The BMW 530Le made its debut at the 2014 Guangzhou Auto Show this month, making it BMW’s first plug-in hybrid sedan. It’s not a global car though – the long wheelbase car is built in China for the Chinese market by the Brilliance-BMW joint venture.

Despite the ‘530’ badge, under the hood is a 2.0 litre N20 four cylinder turbocharged engine. On its own, it produces 242 horsepower, but combined with an electric motor that replaces the torque converter in the eight-speed automatic gearbox, combined output is 272 horses, about the same as the old E60 530i.


The engine and electric motor combo may seem familiar to you as a similiar configuration is found in the BMW Concept X5 eDrive. We’ve also seen a prototype F30 3-Series plug-in hybrid on test that’s likely to share this plug-in hybrid powertrain.

BMW may also have a smaller plug-in hybrid system in the works for cars based on their front wheel drive platform (MINI, 2-Series Active Tourer and future cars). Before the 2-Series Active Tourer was launched, it was previewed as a concept car that mated a 1.5 litre three-cylinder engine to an electric motor driving the rear axle, which is sort of like the BMW i8‘s hybrid system installed in reverse.