Photo Credits: BMW, Carbuzz
Leading the Charge
2021 BMW 530e Plug-in Hybrid Sedan
Base MSRP: From $57,200
- 530e Sedan – From $57,200
- 530e xDrive Sedan – From $59,500
Tax Credit: Up to $5,836
Battery Size: 12 kWh
EPA Range: Up to 21 electric miles, 340 total miles
Charging Acceptance Rate: 3.6kW
Performance: 12-kWh battery, turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, combined 288 horsepower
Mileage estimate: 64 mpge
Price estimate: From $57,200 to $59,500
Warranty: 4 years / 50,000 miles
Drivetrain Warranty: 4 years / 50,000 miles
Roadside Assistance: 4 years / unlimited
Corrosion Warranty: 12 years / unlimited
2021 BMW 530e Plug-in Hybrid Review
The BMW 5 Series has been around for more than four decades and its calling card has always been terrific performance and handling. What the 5 Series also represents is one of the most innovative offerings in the vast BMW lineup.
A midsize luxury sedan that seats five people, the 5 Series includes the plug-in hybrid 530e, 530i, 540i, M550i, and M5 configurations. The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) was introduced in 2018, along with the 540d xDrive diesel (it was quickly disbanded) and the performance-laden M550i xDrive that features a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter, V-8 engine.
To add a bit more appeal, BMW updated the entire 5 Series this year. The additions included some minor tweaks to the exterior – most notably a larger grille – improved infotainment system and adding a little more performance. It’s likely the move was hastened in part to stop the decline in sales that has taken place the past two years.
An appealing aspect of the PHEV is price. The 530e starts higher than the gas-powered 530i at approximately $57,200 vs. $54,200. However, the PHEV version comes with a tax credit up to $5,836, making it a less expensive purchase than the base model 530i.
Front seat room and comfort are terrific in all BMW 5 series cars and the 530e is no exception. The back seat is roomy and even taller people will experience no problem with leg or head room. Due to the battery, the cargo area is only 10 cubic feet, four feet less than the 530i. But the PHEV back seat folds down to accommodate larger items.
The biggest interior addition to the 2021 BMW 530e is increasing the infotainment touchscreen from 10.3 to 12.3 inches. Another improvement is the vehicle is now equipped with standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
There’s naturally a fuel economy savings as well. The 530e has increased its range from 18 to 21 miles and it delivers an estimated 64 MPGe while driving electric and 32 mpg overall. As a comparison, the 530i fuel economy is 25-33 mpg. A Level 2 home charger requires roughly 3 hours for the 530e, while BMW says an 80-percent charge takes 2 hours. If you only have a 120V AC outlet available, a full charge would be approximately 11 hours.
A year ago, BMW increased the lithium-ion battery – located beneath the rear seat – from 9.2 kWh to 12.0 kWh, representing nearly a 25-percent increase. The 530e remains a heavy at just over 4,200 pounds. Despite the weight, it still offers some zippy performance.
Performance and Speed
An inline-four engine produces 181 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, while the electric motor adds an additional 107 horsepower. The result is a combined 288 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. The 530e goes 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds, making it a bit quicker than the 530i.
On the negative ledger, the 530i delivers sharper steering, better handling and a smoother ride than the 530e. But the PHEV version still provides good handling and has an athletic feel for the road. The 530e also has regenerative braking that slows the vehicle down significantly when the foot comes off the accelerator.
Drivers will love the diversity that comes with the 530e. It has three driving modes (Sport, Comfort, Eco) and three electric power settings: Battery Control, Max eDrive, Auto eDrive. The Max eDrive uses only electric power until the battery level is depleted.
BMW gives those interested in the BMW 5 Series a plug-in hybrid vehicle option. With the federal tax credit, the 2021 BMW 530e is cheaper than the 530i and can be used exclusively in EV mode for a short commute to work each day. This is a great option for those who love the BMW luxury and want to step into driving electric.
Recommended Charging Stations = LCS-20
Recommended Power Level of Charging Station = 16A
Vehicle Acceptance Rate: 3.6kW
Manufacturer Details by BMW USA
2021 BMW 530e plug-in hybrid: Quicker, but will it go more electric miles? by Green Car Reports