5 Reloaded: Driving the BMW LCI G30 Mild Hybrid 530i M Sport

You might not notice it at first sight but this is the latest iteration of BMW’s 5 Series sedan. Now into its fifth year of production, this new 5 Life Cycle Impulse is no simple nip and tuck job as it brings with it quite a lot of new tech tucked under its familiar looking skin.

The last time I tested a G30, it was a 540i back in 2017 and while I thoroughly enjoyed the extra power and torque from the bigger sump, ultimately in terms of overall packaging, I felt the 530i was the better car for your hard-earned money. Something I now recall with a tinge of regret because the 540i is now no longer being offered in our local market, which is somewhat sad to think about because what that ultimately means is, for the first time ever, you can no longer buy a brand new 5 Series with a Straight six under the bonnet.

But, enough reminiscing, with the 540i out of the Singapore market, it is up to this 530i M Sport to carry its flagship 5 duties. So what’s new? As you might have guessed from the title, this 530i is a “Mild Hybrid”, what that means is the car’s 2litre Twin power unit now comes supplemented with a 48V mild-hybrid system, all in the name of improving fuel efficiency with the bonus of quiet electrical refinement at stoplights. There’s not quite enough juice to move the car on purely electrical power alone unlike most other Hybrid cars, but enough to help with the car’s electrical components, allowing some load to be taken off the main engine and provide a small amount of boost when smoothly accelerating from a standstill.

Not that you would notice it though because even though the Mild Hybrid kicks in with an extra 11 horses worth of power to aid the Internal Combustion’s 248, the latest 530i’s additional 85kgs of heft over its predecessor means it reaches the 100km/h mark a scant 0.2 seconds slower (6.4s vs 6.2s). Hardly noticeable in the real world but a deficit nonetheless.

Where that Mild Hybrid system does make itself felt though, is in the 530i’s improved frugality with BMW’s claimed figure of 17.9km/l, an extra 1.8 kilometres over the previous 530i.

Of course, the technological enhancements to the 5 don’t end with its fancy new drivetrain, inside, BMW have also bumped up the iDrive infotainment screen to a useful 12.3-inches displaying their latest Operating System 7.0.

While the interior’s aesthetic isn’t quite as modern and edgy as the latest models from Munich, they still do a good job combining ergonomics, modern style and fantastic build quality. With OS 7.0 Bringing on board a host of new features in addition to its revised UI. BMW’s now very helpful Intelligent Personal Assistant voice-driven command system, their uncanny Reversing Assistant along with wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto. While it might not seem like much on paper, the integration of their new voice-activated assistant can bring quite a change to how you communicate with the vehicle, no more fumbling around with buttons or iDrive menus, just say “Hey BMW” along with what which parameter you’d want changing and chances are, most of the time it’ll work. Also in keeping with the tech to ensure your eyes are always looking ahead is BMW’s excellent Heads-Up Display coming on as standard on the 530i M Sport.

Sadly, while there is a lane-keep assist function whilst you are in control, BMW’s Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Control Assist is a cost option. Surely these should be standard by now on a car in this price segment.

As always, our 530i M Sport is also fitted with adaptive dampers with 4 different drive mode settings, Sport, Comfort, Eco Pro and Adaptive. Whilst it might be tempting to thumb through all the various modes, take my suggestion and just leave it in Adaptive mode, this allows the car to pick and choose the optimum setup for your journey on the fly which it does rather well. It might not be featherweight but the 530i’s chassis is typical BMW. Highly competent and balanced with little compromise to its ride quality.

To complement the 530i’s sporty handling character, the updated 5 has of course been treated to a series of aesthetic tweaks. Upfront, BMW’s distinctive kidney grille has been redesigned and is now slightly wider, slightly taller and slightly more angular. That slightly more angular styling continues down the lower front bumper with stronger and more defined lines sitting beneath a pair of slimmer headlights which now have a slightly less recessed lower graphical element. It’s a subtle and slightly more taut reworking of the already great looking G30 but enough to set them apart when seen side by side.

Towards the rear, the taillights have also been redesigned and now feature BMW’s newer L-shaped graphic and similarly to the front, the rear bumper has also been given a more aggressive visual to wrap around a fresh new pair of trapezoidal tailpipes.

Finishing off the visual enhancements, are the great looking 20″ Style 846 M Bicolour wheels enveloping a set of blue callipered M Sport Brakes.

While the SGD$316,888 price tag (as of July 2021) might seem a little daunting, for those in the market, this represents a not too significant S$10,000 premium over a 520i M Sport and with road tax fees being equal, there isn’t any reason to not pick the 530i over its 520i equivalent. This means that once again, 4 years later, the 530i is still the one to go for.

As the gaps between technological products and automobiles get increasingly minute in an ever decreasing amount of time in an ever more competitive and demanding market of end-users who with volumes worth of knowledge at their fingertips. While some of the tweaks might seem minor, BMW knows that being ahead of the pack in today’s automotive world is a constant game of non-stop innovation and iteration. With their latest technological toys now shoehorned in, the 5 Series has just been reloaded for a good few years to come.

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