BMW 330e vs BMW 530e interiors

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 3 Series interior

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Despite their premium prices, neither car comes with full electric seat adjustment as standard; the BMW 3 Series 330e’s are entirely manual unless you opt for the £1700 Premium Package, while the BMW 5 Series 530e’s are electric apart from fore and aft adjustment and are much easier to adjust because of this. It’s also disappointing that neither car comes with adjustable lumbar support, although this can be added for a reasonable £265 on the 330e and £275 on the 530e.

Both driver’s seats have plenty of adjustment, although the 530e’s larger chairs are more cosseting on a long journey. Heated front seats are standard on both.

Used BMW 5 Series Saloon 2017-2023 interior

Visibility is pretty good no matter which car you’re in, helped on the 330e by a standard rearview camera (a £375 option on the 530e). Both come with front and rear parking sensors, plus they have powerful LED headlights (adaptive in the case of the 330e, so the beam of light changes depending on your speed to better illuminate the road).

Configurable digital instrument panels are standard in both cars, but they can’t show the same variety of information as the equivalents from Audi, for example, and aren’t as legible.

More impressive is the quality of the materials, with each car featuring plenty of soft-touch plastics and leather trimmings. That said, the 530e’s slightly richer mix of materials, with fewer scratchy plastic surfaces, makes it that bit classier.

Infotainment systems

BMW 330e

BMW 3 Series infotainment

The 330e’s system is a joy to use, with a crisp, clear 10.3in touchscreen and straightforward menus. Interacting with it on the move is a doddle, thanks to a rotary controller between the front seats, and the high-mounted screen is easy to see at a glance. Wireless Apple CarPlay phone mirroring is standard but can be temperamental. As in the 530e, Android Auto isn’t available, although it’s coming.

BMW 530e

BMW 5 Series Saloon 2019 infotainment RHD

Apart from having a slightly bigger display (12.3in), this system is very similar to the 330e’s and no less brilliant, responding promptly to inputs and being intuitive to use. It comes with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity and voice control as one of the ways of interacting with it (along with the rotary controller, touchscreen and optional gesture control, all found in the 330e, too).

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