Twin Test
Motor|July 2017

530e HEAD>

Ranjan Alles

 

 

The much hyped, long awaited and eagerly anticipated 7th generation BMW five series code named G30 is finally here. They say when it rains it pours, though drought stricken Sri Lankans have yet to experience that, in terms of the new 5 series we are indeed privy to loads of the new 5s in various configurations, hues and guises, thanks to Bavarian Motors (Pvt) Ltd who have been at the forefront in importing pioneering models to the market, such as the fearsome Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio which I had the honour of testing for Motor. When wondering what more BMW could do to improve the already best-selling F10 series along comes this iteration looking gorgeous and tech laden with a plethora of mind boggling features never before seen in a car in this segment. With 7.9 million sold globally since its inception the 5 series has been the preferred executive chariot for most and if this iteration is anything to reckon with those numbers will certainly improve exponentially. This is a twin comparo test and will feature the new G30 530i and the 530e which is the hybrid version from the I performance range, BMWs electric propulsion division. This is the first 5 series plug in hybrid and is a bit late to the party as BMW has already introduced many plug in hybrids both upstream and downstream of the 5.

Design, Engine & Features

At first glance you could mistake this for a new 7 series, and in any event from an external styling point of view its not a great departure from the F10.The progression from the E39 to the E60 and onwards to the F10 were very revolutionary but the transition from F10 to G30 is more evolutionary in styling terms only. However that’s where the comparison ends its 36mm longer, 6mm wider and 2mm taller than the F10 and is larger than the 2001 model of the 7, yet it manages to be lithe and athletic and is 100kg lighter than the F10. It is what you get thereafter on the inside and outside that propels this car to the top of the heap. It is a veritable minefield of technology and is a totally connected car which will make any busy head honchos’ life easy. The obvious visual differences are the very, very large active Kidney grilles which merge into the very arty and designer styled full LED adaptive headlights. The kidneys now have active flaps that work in conjunction with engine temps to keep the engine bay at optimum working temperatures. So forget fiddling with cheap E-bay replacement grilles. The adaptive lights are another tech laden feature with a 500 metre range *(see technology guide) and worth a separate article. The fog lights too are LED, as are the beautifully sculpted L shaped rears. The front fenders have two side air vents that act as exits for air vented from the front bumper to keep the huge brakes cooled. The hybrid has the additional slot for the plug in charger in addition to the fuel filler and a few additional blue badging and a few discreet blue inserts in the kidneys. Both versions tested are in M sport spec and comes with the 19 inch double spoke M alloys. The headlights in the plug –in version also have a slight blue tinged strip, and as far as external giveaways go that’s about it. There are four exhaust tail pipe trim shapes used by BMW namely round, trapezoidal, rectangular and quartet depending on engine size and model, but for the M sport versions it is the last style that’s on offer.

The engine is the proven and tested 4 cylinder 16 Valve turbo charged petrol unit designated twin power turbo due to its use of a single twin scroll turbo developing 250 BHP in the 530i and by some electronic skullduggery and clever software the same engine is tuned to 184 bhp in the hybrid, which additionally gains another 70 bhp from its single electric motor. The combined BHP for the hybrid is rated at 250 BHP, as a few BHP disappear in the calculation to convert electric motor power output into the petrol drive train, so there is hardly anything to choose between the two on paper in terms of power. The cars are equipped with the optional technology package which gives access to a tablet styled display key fob, from which you can control many inputs like aircon, automatic parking and retrieve info like balance charge available for the hybrid etc. The auto parking maneuvers are surreal and appear like something out of an Arthur C Clarke scifimovie.

You can even move the car forward and backwards driverless by scrolling on the key fob. The car is also equipped with a wifi hotspot for five devices, and wireless phone charging and with the BMW phone app installed boss man could have full access to all the connected functions of the car from his office via his smart phone. He can also access the 360 degree park vision 3D cameras to ensure that no one is blocking his exit path from the cool of his office prior to departure, this is but a small dose of what’s possible in terms of technology. Every other conceivable option is available and I am only attempting to provide a sampling of the more advanced and new versions on offer.

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