Plug in Hybrid options are beginning to cascade across the entire lineup of BMW’s core offerings. BMW designates these PHEVs as the iPerformance line with the marketing tag line; “Charging is optional, thrilling is not”. The X5-40e was the first to market in October 2015, then came the 330e in March of 2016, followed by the 740e nine months later. Now, it’s the 5 Series that’s getting the “e” treatment, with the introduction of the 530e iPerformance.
BMW of North America was kind enough to allow me an exclusive extended test drive of their latest iPerformance offering. Having it for nearly three weeks, I was able to get a good feel for how well the eDrive system works, how it performed, and what to expect in terms of fuel efficiency.
The 530e iPerformance comes with a turbocharged 2-liter inline 4-cylinder engine which, along with the synchronous electric motor combine for an output of 255hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough power to propel the rear wheel drive 530e from 0-60mph in 6.1 seconds, and 5.8 seconds for the xDrive version (which I had), according to BMW. Top speed is 146 mph, and the maximum speed in all electric mode is 87 mph.
However, I noticed that the maximum speed in all electric mode diminishes as the state of charge depletes. So, while you start out with a top speed of 87 mph, it may be as low as 65 mph once the battery state of charge is under 10%.
There are three driving modes: Max eDrive, Auto eDrive and Battery Control. The car defaults to the blended mode of Auto eDrive, which combines the gas and electric power supply to increase efficiency. In Auto eDrive the car decides when it’s best to be in all electric mode, and when to blend the power. It works very well, and I was pleased to see the car wants to drive in electric mode as much as possible, and only turns on the ICE when more power is needed or when the battery SOC is low.
I found that this is probably the most efficient mode to use if you are driving long distances. If you’re going to be driving less than 40 miles, the Max eDrive mode would be the best choice. It keeps the car in all electric mode until the state of charge is depleted, and then the ICE kicks on.
Read more: Inside EVs