Test Drives

BMW 530e review: Plugging into the future

bmw 530e price singapore review

CarBuyer has a brief but early drive of BMW’s plug-in 530e. It costs the same to buy as a normal 530i, but certainly doesn’t feel the same…

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — The first thing you notice is the noise, or rather the lack of it. Trundling along downtown Sydney traffic in a BMW 740e and later, a 530e, I’m reminded just how refined electric vehicles can be. The BMWs move off silently, as if pushed by ghosts, and pick up speed sharply, as if those ghosts work out in the gym a lot.

The 530e seems the best candidate for success in Singapore, given that it costs the same as the 530i (currently the cheapest petrol-driven 5 Series here).

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It’s so spookily quiet that when the petrol engine does wake up, it’s almost an intrusion. The 2.0-litre turbo engine that BMW uses in many of its iPerformance cars is hardly agricultural, but compared to a polite electric motor, it seems positively shouty.

The 530e has various driving modes to let you use it in different ways. Max eDrive puts the petrol engine to sleep so you can drive without emissions, while Save Battery mode does the opposite, using the petrol engine to propel the car and recharge the battery to a target level. This lets you switch back to EV mode where petrol is particularly inefficient, like in the city or during a jam.

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But Auto eDrive is the most straightforward setting, and lets the car juggle the mix between petrol and electric power by itself. In that mode, we covered a little over 30km of mixed roads and used petrol at the rate of 2.8L/100km. The car had 15km left in the battery when we left it.

Driven that way every day, a 530e should be able to cover more than 1,600km between fuel stops, even though its tank is just 46 litres in size. The average driver here would stop for petrol only once a month at that rate.

It has a smaller boot than the 530i (410 litres instead of 530 litres), but anyone with a place to charge it would probably be delighted with a 530e. That doesn’t only apply to eco warriors, either. The driving experience means the 530e could tempt buyers from the 530i not because it’s a Greener car, but because it feels like a better car.

bmw 530e review singapore price

BMW 530e

Engine 1,998cc, inline 4, turbocharged
Power 184hp at 5000-6500rpm
Torque 290Nm at 1350-4250rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
Electric Motor 113hp / 250Nm
Battery Type / Capacity Lithium ion / 9.2kWh
Charging Time / Type 2.9 hours / Charging cable 16A
Electric Range 50km
System Power / Torque 252hp / 420Nm
Top Speed 235km/h
0-100km/h 6.2 seconds
Fuel Efficiency 2.3L/100km
VES/CO2 B / 111g/km
Price $278,888 with COE
Agent Performance Motors Limited
Availability Now

Four plug-in BMWs have been launched here, with one more on the way. Their prices are surprising…

bmw iPerformance singapore

about the author

Leow Ju-Len
Leow Ju-Len is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 23 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.