BMW has been long standing at the helm of sporty executive sedans; setting the benchmark with every new instalment. The G30 BMW 5 Series is no different.
We got hold of a blue G30 unit, namely the hybrid 530e, with a decent fill-up of fuel, and tested the car to see how it holds up on the road.
With prices starting from Tk 1.18 crore and climbing as options are lathered on, how does it hold up?
What is a 530e or G30 BMW 5 Series?
A seventh-generation BMW 5 series that was first launched in 2016 and received a mid-cycle refresh in 2019 or as BMW likes to call it, the Life Cycle Impulse (LCI). The "e" in the badge points at the hybrid motor paired to a 2.0 liter B48 engine.
The specs are strong; 292 HP and 420 lb/ft of torque. A big car requires big torque and this delivers, that too in a manner oh so addicting because of the low end grunt provided by the hybrid motor.
First world options for a first class car - tech
Optional extras are something buyers today care a great deal about, more so in this segment. And boy does this car have options.
Sunroof comes standard along with Parking assist, a 360 degree camera is optional but comes highly recommended, given its size.
The infotainment is fantastic, supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with a smooth interface. The voice command is quite finicky, however. We recommend sticking to Siri.
The in-built navigation does not work in Bangladesh, but Google Maps is always an option. BMW's iDrive is one of the best in the business, providing a seamless browsing experience.
Coming to the outside, soft close and auto closing boot are optional. It comes with run flat tires. In case of a puncture, one can drive 150 additional kilometers before absolutely needing to change that tire.
The suspension is adaptive, changing with the three main driving modes; hybrid, electric, and sport.
Beauty is on the inside - interior
The interior quality is immense with seats clad in brown Dakota leather. It is insanely roomy, my colleague being well over six feet had no problem making himself comfortable in the rear seats. Only one word needs describing the rear cabin space; vast.
How is it to drive?
Like a good cup of milk tea.
If this seems like an unusual analogy for a car review, let me elaborate. The milk provides viscosity; gives the ideal mouth feel for a good cuppa, which is the embodiment of the luxury and grandeur present in the 5 series.
But a good cup of tea also needs a principal note of flavor distinct to the strain of tea itself. The character, if you will, embodies the keenness in terms of driving dynamics this car possesses, despite being a mid-size sedan.
The contender in our hands happened to be the Luxury line 5 series, although an M Sport would have been ideal. The Luxury line is assertive in its movements, but it is not a sports sedan by any means. It feels zippy, which is an absurd adjective to describe a car of this acreage.
The availability of the 530e means we now get a 5er with nearly 300 HP. Previously, Executive Motors' import of choice happened to be the 520d Diesel with 190 horsepower. The extra 100 or so horsepower in the "e" makes itself known.
In hybrid mode, the BMW starts off on electric power and transitions into the petrol engine as it picks up speed. It is a rather smooth transition, something not many hybrid powertrains get right. Switching to sport mode was a hoot. The steering is heavier and throttle response is sharper.
The steering is lazy in hybrid mode, sharp in sport. The torque makes itself known early on, all the way to the top. Manual mode is fun to explore, the eight-speed transmission is geared short enough to have fun even in small bursts of acceleration.
The sport mode also pumps in engine noise into the cabin. Despite knowing the sound was fake, it did give the feel of an added sense of urgency.
It is a brilliant thing to drive. It has a nicely weighted and responsive steering feel with flat body control through the corners. The grunt is immense; this is a "QUICK" car for our roads; reaches 0 - 100 KMPH in under six seconds, but the instant torque makes it feel much more potent.
Handling is very impressive, but what is more impressive is how the car shrinks around you.
The intimidation factor of driving a big car is easily negated once you get used to the dimensions, and the sharp maneuverability means it has apt nimbleness to swerve through Dhaka's traffic. Which is also the car's biggest Achilles heel.
This car is far too big and while it serves for a large and roomy interior, it restricts where you can take the car in our narrow alley laden city without posing the risk of gaining a few new battle scars.
Factors to consider before buying it
Our test car came with 18-inch wheels with thicker sidewall tires, which is the ideal choice for Bangladesh. Bigger wheels look better, but the added unsprung mass and lack of sidewall on the tires really makes itself apparent over our unending series of uneven road surfaces.
It is a plug in hybrid which is a big factor to consider. It takes a touch over six hours to charge fully, but there is a fast charger available for a cool Tk four lakh that can juice this puppy up in two hours and 15 minutes.
So, should you buy it?
It is not a bruiser, by any means. But it is a pretty good cruiser. It is a really nice place to be in, especially from a driver's perspective.
Even if you are chauffeured around, the rear cabin space itself alludes to the fact how good of a passenger car this is, never mind the extensive attention given towards the cabin design and comfort.
Ideally, we would choose the M Sport option solely for the fact that it looks so good. The allure of the M Sport may be missing in the base and Luxury line, but it certainly does not lack the recreational aspect of driving a BMW 5 series.