Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is widely acknowledged as a stepping-stone to full electric and its appeal has rocketed due to the dramatic reductions in mileages seen during the Covid pandemic.
With home working, the majority of journeys can be undertaken on electric with the comfort blanket of a petrol (or diesel) engine should drivers need to travel further. No surprise, then, that registrations of PHEVs soared by 91% last year to take 4% of the market (2019: 1.5%).
Our new BMW 530e fits perfectly into this setting, offering up to 34 miles of electric-only range, which can be charged in 3.5 hours at 3.7kW (hopefully quicker using the supplied 7.4kW cable with my Pod Point home charger).
Importantly, benefit-in-kind is just 10% (£2,138 a year for a 40% taxpayer on our £53,455 test car – excl. options), compared to 30% (£5,225) for an equivalently equipped 520d M Sport. From April 2021, BIK rises to 11%.
There are wins for the company, too, with a £205 saving on first year VED, and £1,054 on Class 1A national insurance. We’ll delve into the running cost details in a subsequent review.
Official emissions for the 530e xDrive M Sport, according the Fleet News Car Tax Calculator, range from 38-48g/km depending on spec; our car hits the upper limit of 48g/km. However, it makes no different to the BIK as the threshold is 50g/km.
So, what is adding the addition weight, or affecting efficiency? We could point the finger at the Sport Pro Pack with its 20-inch run-flat wheels (standard spec is 19-inch, but you can option down to 18-inch), although the official word from BMW is that larger wheels don’t always mean more weight or less efficiency, particularly with the work it is doing on aerodynamics.
A word of advice: you can check the exact CO2 figures for your desired spec via the configurator on BMW’s website.
Our 530e also comes loaded with the Technology Pack (including gesture control and head-up display), Comfort Pack (heated steering wheel, powered boot – it adds 1g/km), sunroof, split-folding rear seats (an optional £395 – not standard!) and Parking Assistant Plus, adding almost £11,500 to the final P11D price of £64,930 (BIK on the full price is £2,597 a year, or £216 a month).