The all-electric i4 can't come soon enough.
Battery technology might not be there yet, but it's improving all the time. At such a rate, in fact, that automakers aren't waiting until they replace their electrified vehicles with new models before they slot in new cells. Like BMW has done with the 530e.
The plug-in hybrid version of the 5 Series sedan has been upgraded with a new battery, along with a smattering of other features, to give it more range and reduce its carbon footprint over the existing model that was just rolled out two years ago.
Where a 9-kWh battery pack once sat (under the rear seat to preserve trunk space), BMW has now slotted in a 12-kWh unit that – despite its larger capacity – is physically no larger than the old one.
As a result, the 530e can now travel on electric power alone for nearly a third longer – a total of 41 miles (66 kilometers) by European standards – without needing to switch on the internal-combustion part of its powertrain. That remains the same, incidentally, in the form of a 2.0-liter turbo four.
The ICE produces 184 horsepower by itself, and is augmented by a 113-hp electric motor (integrated into the eight-speed automatic transmission) to deliver a combined total of 252 horsepower. 0-62 is quoted at 6.1 seconds with a top speed of 146 mph, and buyers (in the US and abroad) can still opt for the all-wheel-drive version (which takes 6.2 seconds to hit 62).
Along with the expanded range, the revised 530e also now pollutes less by over 20 percent. By the WLTP standard, it's estimated to emit between 34 and 46 grams of CO2 per kilometer (or 40-54 for the xDrive version).