The Athletic Environmentalist

Automologist KEVIN takes BMW’s latest plug-in hybrid offering for a spin. 

Proudly performing in times of change, the 530e, much like all 5 series, is a car that represents BMW’s pedigree in a punchy yet classy way. The BMW 530e retains the same characteristics as well, but this time with a plug-in hybrid. Being a BMW, all the necessities are in place, as you would expect of one. The driving position is excellent, the interior has all the controls exactly where you want them and together with BMW’s class-leading large screened iDrive info-media system, everything is quick to respond.

The ‘eDrive’ button, which is situated on the centre console, allows you to select ‘max edrive’ (electric power) or ‘auto eDrive’ (hybrid power). You can also choose a specific percentage of battery charge that you want to maintain. But we will get to this later.

For now, let’s get started by getting to the meat and bones under the hood. The car has been fitted with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 184 hp and 320 Nm of torque. Paired with a 113-hp, 250-Nm electric motor, the amazing combination will produce 252 hp and 420 Nm of torque in totality. It may have the same horsepower with the 530i, but manages to churn out an additional 70Nm of torque.

Cleverly, BMW has fitted the electric motor upstream from the transmission and in real-world terms, this means you’ll feel gear changes even in electric mode. Even in electric mode, all the ratios from the efficient ZF transmission is used. There is no need to fit a torque converter. The result? They’ve shaved off weight, a critical element in these heavy plug-in hybrids.

The cabin has good built quality and ergonomic designs, is sumptuous and keeps you snug and comfortable. As soon as you get behind the wheel, you’ll find yourself surrounded by innovative technology and a host of comfort features, which of course will make your drive a memorable experience every time. The driver has a 12.3-inch display with all the gauges and dials and meters fully digitized and assists you to change to the selected drive mode. And right in the middle, above the gear lever, sits a 10.2-inch display that accesses your iDrive system, which controls the lane-departure system, park assist, climate control, drive settings and much more.

For its propulsion system, the 530e has three drive modes:-

Auto eDrive mode: This default mode optimizes your drive using either your engine or electric motor and with a charged battery, it will allow for an all-electric top speed of 90 km/h.

Max eDrive: The vehicle is exclusively electrically driven, just as long as the charged level of the high voltage battery is sufficient. This can also be set as the default mode and will begin when you push the start button.

Battery control: A mode where a certain level of charge in the battery can be maintained. All you have to do is set the target charge percentage of the batteries and you can conserve the electric range for a later journey.

There’s also a handy display that tells you how far you’ve come on electric-only mode, so hypermiling may start to become part of your daily routine. The neat thing is that the transition between electric and normal hybrid, when the petrol kicks in, is smooth and seamless. Honestly, it’s a job to tell what’s running sometimes because everything is so refined.

A 9.2 kWh lithium-ion battery with highly integrated low-temperature circuit and refrigerant cooling sits under the rear seats enabling the 530e to run in electric mode up to 140 km/h and has an all-electric range of 48 km. Charging is under three hours with the 3.7 kW BMW i-Wallbox and under five hours from a domestic socket.

When it comes to safety, the 530e M Sport comes standard with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) and the Antilock Braking System (ABS). There are also driving aids like lane departure and change warning, front collision alert with brake intervention, rear collision prevention and crossing-traffic warning. Proud owners will also get cruise control with braking function, as well as the parking assistant for automatic parallel and perpendicular parking.

At RM 338,800, the 530e is a well-sorted car and with the M-Sport package, it is definitely dressed to impress. Add to this, the 5-Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty with Free Scheduled Service. The car is best explained with a test drive. Head to Quill Automobile in PJ to experience the electrifying performance of the 530e. You can also schedule an appointment with them by logging on to https://quill-automobiles.com.my/

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