BMW 330e vs BMW 530e costs

BMW makes two of the best plug-in hybrids you can buy, in the shape of the 330e executive saloon and the plusher but more expensive 530e. So, which should you choose?...

BMW 330e side panning

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

If you go by the brochure prices, the BMW 5 Series 530e is a chunky £8670 more expensive than the BMW 3 Series 330e. But factor in Target Price discounts and that gap shrinks to a more palatable £5939.

The 530e sheds value at a faster rate, though. While the 330e should retain 47% of its original price after three years, the 530e is predicted to be worth just 37%. Insurance and servicing are also more expensive on the 530e.

Fuel costs can vary greatly, depending on how you use the car. If you do mainly short trips and recharge the battery regularly, your economy could be spectacular. But if you let the battery go flat and mainly use the petrol engine, the figure will be decidedly average.

With the battery fully depleted, the 330e’s petrol engine chalked up 37.2mpg on our test route, while the 530e managed 33.1mpg. You can therefore expect to spend an extra £200 or so in petrol for the 530e every 12,000 miles, based on typical commutes of 40 miles, partly on electric power and partly on petrol. A full battery charge will cost around £1.68 in each (assuming an electricity price of 14 pence per kWh).

BMW 530e side panning

Add up all the costs you’re likely to face as a private buyer and the 530e will drain around £8000 extra from your bank account over three years.

If you’re planning to buy on PCP finance, the terms were a bit better on the 530e at the time of writing, with a low APR of 1.9% (versus 4.9%), but the 330e will still cost you around £100 less per month on a three-year deal with a limit of 10,000 miles per year.

Given that both the 330e and 530e have an official electric range of 30-39 miles and emit less than 50g/km of CO2, they currently attract a low benefit-in-kind rate of 10% for company car drivers. You’ll therefore pay just £138 a month for the 330e and £167 for the 530e (assuming you’re in the 40% tax bracket) – in other words, less than half what a diesel 320d or 520d would cost you.

Both cars come with two charging cables as standard: a Type 2 cable for plugging in to a dedicated wallbox and one with a three-pin domestic plug on the end. We’d definitely recommend getting a wallbox charger if you don’t already have one, because then you’re looking at a 3hr 24min top-up time for the 330e and 3hr 36min for the 530e. If you must use the three-pin plug, those times go up to nearly six hours.

BMW 330e vs BMW 530e costs

Both cars get a similar number of standard luxuries, with the only difference we haven’t mentioned already being that the 330e gets three-zone climate control (for the driver, front passenger and rear passengers separately) to the 530e’s two-zone setup. For those with deep pockets, the 530e’s options list is longer, though.

In the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, the BMW 5 Series was one of the best-performing luxury cars, while the BMW 3 Series was too new to be included. BMW as a brand ranked a disappointing 21st (out of 31).

When it comes to safety, it’s the newer 330e that’s better at protecting both adults and children in the event of a crash. To prevent that from happening in the first place, both cars come with automatic emergency braking, with the 330e adding lane departure warning (which is optional on the 530e). Should you want blind-spot monitors, a rear cross-traffic alert system or any other electronic assistance, you’ll need to raid the options list.


BMW 330e

BMW 330e front seats
  • Alloy wheel size - 18in
  • Climate control - 2-zone
  • Cruise control - Yes
  • Infotainment screen size - 10.3in
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto - Yes/No
  • Keyless entry/start - £990*/Yes
  • Leather/electric seats - Yes/£1700**
  • LED headlights - Yes
  • Adjustable lumbar support - £265
  • Parking sensors front/rear - Yes/Yes
  • Rear-view camera - Yes

*Part of Comfort Pack
**Part of Premium Pack

BMW 530e

BMW 530e front seats
  • Alloy wheel size - 19in
  • Climate control - 3-zone
  • Cruise control - Yes
  • Infotainment screen size - 12.3in
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto - Yes/No
  • Keyless entry/start - £695/Yes
  • Leather/electric seats - Yes/Part
  • LED headlights - Yes
  • Adjustable lumbar support - £275
  • Parking sensors front/rear - Yes/Yes
  • Rear-view camera - £375

<< Previous | Next: Our verdict >>

Page 4 of 5

Also consider