A few months after BMW announced its new mild hybrid 5 Series and pure-electric i5, the regular range is now complete with the arrival of the £59,445 530e and £76,605 550e xDrive plug-in hybrids – arguably the best all-rounders in the range.
The 550e xDrive delivers a mixture of performance and cheap running costs you’ll struggle to argue with. Its combination of a 3.0-litre straight-six engine and an electric motor hidden in the eight-speed automatic gearbox produce headline figures of 489PS (360kW) and 700Nm (516lb-ft) of torque.
Factor in xDrive four-wheel drive, and the 550e is good for 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph – figures an M5 would have been proud of not too long ago (and an M5 can’t travel up to 56 miles on battery power alone). Its pure electric range makes the 550e cheap to run if you have a short commute and can charge the car at home.
BMW squeezes out as much range as possible by optimising the cars’ aerodynamics and fitting adaptive brake force recuperation, which takes account of road conditions and traffic.
Powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine with a 184PS (135kW) electric motor, the 330e produces 299PS (220kW) and 450Nm (332lb-ft) of torque for 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 143mph or 87mph in pure electric mode, the same as the 550e. The 530e can travel up to 62 miles on battery power.
Both models have a 19.4kWh battery that can be charged at speeds of up to 7.4kW for a 0-100 per cent charge in 3 hours 15 minutes using a home wall charger. Improved packaging also means the plug-in hybrids have the same 520-litre boot capacity as the regular models.
The plug-in hybrid models get extended equipment next to their mild-hybrid siblings, including 19-inch alloy wheels and BMW IconicSounds Electric for drive sounds created by Hans Zimmer in pure-electric mode.
The 550e xDrive Sedan adds to that list with Adaptive Chassis Professional, which includes lowered suspension, adjustable dampers and active steering. The latter makes the car more manoeuvrable at low speeds and agile at high speeds. Finally, inside, you get BMW’s interaction bar that encircles you in crystalline light.