BMW 5 Series hybrid - Interior & comfort
Recent spec upgrades mean the 5 Series is even more appealing
Thanks to a recent facelift, the 5 Series cabin is better than ever at cosseting occupants while providing an impressive array of tech and toys.
With an identical interior to the rest of the BMW 5 Series range, BMW has steered clear of marking out the PHEV variants as being anything too out of the ordinary. In fact, the only differences are the buttons for the EV modes and a different instrument cluster, so the usual impressive 5 Series build quality and well-sorted ergonomics are unaltered.
The ride may not be exactly as supple as that of a standard 5 Series because of suspension tweaks designed to counter the extra weight of the battery, but these are still hugely comfortable cars.
BMW 5 Series hybrid dashboard
The main difference between the PHEV dashboard and those in the rest of the range is that its ‘black panel’ instrument cluster displays additional information pertinent to plug-in hybrid driving, with range, energy efficiency and current battery level all indicated. Otherwise, everything follows the same ordered, familiar layout that BMW has refined over the years.
The horizontal arrangement of the 5 Series dashboard isn’t as decorative as that of the Mercedes E-Class, but the materials used are mostly high quality. The facelift brought a new 12.3-inch touchscreen display that is standard across the range, and importantly now features Android Auto alongside Apple CarPlay, voice control and Bluetooth smartphone connectivity. Navigation is standard too.
Both the 530e and 545e are available in SE and M Sport trim levels. The M Sport model features a bodykit, lighter alloy wheels, exterior gloss trim, leather upholstery and an M Sport steering wheel.
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BMW ConnectedDrive is a suite of services that includes real-time traffic information and automatic emergency service notification in the event of a crash. Using BMW's 'remote services', owners can check on their car's location and even flash its headlights, lock or unlock its doors or set its ventilation, all using a smartphone app.
Dual-zone climate control is standard, as are heated front seats with partially electric adjustment. Front and rear parking sensors are fitted too, and the door sill finishers bear the eDrive emblem. Externally, the chief recognition point for the 530e is the flap ahead of the front passenger door, behind which the illuminated plug-in charging socket can be found.
The 530e and 545e come well equipped as standard, but we’d be tempted to increase the versatility by adding the optional split-folding rear seat. There are five optional packages that bundles some of the more popular choices together. The Visibility Pack includes adaptive LED headlights with a wash function and high-beam assist, the Technology Pack includes a Head-Up Display, WiFi hotspot preparation, a display key, wireless charging and gesture control, while the Premium Pack adds an electric sunroof and bootlid, and comfort seats with a massage function. The M Sport Plus Pack includes an upgraded stereo system, 20-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows and a bootlid spoiler. The Comfort Pack has several features to make the car more comfortable and easier to park, while the Parking Assistant Plus now comes with surround-cameras that record 20 seconds of footage either side of an accident, should one be detected.