2024 BMW 530i – First Drive Review


The 2024 BMW 5 Series has finally reached the U.S. shores so I traveled to South Carolina to sample the new business sedans lineup. After some time in Portugal with the BMW i5 eDrive40 and i5 M60, it was now time to review the entry-level gasoline model for the U.S. market – the 2024 BMW 530i. Even though I had a choice between RWD and AWD, I went with the lighter and arguably more fun 530i, mostly because we also reviewed it agains the i5 eDrive40 (More on that in a future Youtube video).

48V Mild-Hybrid Tech

Compared to the previous generation G30 530i, this new G60 model comes with the 48V mild-hybrid technology. While it adds a bit of weight, the mild-hybrid tech has more benefits than downsides. It essentially provides an electric torque boost, particularly noticeable when the “BOOST” paddle is pressed for 0.8 seconds or more. This feature enhances acceleration, making the driving experience more dynamic. The integration of the mild-hybrid system aims to balance performance and fuel efficiency. But more on that in a bit.

Drivetrain

The 2024 BMW 530i uses the B48 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a workhorse of powerplant used across a wide range of BMW products. It now delivers delivers 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. That’s barely an improvement over the previous generation, though – 7 hp and 38 pound-feet of torque.

According to BMW, the improvements made to various engine components contribute to a smoother and more efficient power delivery compared to the previous model. The acceleration is noteworthy, with a claimed 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds. The power from the engine is transferred through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Thanks to the new drivetrain and the 48V system, fuel efficiency has seen an improvement as well. Both the city and highway driving versions now boast 27 miles per gallon in the city, 35 mpg on the highway, and a combined 30 mpg. This new 530i is about 8% more efficient than the previous model.

No Major Design Differences From The BMW i5

The majority of BMW 5 Series and i5 models were regularly parked in front of our hotel. So, each morning, I found myself examining them closely in an attempt to discern between the electric 5 Series and the gasoline-powered version. The visual similarities between them are striking—both lack visible exhaust pipes, feature vertical slats in the kidney grille, and share an identical appearance with the M Sport Package. The sole distinguishing feature from the front is the extra “i” badge on the kidney grille, a detail I personally find unnecessary.

Significant Weight Differences Though

While the design might be identical, the weight is not. The 2024 BMW 530i weighs 4041 lbs – still a staggering figure – while the i5 eDrive40 tips the scale at nearly 5,000 lbs (4916 lbs). Of course, that means that the i5 gets a rear air suspension option while the 530i sticks with a coil springs setup.

Every BMW 5 Series on hand for testing exclusively featured the optional M Sport Suspension. BMW says this suspension has been meticulously tuned to meet the unique demands of the U.S. market. A BMW of North America product team went to Germany to evaluate various configurations, ultimately settling on a variant that caters to the preferences of American drivers.

Notably, this particular suspension iteration is designed to be more compliant compared to other M Sport suspensions found in similar models. Additionally, the suspension system is lowered by 10 mm and boasts a firmer setup than the base coil springs suspension, contributing to a more dynamic and responsive driving experience.

Driving Dynamics

Our mapped trip takes us through some backroads surrounding Greenville where I could put the M Sports suspension to test. At a first glance, the new setup feels a bit softer in the Comfort mode than similar M Sports suspension, especially the one in the G20 3 Series which was extremely bouncy and twitchy. Going over uneven and bumpy roads, the suspension soaks up the imperfections quite nicely offering a nice rebound on landing. Of course, it’s not as comfy as an air suspension, and I’m okay with that in this rear-wheel drive 5 Series.

Through fast and sharp corners, the 2024 BMW 530i glides effortlessly and with confidence, thanks partly to the stiffer setup of the suspension when riding in the Sport Mode. There is also a lot more feedback now coming from the road with the dampers also doing a good job removing the floatiness feeling of the Comfort Mode.

Steering Is Not Great

The steering ain’t great though. It feels softer and less precise than in the i5 eDrive40 so I wonder if there are different software applications to account for the weight and the different suspension setups. Of course, the BMW 530i is not meant to be a track warrior, but I wish there was a bit more heft in that steering.

Overall, the driving experience feels completely different than in the i5 RWD. Granted, the electric variant has more horsepower (335 hp) and instant torque, so it doesn’t feel underpowered. The 530i does though. It takes time to reach the proper power and torque bands in order to have some fun with the car. Exiting corners is also quite sluggish and I had a hard time keeping up with Nate who was leading the way with an i5. So clearly, the drivetrain in the i5 eDrive40 makes up for the nearly 1,000 lbs weight difference.

BMW 530i or entry-level i5?

Of course, this begs the question: why should someone buy the 530i over the i5? This is an extremely valid question and one that we answered in our video review as well. Firstly, the 2024 BMW 530i RWD has an MSRP of $57,900, compared to $66,800 for the i5 eDrive40. Secondly, you don’t have to worry about charging with the 530i. And lastly, the entry-level 5 Series (at least in the United States) still offers a well-balanced blend of performance, comfort, and technology. So if you’re looking to call yourself a 5 Series owner, then the 530i will tick many boxes.

If you’re on the lookout for a daily driver that offers more room than the 3 Series but isn’t sold on the whole crossover craze, the 2024 BMW 530i stands as a dependable option. Now if you’re looking for more power and better sound, then the new BMW 540i will certainly help with that.

Exterior Appeal – 8

Interior Quality – 8

Steering Feedback – 7.5

Performance – 7

Handling – 7

BMWness/Ultimate Driving Machine – 7

Price Point – 8

7.5

If you’re on the lookout for a daily driver that offers more room than the 3 Series but isn’t sold on the whole crossover craze, the 2024 BMW 530i stands as a dependable option.



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