New BMW 530e Touring 2022 review
The revised BMW 530e Touring plug-in estate is a great family-friendly all-rounder
BMW refined the formula for its plug-in hybrid 5 Series estate with model year updates adding more tech. But fundamentally the 530e Touring is as good as ever, blending superb refinement and driving dynamics with usable all-electric range, strong efficiency and great cabin quality. Practicality takes a hit, but not by much, given the benefits elsewhere.
BMW’s 5 Series is a perennial high achiever. It recently scooped a class win and a commendation at the annual Auto Express New Car Awards – and the updated 530e Touring is one of the most appealing models in the line-up.
It mixes practicality and huge efficiency potential, not to mention great driving dynamics combined with comfort and refinement. Plus there’s the impressive infotainment and tech that have come to characterise the Bavarian firm’s best models.
We’ll start with the bodystyle, the point that defines the Touring. In estate form, the 5 Series plug-in hybrid offers 430 litres of space; it’s some way down on the regular 530 Touring’s 560 litres, but then, packaging a 12kWh battery for a claimed all-electric range of up to 32 miles (in xDrive spec) in a car that’s already been optimised when it comes to use of space isn’t easy. Compromise is a reality with a PHEV, and with this BMW, boot capacity is one that you’ll have to make to some degree.
We say that because 430 litres is actually still fair. This rises to 1,560 litres when you fold the rear seats down – a feat that takes little effort – while the large hatch (power-operated as standard across the range) and wide opening that it reveals do at least mean loading items is easy. However, the charging cables live in a bag that sits in the boot; some underfloor storage for this would be preferable.
We have very few complaints about the way the 530e Touring drives, however. The battery feeds an electric motor that, combined with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, delivers a total output of 288bhp and 420Nm of torque.
There’s a function called XtraBoost, which delivers a 39bhp hit for 10 seconds, so the 0-62mph dash takes 6.1 seconds. But it’s the refinement the electrified powertrain brings, thanks to the e-motor’s impressive standalone torque output of 265Nm, that makes the 530e so relaxing to drive.
Even on a rainy, cooler day, our test car easily topped 30 miles on electric power alone, with the added (but relatively mild) regenerative braking meaning that with a bit of anticipation, on a quiet country road you don’t have to touch the brakes, just easing off the throttle for corners with the motor working in reverse to slow the car.
Even when the petrol engine is working in conjunction with that electric motor, it’s relatively refined. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is good, and the system only gets a little clunky when it’s running low on battery power.
Despite carrying an extra 170kg of mass compared with a pure-petrol 530i Touring, this plug-in version still handles the way you’d expect a BMW to. The steering is a great weight and matches the chassis’s front-end response perfectly.
As you can see from the picture above, there is some roll, but the chassis controls this well on the whole. Besides, the initial compliance in the suspension gives the 5 Series a sweet ability to absorb bumps, so it’s a comfortable cruiser that offers a well judged balance between ride and handling.
The cabin can still cut it in 2022 as well, despite elements of the design stretching back to 2016. The benefits of this are that the 5 Series still feature knobs and buttons for its climate controls, which are intuitive to use on the move, and the firm’s iDrive click wheel still operates the infotainment system, which runs BMW’s OS 7 set-up on a good-sized 12.3-inch screen.
It’s a shame the firm hasn’t applied its latest OS 8 system here, but with other models such as the 2 Series Active Tourer, now touchscreen-only, we’d rather have this method of operation; OS 7 still works superbly well anyway. The 12.3-inch digital dash is a slick piece of tech, too, while build and material quality both feel first rate.
All M Sport models boast the aforementioned infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED lights, parking sensors, cruise control, 18-inch alloys and sharper styling, M Sport brakes and gloss-black trim. Prices are £57,325 for the rear-drive car, or £59,325 for this xDrive model, while business users will cut their Benefit-in-Kind costs by more than half by choosing the 530e over the equivalent 520d diesel.
|Model:||BMW 530e xDrive Touring M Sport|
|Engine:||2.0-litre 4cyl turbo petrol + e-motor|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive|
|Electric range:||32 miles|