In 2021 buying a non-electric car is quickly being frowned upon, but the reality is – once you ignore all the Tesla fanboys – there’s nothing on the market yet to truly entice the luxury German SUV owners into en EV – yet. Our BMW 530e review considers who this car is for and where it falls short, and where it excels.
This is a $122,900 car, with the options equipped it’s $131,990. This puts it head to head with a Tesla Model S and for a progressive buyer that’s going to be really hard work for BMW.
A Tesla is fully electric, the very type of car we’ll all own in a decade or so. But for many there’s still a concern about going electric, no matter how many times I talk about how easy it can be today, there’s still anxiety.
So, get into the gateway drug to EVs – PHEV – Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles. That’s what the BMW 530e is.
Like Flipsy, I love the idea of a PHEV. Drive literally anywhere because there’s always a petrol station, but get EV driving for your daily needs.
With a range of 42km you’d laugh if you’re in the market for an EV – but that range lasts for your daily drive, and if you go further the petrol engine kicks in.
Given most people don’t drive more than 40km a day, especially the wealthy executives buying a 5-Series, it’s possible, as I did – to drive this as an almost entirely electric car.
Plugged into a normal power point at home every day when you get home – it’s ready to go every morning with 100% charge.
It’s a quiet, smooth, electric ride.
It doesn’t have the punch to do full throttle overtakes or off-the-line tests, the petrol engine will kick in if that’s the need – but ain’t no 5-series owner concerned about that.
What matters most here is the absolute luxury that BMW brings to this price category.
Sit inside a Tesla Model S and you’ll enjoy a simplistic, minimalist approach which draws your attention to the huge centre screen.
Move across into the BMW 530e and you get the classic European Luxury, all the switches, dials, buttons that come with a classic car interior, but digitised for the modern age. A huge infotainment system, a LCD instrument cluster in the dash. For me, this is still the type of interior people want in a car, it’s familiar – not too much of a shock to the system.
In fact, for me, the BMW 530e is the exact gateway drug to EVs in every way.
The interior feels “normal”, while digitised, and the powertrain is electric, with the traditional petrol as your safety blanket.
It won’t be long until BMW buyers will have a fully electric option in this size and price range, when the market is mature enough to sell that, BMW will be ready. Until then, we have a long way to go, so the 530e is the ideal stepping stone from one lease to the next – as the case would be for any likely buyer.
To be honest, the car wasn’t as big as I remember a 5 series being, and perhaps that was most noticeable in the boot. I would have imagined fitting two sets of golf clubs, but I was only able to fit one with a fold up buggy alongside. It was certainly enough for a few bags for a family weekend away.
With $130-150,000 finance ready to buy a decent luxury sedan, I’d struggle to not consider the 530e for it’s fit, finish, ride and handling alone. I’d prefer this on some twists and turns on a country road than a Model S – any day.
BUT, with the Audi e-Tron or Mercedes Benz EQC in a close proximity price wise, i think those yearning to go electric, yet stay with the German brands actually have a heck of a lot of choice. The only thing really going for the 530e is the fact it’s a sedan. Some of us just don’t want an SUV folks:)
If electric is what you want, but BMW is what you desire – go drive the 530e in “Electric” mode and you’ll probably sign the paperwork on the spot.