In-depth reviews

BMW 530e hybrid review

“The BMW 530e is everything you'd expect of a 5 Series but with extra economy and improved running costs"

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

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  • 36-mile electric range
  • Very low running costs
  • Still a BMW 5 Series


  • Pricey to buy
  • Battery pack shrinks boot
  • Some safety kit costs extra

The latest BMW 5 Series executive saloon is good enough to claim class honours against its Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6 rivals, and like the smaller BMW 3 Series, there’s a low-emission plug-in hybrid version to further tempt company-car drivers.

Low CO2 emissions of 48g/km or less are key to its appeal – this places this powerful 530e plug-in hybrid in a far lower Benefit-in-Kind tax bracket than even the economical 520d diesel. Its nearest rival, the Mercedes E-Class is also available as a plug-in hybrid, with the petrol-powered E 300 e and the diesel-powered E 300 de both coming close to matching the 530e for outright ability, even if they have different characteristics.

While it might not be as sharp as some models in its long history, the latest 5 Series is a more driver-focused machine than the Mercedes, and that fact defines the way it feels. Where the Mercedes cossets, the BMW is more involving to drive, although it never feels uncomfortable.

It’s fast, too. With power provided by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor producing a combined 249bhp, the 530e will get from 0-62mph in a brisk 6.1 seconds, while its top speed is 146mph. Power is channeled to the rear wheels by an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which incorporates the electric motor, and near-silent fully electric motoring is possible at up to 87mph.

Not only this, but the 530e can also travel for up to 37 miles on electric power when the battery pack is fully charged, meaning you may be able to get to and from work without using any petrol at all. That electric range is also around six miles further than the Mercedes E-Class E 300 e manages.

The 530e’s official consumption figure varies between 134 and 202mpg but getting anywhere near these figures will depend entirely on keeping the car's battery charged up.

The 530e doesn’t seem to ride quite as smoothly as equivalent petrol and diesel models in the range, likely because of the car's extra weight, but it's still a very smooth executive saloon. Practicality suffers because the extra hardware in the powertrain cuts into boot space, reducing it by 120 litres to 410 litres, but this is the same amount of space as you get in the Mercedes E 300 e hybrid.

The BMW 5 Series has been crash-tested by Euro NCAP and scored the full five stars, with impressive results across the board thanks to a strong bodyshell and comprehensive safety kit.

The 5 Series came a respectable 40th out of 75 cars in the 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, with owners particularly pleased by the engines and driving appeal of their cars. Whether you’re a company-car driver with an eye on tax savings, or a private buyer looking for comfortable, low-emissions urban transport, the 530e makes a lot of sense.

The BMW 5 Series range will get a midlife facelift later this year, with updates to the engine range, styling and technology. The 530e will be joined by the more powerful 545e plug-in hybrid, which uses the 387bhp six-cylinder powertrain from the BMW X5 xDrive45e SUV. A fully electric 5 Series is already in development, and will join the line-up in 2023

See how this car scored on our sister site DrivingElectric

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