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 Leisure

More hybrids with the new BMW 530e Sport

27th January, 2018

By ASWAN YAP

Hybrids are coming to Malaysia in with full force. Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and BMW are all starting to increase their offerings when it comes to the hybrid market, and that’s even before we consider models such as those from Honda at the entry-level end of the market.

Although many manufacturers are already moving towards ‘electrification’ of their models, one reason for this increasing number of hybrid models is due to incentives by the government for locally-assembled energy efficient vehicles (EEVs). This offsets production costs and enables retail prices to be lower.

BMW Group Malaysia, like some other companies, gets these incentives which they have use for their latest model – the 530e Sport. Ironically, this makes it the cheapest 5-Series variant you can get – with the most performance (within the Malaysian range), in spite of having advanced technology.

This is a 5-Series, as the name suggests, but it comes with a hybrid powertrain instead of a petrol or diesel powertrain. The ‘30e’ indicates that it’s powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-4, paired with an electric motor and a substantial battery pack.

This would be the fifth hybrid vehicle launched by BMW Malaysia since the introduction of the iPerformance, joining the 330e, 740Le xDrive, the X5 xDrive40e, and the i8. This is a more extensive electric product portfolio than what the other German brands offer in terms of hybrid vehicles.

252 bhp and 420 Nm of torque allows this mid-sized sedan to hit 100 km/h from a standstill in just 6.2 seconds, with a top speed of 235 km/h. And all of this is done with an average fuel efficiency of up to 50 kms a litre (all BMW’s claims)!

Even for a hybrid, this consumption figure is a pretty big claim. The figure is only achievable if you fully utilize the plug-in capabilities of the car that keep its battery charged. With a full battery charge, the 530e Sport can travel up to 48 kms in all-electric mode, with a top speed of 140 km/h.

How long does it take to charge the car? After all, you don’t have time to wait around if it’s going to take half a day, and pumping a tank full of petrol is a lot faster than waiting for a battery to charge. If you’re at home, BMW Malaysia provides a iWallbox which reduces charge time to approximately 3 hours – provided your house is capable of installing it.

There is also the option of charging outside using the i AC Fast Charging Cable that’s 3 times faster than a standard charging cable, although BMW still doesn’t mention how long it would take using a normal 3-pin outlet to charge your car.

Even with all of this technology and performance, what most people will see in the 530e Sport is its value for money. As we’ve seen many times over, the majority of customers in this segment are not so concerned with outright speed and outright efficiency – they prioritize luxury and comfort and features, and thankfully the 530e Sport delivers on that as well.

Let’s not forget that it is still the latest, and arguably greatest, version of the 5-Series line. It sits on the latest CLAR platform shared with the 7-Series, although without the carbon core backbone.

If you’re more tech savvy, you can even operate certain functions of the 530e Sport remotely using your smartphone. It’s not quite James Bond level of controls where you can drive the car remotely (although BMW and other luxury brands are working on this). Instead, you can remotely control the air-conditioning and monitor battery charge levels from afar using the BMW Connected app. There are usually other services you could exploit via the app, but our infrastructure and market isn’t quite ready for them yet.

For now, the 530e is only available with this Sport line option, meaning it has the more aggressive looking exterior trim pieces in the form of LED headlights, daytime running lights, a high-gloss black front bumper, as well as two exhaust tips flanking the rear diffuser, and 19-inch alloy wheels.

It’s all to make the 530e look a little more agile and sporty, and I can’t argue that it’s a good look for the car. If you were hoping that it appears more like a 7-Series in terms of class and luxury, then this may not be quite the sedan for you.

The price of the BMW 530e Sport is a very appealing RM 343,800 (excluding insurance in Peninsular Malaysia), and it comes with a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty, a free scheduled service program, and a tyre warranty program.

   
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