Pricing for the BMW 530e iPerformance is out in Thailand, ahead of the plug-in hybrid G30’s official launch there at the end of this month. Joining the diesel 520d and petrol 530i in the Kingdom, the 530e will come in two trim levels – Luxury at 3,639,000 baht (RM457,446) and M Sport at 3,939,000 baht (RM494,466). Both undercut the 530i M Sport, which is priced at 4,339,000 baht (RM544,701) there.

As with the 530i, the Thai-assembled 530e is powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, albeit detuned to 184 hp and 290 Nm of torque. Making up for the shortfall is a 113 hp/250 Nm electric motor integrated into the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, resulting in a total system output of 252 hp and 420 Nm – identical in power and an increase of 70 Nm compared to its pure petrol twin.

Under the rear seats sits a 9.2 kWh lithium-ion battery with highly integrated low-temperature circuit and refrigerant cooling. Fully charging the battery takes three hours and 15 minutes from a domestic socket, or two hours and 15 minutes with the 3.7 kW BMW i Wallbox.

The 530e sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds before hitting a top speed of 235 km/h. Combined fuel consumption is rated at 2.3 litres per 100 km. The big sedan is capable of running in electric mode at speeds of up to 140 km/h, and has a claimed all-electric range of 47 km. Real-world range in hybrid mode is 644 km.

Standard kit on the Thai-spec 530e includes 18-inch alloys, adaptive LED headlamps with High Beam Assist, head-up display, Comfort Access, Display Key, Dakota leather, 12.3-inch digital instrument display and dual-zone air con, 10.2-inch rear screens, wireless charging and a Harman Kardon surround sound system, among other things.

The M Sport car brings the usual more aggressive styling, interior enhancements (steering wheel, seats) and larger wheels – in this case 19-inch double-spoke items.

BMW’s PHEVs have been well accepted in Thailand, as they are in Malaysia. The German premium brand sold 852 units of iPerformance cars in the country from January to October 2017, a 234% year-on-year rise, as reported by the Bangkok Post. This represents 10.2% of BMW’s total sales in the market, which are up 28%. BMW started selling PHEVs in Thailand from December 2015, when the X5 xDrive40e was introduced.

Seeing how well BMW PHEVs have done in Malaysia so far, and the fact that Mercedes-Benz has already introduced the equivalent E350e here (Volvo also recently launched the S90 T8 Twin Engine), we’re expecting to see the plug-in hybrid G30 5 Series in our market next year.

At present, the G30 5 Series is available here in a sole CKD 530i M Sport variant priced at RM388,800.