/km. The XtraBoost function temporarily pumps the motor up bt 41hp.

The 530e has a similar total system output. 0-100km/h takes 6.2 seconds, the top speed is 235km and fuel economy is rated at 2L/100km with 46g of CO2/km. This model has a 9.2 kWh battery capacity. There’s no XtraBoost function.

The 330e gets 56km of electric range while the 530e gets 48km.

New 320e and 520e Performance

The total system output on both the 320e and 520e is 204hp and 350Nm of torque, as mentioned earlier. The petrol motor produces 163hp, but torque figures were not disclosed. In the 320e, 0-100km/h takes 7.6 seconds and the top speed is 225km/h. The 320e gets about 1.8L/100km and emits 41g of CO2/km.

The 520e sedan does the century sprint in 7.9 seconds and has a top speed of 225km/h as well. This vehicle gets 1.9L/100km and emits about 43g/km of CO2.

BHP diesel

New 34kWh batteries will find their way into these models, enabling longer pure electric driving ranges of up to 61km. There are also Touring versions mostly destined for the Europe.

Given the popularity of PHEV BMWs in Malaysia, it’s likely these variants will be on BMW Malaysia’s roadmap but stay tuned for the official word. It’s worth noting that the longer electric range and lower CO2 emissions of these vehicles allow buyers some special rights and incentives in Germany as they are categorised as electric vehicles there. There’s a chance that these models exist just to satisfy that niche.

There’s additional information about the electrical components in these new PHEVs below.


High electric ranges thanks to state-of-the-art battery cell technology. 

Due to the exemplary efficiency of their electric motor and the high storage capacity of their high-voltage battery, the new plug-in hybrid models are ideal for handling a large part of everyday driving, such as commuting between home and work, with pure e-drive and thus locally emission-free. Developed on the basis of most recent battery cell technology and manufactured by the BMW Group, the lithium-ion batteries offer a gross energy content of 12.0 kWh and a capacity of 34 Ah.

The values for the electric range according to the WLTP test cycle are 52 to 61 kilometres for the new BMW 320e Sedan, 50 to 59 kilometres for the new BMW 320e Touring, 46 to 57 kilometres for the new BMW 320e xDrive Touring, 53 to 61 kilometres for the new BMW 520e Sedan and 52 to 57 kilometres for the new BMW 520e Touring.

On the road, the high-voltage battery is particularly efficient thanks to brake energy recovery. Comprehensive charging equipment will be received by the customer in the scope of delivery of the vehicle: for charging at home and on the go, the charging cables are already included as well as the BMW Charging Card, which can be easily activated. BMW customers enjoy special conditions here, which also exempt from the monthly basic fee in the first year. Other products and services, such as wall boxes including professional installation, can also be selected from BMW Charging’s wide range of products as required. The high-voltage battery can be charged with a maximum of 3,7kW from 0 to 80 per cent of its total capacity in 2.6 hours and from zero to 100 per cent in 3.6 hours.

Digital services support locally emission-free driving. 

BMW Live Cockpit Plus including Connected Package Professional, which is standard equipment in the new plug-in hybrid models, enables drivers to use numerous digital services, some of which are specially designed for electric mobility. With the BMW eDrive Zone and BMW Points digital services, drivers of plug-in hybrid BMW models are given additional incentives and opportunities to make particularly intensive use of the potential of locally emission-free mobility and thus contribute reducing CO2 and noise emissions in inner-city areas.

As soon as the vehicle enters an inner-city core area recognised as an eDrive Zone by means of geo-fencing via GPS, the control system of the plug-in hybrid drive automatically activates the purely electric driving mode. In addition to the official urban environmental zones in Germany, the eDrive Zones also include city areas in numerous other European countries. In total, the BMW eDrive Zone service can already be used in more than 80 European cities.

The increase in the distance covered electrically not only helps optimise efficiency and reduce emissions, it also reduces operating costs for the customer. This applies particularly to city traffic, where electric power consistently achieves a higher level of efficiency than a petrol or diesel engine.

Locally emission-free driving is also rewarded with BMW Points, the world’s first rewards programme for drivers of BMW plug-in hybrid models. For each purely electric kilometre travelled, the driver is credited with one point. Within areas defined as a BMW eDrive Zone, using purely electric driving mode is even rewarded with double points. The points collected can then be converted into credit that can be redeemed when charging the high-voltage battery at public BMW Charging Stations. The BMW eDrive Zones and BMW Points services are also standard for the new new BMW 3 Series and the new BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid models.

Unrestricted everyday and travelling suitability, extensive level of standard equipment.

The high-voltage battery of all new BMW 3 Series and BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid models is installed below the rear seat bench to save space. This means that the luggage compartment volume of the Sedan and Touring models is almost fully available. It is 375 litres in the new BMW 320e Sedan and 410 litres in the new BMW 520e Sedan. In the new BMW 320e Touring, storage space can be increased from 410 to 1 420 litres and from 430 to 1 560 litres in the new BMW 520e Touring. The maximum permissible trailer load is 1 500 kilograms for the BMW 3 Series models and 1 700 kilograms for the BMW 5 Series models.

The generous amount of space contributes to the attractive versatility of the plug-in hybrid models, as does the drive concept with two engines. Thanks to a fuel tank that holds 40 litres in the BMW 3 Series models and 46 litres in the BMW 5 Series models, a high range is ensured, emphasising the electric vehicles’ travelling suitability.

The BMW 3 Series and BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid models are also equipped with active pedestrian protection as standard. When driving electrically at speeds of up to 30 km/h, an unmistakeable sound designed specifically for electrified BMW models is generated to alert other road users to the approaching car without impairing the acoustic comfort of the vehicle occupants.

The sporty characteristics of the new plug-in hybrid models are enhanced by model-specific tuning and targeted transmission of the drive sound via the audio system into the interior, a direct yet precise accelerator pedal characteristic and a specific 8-speed Steptronic transmission shift programme including brake downshifts.

Standard equipment also includes automatic air conditioning with extended features (BMW 520e Sedan, BMW 520e Touring) or automatic air conditioning (BMW 320e Sedan, BMW 320e Touring) and auxiliary heating and air conditioning. The interior of the vehicle can preheated or precooled as required. This ensures pleasant temperatures before starting off even if the battery has a low state of charge. The interior can be pre-conditioned remotely via the My BMW App using a smartphone.

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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