Mid-sized luxury: 2021 BMW 530e
What is it?
A mid-sized luxury sedan aimed at carrying people quickly and comfortably, and look great while doing it. The current generation just had its Life Cycle Impulse — known to the rest of the industry as a facelift — so we took one out for a drive to see what's what.
Not much, and that's good. The G30 was a rebirth of good-looking beamers, and the changes retain most of the charm. The new front grille fins are sharper and backed up with automatic shutters that open and close depending on the car's cooling needs. The front bumper received a minor redesign while the exhaust tips have been given a trapezoidal finish along with the new rear bumper. The design of both the front and rear lamps has been tweaked a bit and now spots a more minimalist design language. All in all, it's the same 5 series we fell in love with five years ago, just slightly refreshed to keep up with time.
That said, fans of the aggressive body kits can take comfort in knowing the M Sport package is available as an option.
The biggest change that came with the facelift is the powertrain. The new 5 is a hybrid, as denoted by the "e" in its name. The hybrid system can be broken down into two parts. The first is the 2.0 liter B48 TwinPower Turbo engine, making 184Hp. The other is an 80 kW/109Hp electric drive unit mounted in the rear, where the spare tire would be. Combined, the motors deliver a total of 293 Hp and 420 nm of torque, all of it sent to the rear wheel through an 8-speed Steptronic gearbox. In addition to the enormous torque, BMW claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 1.7–1.8 liter per 100/km, making it the most economical of all the engines offered in the 5 series.
As typical with a car with two types of motor, the car comes with two fuel doors. The petrol cap is located where you expect it to be, while the electric charging port is located on the passenger side front fender. The provided charger can fully recharge the batteries in 6 hours, though Executive Motors offers an optional high-speed charger for 4 lacs that cuts down charging time to just 2.15 hours.
Opulent, as typical of a BMW. Every surface of the car is covered in premium material, that looks and feels good to the touch. The car we got to drive had the "Luxury Line" trim and was finished in Dakota leather. The glossy finish on the wood bits has been swapped for a matte one, meaning the facelift is less of a fingerprint magnet compared to the old model. One new feature is the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, a voice command feature that manages various vehicle functions. Like most other voice assistants in the market, the system was not programmed with all the various accents present in the APAC region, so pay extra attention to your pronunciation when issuing a command. The car's 8 factory speakers are perfectly fine for normal ears, though audiophiles might have to go for the optional Harmann Kardon system with up to 16 speakers.
Finally, to compensate for the lack of a spare tire, BMW has fitted all four wheels with run-flat tires, giving you plenty of time to reach a tire shop in the event of a leak.
But all these are irrelevant because you do not buy an "ultimate driving machine" for its luxury feature, you buy it for the driving experience.
Painful if you're unprepared. The 420 nm of torque will slam your unprepared neck to the headrest as you unwillingly shout out expletives, along with all the air in your lungs. The six seconds it took for the car to reach triple digits will be both the longest and shortest in your life. As you slam the brakes, the perfectly balanced chassis will come to a graceful stop, leaving you confused about how fast you were going. Afterward, you will smile like an idiot for a solid minute then do it again. As you quickly take a sharp corner, you will discover the 530e behaves extremely well for a car of its size, as the dynamic suspension keeps the car planted to the ground. At the end of it all, you will message your pulled neck muscles and wonder what laws of physics the Germans had to break to make something this large so quick.
Pretty much what we said before. The 5-series may look like a 7-series, but it doesn't drive like one. It's elegant, comfortable, and fast, very fast. It is the closest you can get to buying an M car in this country, short of actually importing one. For all its recent fumbling, the Bavarian company still knows how to make the ultimate driving machine, and this car is living proof of that.
Engine: 2.0 liter B48 TwinPower Turbo hybrid powertrain (293 combined HP, 420 Nm of torque)
Transmission: Eight-speed Steptronic, RWD
Safety: 6 airbags, ABS, Traction Control, first aid kit, Parking Assistant Plus, rearview camera.
Features: Four-zone automatic climate control, ambient lighting, sunroof, daytime running lights with LED lighting, BMW i-Drive infotainment system, Power leather seats with memory and adjustment, wireless smartphone integration, multiple USB ports.
Options: BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, M-sport package, BMW Display Key, Harmann Kardon sound system with up to 16 speakers, powered tailgate, soft close doors, 360 degree camera, multiple interior leather/wood grades and colors, multiple exterior colors.
Price: Starting from TK 1.18cr
For details on all available options and pricing, contact Executive Motors Ltd.
Photos: Ahbaar Mohammad