Shortly after confirming the new M Performance 2018 BMW M550i xDrive model will debut at the North American International Auto Show, the automaker took the wraps off yet another version of the new 5 Series in the form of the 2018 BMW 530e iPerformance. Also headed to what will be a Festival of 5s in the Motor City, this latest exercise is an eDrive enhanced plug-in hybrid that, not surprisingly, offers better performance and fuel economy than its conventional counterpart.

Rear- and all-wheel drive available

The fourth member of BMW’s growing hybrid portfolio, the new 530e iPerformance will be the first of its kind available in both an sDrive rear-drive configuration as well as the xDrive AWD setup. Motivation comes from a 180-horsepower/2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder and a 95-horse electric motor that’s positioned ahead of the car’s 8-speed and paddle-shift Steptronic automatic transmission and replaces the torque converter. Collectively, this duo develops 248 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque (both preliminary stats), which BMW says will take the new 530e from 0-60 in 6.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 130 mph. The motor is fed by a liquid-cooled 9.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack located beneath the rear seat, a spot that allows the trunk capacity to remain unchanged. Recharging the pack takes less than seven hours using a standard 120V outlet or under three on a dedicated 240V system.

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Beyond BMW’s standard Driving Dynamics Control with Sport/Comfort/Eco Pro settings, the new 530e has the iPerformance-specific eDrive button that adds three other choices: Auto eDrive, Max eDrive and Battery Control. The default Auto eDrive optimizes the gas/electric interaction under all conditions and will allow the vehicle to travel up to 56 mph in pure EV mode while Max eDrive permits full electric power to be applied and takes the zero-emissions velocity up to 87 mph. As its name implies, Battery Control lets a driver choose to maintain or even increase the on-board charge by using the motor as a generator. The vehicle is capable of 31 miles of pure EV operation and has a combined range of 404 miles.

Subtle design cues

In addition to their bespoke badging, the new BMW 530e iPerformance models feature a selection of subtle exterior differentiators, the most notable being blue grille slats and wheel hub covers along with a covered charging-socket located on the driver’s side between the front wheel arch and the A-pillar. The cabin tweaks include the aforementioned eDrive button plus dedicated displays in the main instrument cluster and central 10.25-inch touchscreen that integrates with the latest iDrive 6.0 multimedia controls as well as unique “eDrive” door-sill plates.

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Like the other new 5 Series models, the 530e comes with Dynamic Cruise Control and offers the full range of other safety/driver-assist features including  Active Lane Departure Warning, Active Driving Assistant Plus, 3D Surround View and the enhanced suite of BMW Connected/BMW Connected Onboard services and apps including integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The new 2018 BMW 530e sDrive and 530e xDrive iPerformance models will arrive in U.S. showrooms this spring. Pricing and other details will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

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