BMW 530e long-term test: report 6

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 driving past petrol station

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 2620 List price £52,325 Target Price £44,583 Price as tested £59,080 Test economy 72.8mpg Official economy 156.9-201.8mpg

14 April – Economy drive

If you’re going to run a plug-in hybrid, you’ve got to plug it in regularly for it to make sense. Hardly a revelation, I know – after all, the clue is in the name – but you’d be surprised how many people don’t.

The thing is, we all lead busy lives. And because you have a petrol engine as well as an electric motor, it’s so easy to save a bit of time by just relying on the former for a bit, rather than going to the trouble of fishing the charging cable out of the boot. Then inevitably, a bit becomes a lot.

LT BMW 530e plugged in

So, how much difference does it make? Well, in real-world conditions, I’ve found my BMW 530e will average about 35mpg when running purely on petrol power. By contrast, if I plug in whenever possible, that figure rises to around 80mpg. And bear in mind, I can’t charge at home; if I could, the difference would be even bigger.

Just how much you’ll save depends on how much you’re paying for your electricity. But be in no doubt, we're not talking pocket change.

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