BMW 530e long-term test: report 2

Following a recent facelift, the plug-in hybrid BMW 530e promises punchy performance and a longer electric range. We're living with one to see if it delivers...

LT BMW 530e talking heads Car of the Year shoot

The car BMW 530e M Sport Run by Steve Huntingford, editor

Why it’s here We want to know if this luxurious saloon really gives buyers the best of both worlds

Needs to Combine outstanding comfort and refinement with strong performance and good real-world fuel economy

Mileage 1840 List price £52,325 Target Price £44,583 Price as tested £59,080 Test economy 79.8mpg Official economy 156.9-201.8mpg

25 January – Award winner

‘You were right.’

No matter how confident you are about a call you’ve made, it’s always reassuring to find out that others agree with it. So, I couldn’t help but be pleased when, during the judging for our recent Car of the Year Awards, the consensus in the room was that the BMW 530e is the best luxury car currently on sale.

Okay, there are more opulent choices for those willing to spend mega money, but the latest 5 Series is comfortable, quiet and classy enough to shame plenty of full-on limos. And thanks to its tiny CO2 emissions, the plug-in hybrid 530e version makes these qualities surprisingly affordable – at least for company car drivers.

Luxury Car of the Year - BMW 5 Series

Taking my car up to Bicester Heritage so it could take part in the photography and filming that accompanies the awards showed off some of these strengths.

Before I even set off, I was able to use the pre-heat function to ensure that I was getting into an interior that was toasty warm even though the weather outside was bitterly cold. And then the car’s ability to travel a healthy distance purely on electric power (37 miles officially; more like 20 in winter weather) meant the only sound I heard as I trundled through town was The Dave Berry Breakfast Show.

LT BMW 530e drive mode buttons

Things weren’t much noisier on the motorway, with the engine running, because this 2.0-litre petrol unit is impressively hushed at a cruise, and the 5 Series does a brilliant job of keeping wind and road noise at bay.

What’s more, the high-speed ride manages to be both supple and controlled, and the user-friendly infotainment system meant I could switch between phone calls and radio stations, and zoom in and out of the sat-nav map, with ease.

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