At face value, the BMW 530e appears to get the same hybrid invigoration as the 330e. A single 111-hp electric motor is attached to an 8-speed automatic transmission, while ahead of it is a 2.0-liter turbo-4, detuned to 181 horsepower, that can be detached with a clutch to allow fully electric driving. Altogether, the system makes 288 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, with the top 40 hp only available in 10-second “Xtraboost” bursts.
The BMW 530e has about 181 extra pounds for a total curb weight of 4,220 lb. Transmission ratios are slightly different, and its 5.7 seconds to 60 mph is 0.1 seconds longer.
Despite the nearly identical numbers, the 530e right away felt different. As I tipped into the accelerator, the plug-in 5-Series in its default Comfort mode, as a hybrid, was more willing to provide noticeable electric torque from lower speeds, or when the gasoline engine was spinning slowly.
In short, the 530e feels more electric in its hybrid mode and plays better to electric strengths. It responds quicker to inputs in its Hybrid and Eco Pro modes and doesn’t seem as night-and-day different in Sport as the 330e had. The two power sources feel less at odds, more like a team; and in having the electric motor step out just a bit more, it makes all the difference.