2017 BMW 530e iPerformance Brings the Plug To the Excellent 5-Series

2017 BMW 530e iPerformance (Aaron)

BMW completely redesigned the 5-Series sedan for the 2017 model year and the new iPerformance models bring plug-in hybrid functionality to the best-selling full-sized sedan. The expected drive dynamics of a BMW are coupled with the high efficiency of an electrified powertrain in a surprisingly excellent package with the 530e.

The manufacturer says

The new BMW 5 Series will make a mature, confidently stylish and dynamic impression at every opportunity. The formal and precise design combines presence, aesthetic appeal and functionality in equal measure.

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: BMW
  • Year, Model: 2017 530e
  • Class, Type: Full-sized sedan
  • Propulsion system: Plug-in hybrid
  • Base Price: $52,400
  • MSRP as tested: $66,760
  • Availability: Now

Overview

The 2017 BMW 530e is not the first vehicle in BMW’s iPerformance lineup of electrified vehicles, but it’s certainly a shining example of why the German carmaker seems to have a firm grasp on what a plug-in should be. Unlike other cars with a plug, BMW vehicles aim to retain all of the excellence that their gasoline-fed counterparts offer while adding the efficiency of electricity to them.

That shows up very well in the 2017 530e iPerformance. We drove both the 530i gasoline model and the 530e PHEV and were very impressed with both, but most impressed by the excellence of the plug-in.

The 2017 5-Series as a whole sees about an inch of length added and about half an inch in height put on. Yet it loses weight overall thanks to the use of high-strength steels and aluminum in its construction. That’s important as the iPerformance model weighs a couple of hundred pounds more than the gasoline version.

The 2017 BMW 530e is powered by a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is mated to an electric motor and a nine-speed automatic transmission in an all-wheel drive configuration. A total of 248 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque are on tap, with 111 pounds of that torque coming all-electric. That’s important to note as, on paper, the total output of the 530e is smaller than that on the 530i, but the power delivery in the iPerformance model is in a longer band and comes from the get-go with that electric-powered torque.

The 530e has a 9.2 kWh battery pack (lithium-ion) beneath the rear seats displacing about a third of the fuel tank and a few cubic feet of trunk space. The 2017 530e iPerformance has an all-electric range of about 20 miles (we averaged about 16) per charge at up to about 70 miles per hour.

With that electric range in mind, we were able to average 39 mpg overall in our week with the BMW 530e, which included many freeway driven miles at 75-80 mph. Suburbanites who don’t need the freeway very often will see even better fuel economy returns. Many may only rarely use the gasoline engine, in fact.

On the road, the 2017 BMW 530e iPerformance has all of the performance expected from a BMW driving machine. It handles very well, corners nicely, has good acceleration, and remains luxuriously road-hugging throughout. Those familiar with the excellent of the 5 Series will not be disappointed in the plug-in version.

What we like

Excellent fuel efficiency without compromising drive experience.

Very well-made car with plenty of style and luxury.

What we don't

Pricey compared to the gasoline variants.

Loss of trunk space and the rear seats not folding flat could dissuade some buyers.

Conclusions

The 2017 BMW 530e iPerformance may be the best of the 5 Series, offering not just an excellent drive, but also high efficiency to go along with that. In fact, the 530e has a better dynamic on the road than does the 530i, thanks largely to the lower-slung weight distribution and faster torque delivery. Its larger price tag may be mitigated with tax incentives as well.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The BMW 530e was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week. During that time, a total of over 300 miles were put on the vehicle in varied driving conditions and passenger loads.

This site follows the emergence, application and development of transportation innovation. Reference to manufacturers, makes and models, and other automotive-related businesses are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by FutureCars.com.