By Peter Perrotta
The future is now.
Like it or not – and I have some friends who don’t like it one bit – but within 5 to 10 years the gasoline burning car will be a thing of the past.
The automotive consumer will only be able to purchase new cars or trucks that offer rechargeable electric motors that give off zero air polluting emissions.
If you don’t believe that you are sadly mistaken.
Every major auto manufacturer is currently making plans to make the switch and pumping billions of dollars into building factories that will produce these mass market electric vehicles.
Ford’s electric only car producing plant is already open in Dearborn and other manufacturers have them as well.
In order to phase-in this innovative “green” concept, we have a lot of manufacturers who are already weaning their consumers on to the thought of this by offering up hybrid versions of vehicles that can perform multi-functions on this playing field.
Enter the 2021 BMW 530e Sedan. This innovative sedan, a staple in the BMW lineup since 1972, can be driven as a gas engine car, in hybrid mode – which switches back and forth between gas and electric on an as needed basis – or as a pure plug-in electric.
The editors at Car and Driver said “that may seem like a restaurant menu item that’s attempting to marry too many styles of cuisine into one dish.”
The operative word there is “seem.” While it may seem, at first blush, that that may be true. In fact, it isn’t.
I recently popped behind the wheel of the 2021 BMWe Sedan for one week and I must say all of this technology works quite well.
Moreover, this M Sport package enhanced sedan that I drove loses none of its traditionally sporty BMW luster. It remains a thrill to drive – offering a great combination of performance handling and luxury.
How does it all work?
The $70,485 530e sedan I tested for one week features a 181 horsepower 2.0 liter gasoline engine complemented by a 107 horsepower electric drive unit all integrated with a smooth shifting 8-speed Steptronic transmission.
Moreover, when you shift the driving control switch – located on the center console – to “Sport” you get to select a new “X-tra boost” feature that offers up an additional 40 horsepower for up to 10 seconds when the throttle is depressed to the kickdown position.
Thus, the combined horsepower of the new 530e is 288 horsepower at 310 pound feet of torque – an increase of 40 horsepower over previous 530e models.
Additionally, a high voltage lithium-ion battery module is on board to provide storage capacity for electric only driving.
This truly is a versatile vehicle.
The base price of the rear wheel drive model I tested is $57,200.
Added options on the tester included: $2,500 for the M Sport Package; $1,850 for the premium package; $1,700 for driver assistance plus; $1,000 for a luxury seating package; $800 for a parking assist package; $500 for a shadowline package; $650 M Sport brakes; $190 for a heated steering wheel; $2,500 for Ivory White Nappa leather; $500 for Phytonic Blue Metallic paint and $995 for destination and delivery.
According to the EPA estimates, this vehicle gets a combined 26 miles per gallon city and highway driving when its driven as a gasoline only vehicle.
The EPA also estimates that it can get a whopping 64 miles per gallon when driven as a combined electric and gas vehicle on a three hour charge.
The EPA estimates that the annual average fuel cost of driving the 530e to be a very impressive $1.450.
When fully charged this 530e has an “all electric” range of 21 miles.
There’s the rub folks. Thus far, my experience with pure electric vehicles has been somewhat positive. However, currently, you have to spend too much time at the charging station and the range of these vehicles if you are using the pure electric mode is limited.
I’m all for a world of zero emissions automobiles, but, truth be told, in order for the general automotive motoring public to fully embrace this new all electric technology, the car makers are going to have to find out a way to recharge these electric vehicles faster.
On top of that, once fully charged, these pure electric vehicles are going to have to have a much larger driving range then what’s currently available on the market.
My guess is, they will figure out a way to get it done.
According to the EPA’s fuel economy and environment ratings this version of the 530e gets an 8 out of 10 rating for fuel economy and greenhouse gas ratings and a 7 out of 10 smog rating.
Overall, beyond all of the dizzying aspects of the new powertrain technology, this BMW still behaves like a thoroughbred BMW. It’s smartly designed, sporty, fun to drive and luxurious at the same time.
The 2021 BMW 5 series is the 7th generation of the 5 series sedan. The exterior of the 2021 features a new kidney grille with resculpted headlamps. The new grille is taller and wider.
While most of the exterior and interior dimensions remain the same for 2021, the 2021 5 series sedan is 1.2 inches longer.
The M Sport package benefits from redesigned front and rear bumpers, larger front air intakes with mesh inserts and a re-sculpted rear diffuser panel.
The interior of the 2021 5 series now features an almost two-inch larger digital instrument display touchscreen for controlling navigation, music, phone and almost all other car functions.
I find BMW’s iDrive 7 touchscreen and voice controlled system to be one of the best around once you get to what could seem at first to be a confusing system.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears weekly. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.