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PLUGGING THE 5 SERIES (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
The plug-in hybrid 530e version of BMW's 5 Series model aims to offer a credible alternative to diesel power in the full-Executive segment. Jonathan Crouch sees what's watt.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 67
The 530e is the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid version of BMW's hugely successful 5 Series model. With 252hp on tap, yet able to return up to 201.8mpg, it may prove to be the perfect choice for some Executive-level company buyers. Retaining all the luxury of the standard car, but packed with clever electrified technology, the 530e falls under BMW's iPerformance banner, which brought us the i3 and i8.
Backgroundword count: 99
This seventh generation version of BMW's Executive-segment 5 Series contender is the first to get plug-in hybrid technology. It's a big step forward from the non-Plug-in engineering that featured in the previous MK6 range's disappointing ActiveHybrid5 model. Certainly, the fuel and CO2 figures of this 530e variant look promising, though whether they'll be remotely achievable in normal day-to-day use is of course another question. Perhaps an even bigger question s whether plug-in technology is merely a stopgap solution until hydrogen fuel cell cars hit the market in a few years time. If it is, it's a very tempting one.
Driving Experienceword count: 188
Enthusiasts have bemoaned the fact that BMW's traditionally perfect 50:50 weight distribution has been lost with this car. Here, it's actually 47% front and 53% rear instead. That of course is down to the unusual mechanicals, a 182bhp four cylinder 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine mated to a 111bhp electric motor powered by a 9.2kWh battery pack under the rear seats. It all produces a combined output of 252hp and drives through the usual 8-speed automatic gearbox, with 62mph possible from rest in just 6.1s. The top speed is 146mph - or 87mph on all-electric power alone. There's an energy management system that ensures a seamlessly and efficient transition between the petrol and electric motors. When braking, the car can harvest kinetic energy, which is the used to help recharge the batteries. Most of the time, you'll be driving the car in its 'Auto eDrive' mode which sorts out the ratio of electrified or fuel-driven motoring (depending on trim variant, there's up to 36 miles of battery-driven progress possible if everything's been charged up). If you want to keep things in milkfloat mode, there's a 'Max eDrive' mode option.
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Category: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen
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