BMW this week continues its commitment to electric vehicles by introducing the 530e iPerformance sport sedan. The 530e is BMW’s sixth plug-in vehicle overall and the company’s first plug-in available in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The 530e nicely fills a gap in the company’s lineup by adding a plug-in electric option to the 5 Series. Other plug-ins from BMW include:
- 330 iPerformance;
- 740e xDrive iPerformance; and
- X5 xDrive40e iPerformance.
The 530e’s 9.2 kWh (nameplate) battery is installed under the rear seat, providing full use of the trunk and a flat load compartment floor.Charging the battery from empty to full takes less than 7 hours using a residential 120 volt outlet, and less than 3 hours using a 7.2 kW Level 2 charger.
The eDrive electric motor, which produces 95 hp and a maximum torque of 184 lb-feet, powers the rear wheels in the rear-wheel drive variant, and all four wheels in the all-wheel drive variant. Combined with a gasoline-powered 4-cylinder TwinPower Turbo combustion engine, the 530e’s overall system output is expected to be 248 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Preliminary testing indicates the 530e will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 130 mph.
The 530e’s all-electric driving range under normal conditions is expected to be approximately 15 miles. This distance accounts for a strong percentage of weekday commuting miles (particularly valuable in traffic, because idling and stop-and-go driving uses very little battery power), as well as a good bit of around-town driving on the weekends.
As with the 740e, the 530e’s eDrive button allows the driver to select the following electric-drive modes: AUTO eDRIVE, MAX eDRIVE, and Battery Control.
AUTO eDRIVE, which is automatically activated when the vehicle starts up, is designed to dynamically determine the optimal combination of the combustion engine and electric motor to provide the best possible effect in terms of both efficiency and dynamics. To minimize tailpipe emissions in local driving, AUTO eDRIVE defaults to all-electric mode at low and moderate speeds. In this mode, the combustion engine only joins in at highway speeds (preliminarily 56 mph) or under heavy throttle applications.
MAX eDRIVE would be used by a driver wishing to drive in all-electric mode. With this setting, the combustion engine will remain off unless the accelerator is floored.
The Battery Control setting is a very interesting feature. Battery Control offers the ability to *prevent* the vehicle’s usage of the battery, forcing the use of the combustion engine while maintaining a battery charge level of between 30 and 100 percent. The purpose of holding back (or even increasing) stored electric energy, for example while on the highway when electric mileage is poor compared to electric mileage at slow speeds, is to deploy the electric energy later in a journey, for efficient and tailpipe-emission-free driving on local roads after exiting a freeway.The new BMW 530e iPerformance comes with an extensive range of assistance systems which can be used in conjunction of eDrive mode, including:
- iDrive 6.0 (navigation, phone, entertainment), Intelligent Voice Assistant, and BMW Gesture Control
- Blind Spot Detection / Active Lane Keeping Assistant with Side Collision Avoidance & Traffic Jam Assistance
- Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go
- Active Driving Assistant Plus / Evasion Aid
- BMW Connected Onboard
- Surround View and Remote 3D View
- ParkNow and On-Street Parking Information
The 2018 BMW 5 Series iPerformance will be available at U.S. dealers in spring 2017. Pricing will be announced closer to market launch.