Automotive

Cleaner, meaner variants broaden 5 Series appeal

Cleaner, meaner variants broad...
The BMW 530e iPerformance on the move
The BMW 530e iPerformance on the move
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Under the skin of the BMW 530e iPerformance
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Under the skin of the BMW 530e iPerformance
A look at the powertrain in the 530e iPerformance
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A look at the powertrain in the 530e iPerformance
The system uses both petrol and electric power in Auto eDrive
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The system uses both petrol and electric power in Auto eDrive
Battery control uses the petrol engine to maintain the battery charge in the 530e
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Battery control uses the petrol engine to maintain the battery charge in the 530e
The 530e's Max eDrive mode uses silent electric power only
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The 530e's Max eDrive mode uses silent electric power only
The 530e is standard BMW from the outside
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The 530e is standard BMW from the outside
Charging the 530e takes around 7 hours with a regular wall plug, or 3 with the BMW fast charger
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Charging the 530e takes around 7 hours with a regular wall plug, or 3 with the BMW fast charger
The 530e iPerformance has an all-electric range of 45 km
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The 530e iPerformance has an all-electric range of 45 km
The 530e is standard BMW from the outside
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The 530e is standard BMW from the outside
The batteries are under the rear seat in the 530e iPerformance
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The batteries are under the rear seat in the 530e iPerformance
Under the hood on the BMW 530e iPerformance
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Under the hood on the BMW 530e iPerformance
Just in case you weren't aware, the 530e iPerformance is a hybrid...
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Just in case you weren't aware, the 530e iPerformance is a hybrid...
The BMW 530e iPerformance on the move
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The BMW 530e iPerformance on the move
The 530e is standard BMW from the outside
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The 530e is standard BMW from the outside
The 530e iPerformance has an all-electric range of 45 km
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The 530e iPerformance has an all-electric range of 45 km
The 530e takes around seven hours to charge with a regular plug, or three with a fast charger
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The 530e takes around seven hours to charge with a regular plug, or three with a fast charger
The M550i is defined by its chrome details
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The M550i is defined by its chrome details
Power in the M550i comes from a turbocharged V8
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Power in the M550i comes from a turbocharged V8
The BMW M550i will hit 60 mph in less than four seconds
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The BMW M550i will hit 60 mph in less than four seconds
The M550i gets special kickplates in the cabin
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The M550i gets special kickplates in the cabin
The turbocharged V8 from the M550i xDrive
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The turbocharged V8 from the M550i xDrive
The BMW M550i xDrive
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The BMW M550i xDrive
The BMW M550i xDrive
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The BMW M550i xDrive
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The all-new 5 Series has only just launched, but BMW has already decided to expand the lineup with two new models. The company has announced the new 530i ePerformance plug-in hybrid, along with the new range-topping M550i xDrive, which is a regular 5 Series with enough grunt to make M5 owners nervous.

Petrol power in the 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid is provided by turbocharged four cylinder engine making 180 hp (134 kW), while electric power comes from a 95 hp (71 kW) motor drawing on a 9.2 kWh battery mounted under the rear seats. Charging takes seven hours using a regular wall socket, but most owners are likely to stump for a fast charger, dropping the charge time to a more palatable three hours.

Just in case you weren't aware, the 530e iPerformance is a hybrid...
Just in case you weren't aware, the 530e iPerformance is a hybrid...

Owners are able to switch between three different drive modes from the cabin, each of which changes the way power is delivered. Auto eDrive automatically decides how much electric or petrol power the car should be providing, while Max eDrive cuts out the petrol engine completely. The car will run up to 87 mph (140 km/h) with no petrol intervention, and maximum range is 45 km (28 mi) in ideal conditions with Max eDrive selected.

Finally, Battery Control lets the driver specify how much charge the battery should have, and the car will either charge it up using the petrol engine or stop the electric motor from intervening when it's been depleted to a certain level. That means you can use the petrol engine on the highway, and then choose to use e-power where it's most effective – in cities or urban areas where the speed limit is low.

At the other end of the 5 Series spectrum sits the M550i xDrive. Even though it's not quite a full M Division car, it can embarrass owners of the current F50 M5 in a straight line, thanks to its turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. With 456 hp (340 kW) of power and 651 Nm (480 lb.ft) of torque on tap, it'll hustle to 60 mph (98 km/h) in less than four seconds, and keep pulling hard all the way to the 250 km/h (155 mph) limit. Power is put to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox with ratios tuned by M Performance.

The BMW M550i will hit 60 mph in less than four seconds
The BMW M550i will hit 60 mph in less than four seconds

On the outside, the only real difference between the M550i and less exciting variants is a set of unique wheels and some extra chrome trim on the air intakes. Some people won't like the fact it's so subtle, but we think there's something appealing about the fact it doesn't shout about its performance. It's a similar story with the 530e – eco tires aside, it could be any other 5 Series from a distance.

As you'd expect, the full range of semi-autonomous driver aids from the rest of the range are available on both the 550i and the 530e. With the right option boxes ticked, the car will take care of steering, throttle and brakes up to 210 km/h (130 mph), matching the systems in the Mercedes E-Class. It'll also help drivers swerve to avoid obstacles, keep them in their lanes and park itself.

The cabins of the 5 Series additions are largely unchanged, too. Both cars come with an iDrive infotainment system as standard, and both can be specced with wireless Apple CarPlay. Although it's all neatly laid out and built to a high standard, the interior design does lack the flair of the E-Class or Volvo S90, but that seems appropriate given the subtle nature of the exterior design.

BMW hasn't announced pricing for either car, but both cars will go on sale in Q2 of 2017.

Source: BMW [1, 2]

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