BMW’s updated 5 Series is tested in 530i guise, and it introduces mild hybrid tech to create an very efficient big sedan for the likes of Singapore
Photos: Lionel Kong
Anyone remember BMW’s ‘EfficientDynamics’ label? Well, with the facelifted 5 Series here in Singapore, that label is now mainstream.
The majorly-revised BMW 5 Series large luxo sedan debuted here in Singapore in October 2020 – as usual check out our news story below for all the details.
But back to EfficientDynamics (which we will not contract into ‘ED’). Slightly over a decade ago, BMW introduced its EfficientDynamics strategy to signify a greater focus on sustainability and efficiency, bring down overall emissions and fuel consumption of their cars, but without sacrificing the driving enjoyment.
Sounds very early 2000s, but what BMW did differently was to make a handful of mildly tweaked, efficiency-focused regular models. A standout example was the 2010 520d EfficientDynamics, which could clock more than 1,000km per tank with a claimed 4.5L/100km fuel efficiency.
The EfficientDynamics models tended to be diesel and stripped down (less weight = more miles), but what’s amazing is that BMW has channeled the spirit of those cars into this, the regular, gasoline 530i.
It may only be a mid-life update, but it introduces a whole host of changes that makes it smarter and, yes, more efficient.
It achieves that through the introduction of a new 48-volt mild hybrid system that is now standard across the range. The system uses a starter generator and secondary battery to power the car’s electrical components, as well as engage with the drivetrain while cruising at speed, significantly reducing the load on the petrol engine and thereby improving fuel economy. It can even provide a additional 11hp boost of power when accelerating.
The extra oomph is not all that obviously felt, and the updated 530i is actually 0.2 seconds slower from 0-100km/h than the pre-facelift model (6.4 vs 6.2 seconds) despite having 252hp and 350Nm of torque on tap, perhaps due to the extra weight of the mild hybrid system. But there is no doubt that the 530i is hugely effective at speed, delivering its power in an exquisitely smooth and linear fashion.
Prod the throttle and you’ll suddenly find yourself up against the rear bumper of the car in front of you, just like that. It doesn’t make things dramatic, it just obeys your command at the drop of a hat with no fuss at all, helped along by an eight-speed automatic transmission that does its job slickly without making itself known, as a good automatic should.
But what’s arguably more impressive is the drivetrain’s efficiency promises. The 530i’s claimed fuel consumption figure of 5.6L/100km is actually quite achievable in the real world – we achieved sub-6.5L/100km in our real-world test drive, and that was without using the fuel-saving Eco Pro mode.
It’s because the car behaves almost like a full hybrid, down to the fact that the engine start-stop function cannot be switched off (although it is one of the less intrusive ones we’ve encountered).
To have that kind of performance matched with that level of frugality is quite remarkable indeed. With a 68-litre tank, that’s 1,046km on a single top-up, and it’s really a clear sign that a decade on, BMW has brought EfficientDynamics to most of its cars in practice, even if the label isn’t there.