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Detroit show: BMW details 530e PHEV

Getting 5eriou5: The 530e will be BMW’s sixth plug-in model after the 330e, X5 40e, 740e, 225xe and X1 25Le and is scheduled to land in Australian showrooms from mid-next year.

Luxury 530e charges up from mid-2017 as BMW expands next-gen 5 Series range


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19 Dec 2016

BMW has locked down powertrain details and some equipment specification for its next-generation plug-in hybrid 530e, planned to launch in Australia in the second half of next year.

Although local pricing is still too far away to confirm, BMW Australia product communications manager Adam Davis said “we’re still finalising option pricing for the initial (5 Series) range, so 530e (pricing) will be next”.

When it launches next year, BMW’s new 5 Series range will kick off with four variants starting with the 520d at $93,900 before on-roads, moving to the 530i for $108,900, and topping out with the 530d and 540i at $119,900 and $136,900 respectively.

For reference, the new 530e utilises the same powertrain as BMW’s 330e mid-size plug-in, which costs just $2000 more than the 330i, on which it is based, at $71,900.

Mr Davis could not confirm exact timing, saying that there is “still nothing specific for here” and that the Australian turnaround time from production is usually a few months, placing the local 530e debut from mid-2017 onwards.

The 530e utilises a familiar 70kW/250Nm electric motor paired to a 135kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine for a combined output of 185kW/420Nm, which is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The petrol electric hybrid system is enough to accelerate the large luxury sedan from zero to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds and will carry the 530e on to a top speed of 235km/h.

According to the German car-maker, the 530e will reach up to 650km of real-world driving or 50km on pure electric drive and a single charge.

Charging takes just under five hours to top up the 9.2kWh battery from a standard power outlet.

Fuel consumption is rated at 1.9 litres per 100km while emitting 44 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

Making the most of the 5 Series’ large dimensions, BMW has positioned the battery pack under the rear seats for optimal weight distribution and to free up the full 410 litres of boot space.

To differentiate the 530e, blue highlights are featured in the signature kidney grille and wheel hubs, along with a charging port in the front left wing and eDrive and 530e badging throughout.

Inside, the 530e features illuminated eDrive side sills, bespoke instrumentation and a dedicated eDrive button to change the electric drivetrain’s characteristics between Auto eDrive, Max eDrive and Battery Control.

Auto eDrive is the default setting which limits the electric mode top speed to 90km/h and “ensures that the engine and electric motor interact to optimum effect in all driving situations”, according to BMW.

Max eDrive will power the 530e exclusively on electricity and raises the top speed to 140km/h, but if the throttle is depressed enough, the petrol engine will kick in for an extra boost in power.

When in Battery Control mode, drivers are able to set a reserve battery volume level – between 30 and 100 per cent – to hold that amount of electricity in backup for later use.

Like with the entire next-gen 5 Series range, the 530e will feature a high-resolution 10.3-inch display for navigation, telephone, entertainment and vehicle functions and can be controlled via the iDrive controller or with BMW’s gesture controls.

Standard safety systems include evasion aid, cross-traffic warning, lane-change assist and warning, active cruise control, head-up display, and 360-degree view cameras.

When paired with BMW Connected, the cameras can send live images to a driver’s smartphone from anywhere in the world.

BMW is also touting a ParkNow service to help with car park payments, a feature that will not arrive in Australian-spec vehicles, and On-Street Parking Information technology which “uses a local prediction model to compute probable parking options in a particular part of town and shows them to the driver on the display”.

The 530e will also tie into Microsoft’s Office 365 software suite to allow access to email, calendar entries and contacts while on the move.

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