During the MCO, BMW Malaysia launched the BMW 530e LCI, which is the updated version of the 5-series. LCI also known as Life Cycle Impulse, is BMW’s moniker to indicate their updated models. With the latest 5-series, BMW has given the car a sharper look and new technology to make the car more appealing. In Malaysia, the updated 5-series comes in 2 different variants, the 530i and 530e.
For the exterior, the 530e that we have here is the hybrid variant of the 2 different models. The front of the updated car comes with redesigned headlights and front bumper, while the taillights received some make over as well. At all corners, the new 19-inch rims further enhanced the sporty look of the car. As for tyre sizes, the 530e gets 245/40 profile tyres upfront and 275/35 profile tyres at the rear to make the car more stable while driving. Overall, I really like the changes that BMW has done to the 5-series, making it look so much sportier than before.
Stepping on board, the interior of the updated 530e stays pretty much the same as the pre-facelift car. It has comfortable and supportive front and rear seats. On the flip side, the 410L boot space is definitely smaller than the 530i. The main reason behind it is because of the hybrid battery underneath the boot that eats into the boot capacity.
The biggest update for the interior comes in the form of technology, where we see the increase in size of the infotainment screen and instrument cluster. Starting with the instrument cluster, it is now a 12.3″ unit that looks more modern than before. Gone are the 2 physical rings that were on the previous cluster, and it has been replaced with a full screen setup. The new instrument cluster looks much cleaner and clearer, and of course it fits the current BMW interior.
Moving on to the infotainment, it now features systems such as the Parking Assistant Plus with surround view camera, Reverse Assistant, over-the-air updates, and many more. Let’s take a closer look at the features that I find interesting.
Firstly, the new infotainment screen is now the same size as the instrument cluster. BMW has officially included the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity function, and it’s connected to the infotainment wirelessly.
Next on, it’s the new 3D surround view camera. This allows the driver to see the surroundings of the car in a 3D format, which helps the driver to identify obstacles when maneuvering in tight spaces.
The updated 530e also features the reverse assistant function, which was 1st introduced in the current generation 3-series. This function will record up to 40m of forward travel distance, and will then automatically trace back the travelled distance safely, and all the driver has to do is to control the acceleration and braking while reversing.
Other notable functions on the updated 530e include the NFC function, where the owner has the ability to turn their smart phone into the car key. The car also features the auto lock and unlock function, where the car will lock and unlock itself automatically based on the distance between the car key and the car. And lastly, the software for the infotainment will now be updated over the air (OTA), so that customers will not have to visit their closest BMW dealers to keep the software and maps up to date.
As for the powertrain, the 2.0L turbocharged 4 cylinder engine has been retained from the pre-facelift car, but the updated car will come with a bigger battery, to give the new 530e up to 67km range on electricity only. Using the Xtraboost function, the performance for the 530e will be further bumped up to the full 292PS for a short amount of time, while the torque is fixed at 420Nm. This powertrain can help push the updated 530e from 0-100km/h in just 5.9 seconds, and reach a top speed of 235km/h. This powertrain is paired with an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission.
The 530e driving experience can be determined through the different drive modes. When switching around between drive modes, the system will change the settings for the powertrain, suspension, and steering. The difference is obvious when you’re driving on twisty roads, but not so much when you’re in the city.
In the comfort, eco, and adaptive mode, the car is configured to provide the most comfortable and easiest driving experience. In this mode, the powertrain mainly utilises the battery power “when available” to provide the best efficiency to the driver. The adaptive suspension is on the softer side, and the steering is also lighter and less direct, which is good for maneuvering around town.
As for the sport mode, which is also my favourite mode, the car became more agile yet planted at the same time. The powertrain will now emphasize using the combustion engine, while the electric motor will assist the engine when it’s necessary. In this drive mode, the adaptive suspension is now stiffer, and the steering wheel is more direct and focused, to provide the driver with maximum confidence when driving the car.
Being a hybrid vehicle, the 530e uses the combination of electric motor and physical brakes to slow down the vehicle. This can be felt through the brake pedal where in the 1st half of the brake travel, the electric motor will provide the retardation in order to slow down the car, while turning the kinetic energy into electricity to be stored in the battery. After the midway point, I can feel that the physical brakes start kicking in to provide additional stopping force to slow down the vehicle. In terms of braking performance, the brakes are sufficient to bring the almost 2 ton vehicle to a stop.
In the safety department, the updated 530e may not have the whole host of driver assistant features similar to the 530i, but I think it’s passable for any modern day vehicle. For the regular safety system, the 530e gets 6 airbags, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), Anti Lock Braking System (ABS), and Brake Assist(BA). For driver assistance, there are Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Warning, Front Collision Warning with brake intervention, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Rear Collision Prevention.
The updated 530e is definitely a very appealing vehicle considering that it is priced at RM 317,533.94, I really like the changes that BMW has made to the 5-series, giving it a new lease of life. I enjoy the tech fest that was available in the updated 530e, and the hybrid powertrain is a very balanced powertrain that suited Malaysian roads. It gives drivers the ability to save fuel in town, yet turning into a driver’s car when needed. But for those owners who prefer to have additional premium features, there is the 530i to be considered as it adds on adaptive cruise control, laser headlights, sunroof, and premium audio.
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