Due to its unabashed plug-in hybrid strategy, BMW doesn’t get much love from electric vehicle enthusiasts, but if there was such a thing as a plug-in hybrid fan club, oh boy, BMW would be king!
The latest news from the sporty premium brand out of Munich is that it has released a plug-in hybrid version of its X2 “Sports Activity Coupe” (SAC), the BMW X2 xDrive25e, and updated the 5 Series, including the 530e and 530e xDrive plug-in hybrids. Plug-in hybrid heaven.
The X2 xDrive25e checks a lot of boxes for modern vehicle buyers. It has ample size but isn’t a behemoth. It’s a step-into vehicle rather than a squat-into vehicle. It’s got some power (6.8 seconds to 100 km/h), but is quite efficient (thanks to the electric portion of the hybrid powertrain). It looks good.
The €47,250 price is not astronomical. The vehicle includes the 4th generation of BMW’s eDrive platform. CO2 emissions per km are 43g thanks to 13.7 kWh/100 km on the electric powertrain and 1.9 l/100 km using the fossil fuel engine. The 10 kWh battery offers 57 kilometers of range according to the current EU test cycle, surely a chunk less than that in real life.
“BMW Charging card offers convenient access to the world’s largest network of public charging stations,” BMW adds.
530e and 530e xDrive
The BMW 530e is no record smasher, but it’s been a fairly high selling plug-in car in Europe. It was the 11th best selling plug-in vehicle in Europe in 2019.
The MSRP for the 530e xDrive Sedan starts at $59,500 in the USA. The new version of the model is slightly longer, has adaptive LED headlights by default, and has a few other minor design changes.
“The 2021 BMW 530e and 530e xDrive Sedans receive enhanced performance from the latest generation of eDrive technology,” BMW writes. “A 181 hp 2.0-liter gasoline engine is complemented by a 107 hp electric drive unit, integrated into the 8-speed Steptronic transmission. When the Driving Control switch and transmission are set to SPORT, a new XtraBoost feature offers an additional 40 hp for up to 10 seconds when the throttle is depressed to the kickdown position. The combined power and torque of the new 530e and 530e xDrive Sedans is 288 hp and 310 ft-lbs of torque, an increase of 40 hp over previous 530e models.
“A high-voltage 34 Ah / 12 kWh gross (9.09 kWh net) lithium-ion battery module provides the storage capacity for electric-only and performance oriented driving.”
The 530e and 530e xDrive can accelerate to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds if using the XtraBoost functionality.
In terms of safety features, every BMW 5 Series has the following included: “Lane Departure Warning with steering correction — to keep you in the lane, Frontal collision and pedestrian warning with braking function — which allows for reaction to vehicles, stationary objects, cyclists and pedestrians, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert — which warns of possible crossing traffic when backing up, Rear Collision Preparation, Automatic High Beams and Speed limit information.” If you pay extra for the “Driving Assistance Plus Package,” you also get:
- Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Extended Traffic Jam Assist
- Lane Keeping Assistant
- Evasion Aid
- Front Cross-Traffic Alert
- Emergency Stop Assistant, “which can help guide your BMW to the shoulder and bring it to a halt in a medical emergency situation”
One neat feature I’d love to have with my Tesla Model 3 is “Remote 3D View,” which lets you look at a 3D image of your phone when parked and everything immediately around it.
Surprisingly, the car also comes with what is essentially Tesla Sentry Mode. I’d have to test them a bit in the real world to see how they compare, but they sound essentially the same. Here’s how BMW describes the feature: “The Drive Recorder, a new feature to the BMW 5 Series, uses the cameras of the various driver assistance systems to record video footage from different points around the vehicle, before storing the recordings so they can be either watched later on the Control Display when the car is stationary or exported via the USB port.”
Overall, the 5 Series seems to have many of the same features my Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus has — well, the BMW versions of them. Of course, the BMW model doesn’t have Tesla’s unique infotainment system or the “Full Self Driving” features I paid extra for. Furthermore, the Model 3 is a bit quicker. If you prefer old-school styling, think you would drive on electricity enough to not be totally irritated from the gas engine frequently kicking in, and prefer the BMW brand, the 530e looks like an appealing option.
For much more detail on the updated BMW 5 Series, check out the BMW press release.
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