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To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago

For the 2022 edition, we include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and new vehicles coming to market in the next few years.

Car Guide Winner: 1st Place Midsize

2021 BMW 530e Sedan

Vehicle Type: Midsize Hybrid
 overall score
Category Ranking: 1

Vehicle Price

Base Price: $57,200
Price as Tested: $70,485

Fuel Information

Fuel Type: Electricity/midgrade
Fuel Capacity (gal): 12.1
120V Charge Time: 2.7 miles per hour
240V Charge Time: 7 miles per hour
EPA City mpg24
EPA Highway mpg29
EPA Combined mpg: 26
EPA Combined MPGe: 64
EPA-Est. Electric Range (mi): 21

Advanced Safety Features

  • Adaptive Cruise Control [O]
  • Advanced Headlights [S]
  • Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
  • Blind-Spot Warning [S]
  • Driver Monitoring [O]
  • Forward-Collision Warning [S]
  • Lane-Departure Warning [S]
  • Lane-Keeping Assistance [O]
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [S]
  • Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking [O]
  • [S] Standard, [O] Optional

Overall Observations

The BMW 5 Series, an iconic sports sedan now in its seventh generation, last received a redesign in 2017. For 2021, it received minor tweaks, including a larger grille and touch screen and improved voice controls. The 530e plug-in hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine (181 hp) and an electric motor (107 hp). In 2021, it got a 40-hp increase (288 hp total), courtesy of XtraBoost, a feature that provides extra power when the driver floors the accelerator. Driving the 530e is a satisfying experience, nicely combining strong acceleration, smooth braking, responsive handling, a comfortable ride, and a roomy, quiet cabin with upscale materials. Fuel efficiency (26 mpg, 64 MPGe) is decent. On the downside, the 530e’s electric-only range is low (21 miles). And, as with many BMWs, numerous items that are standard on other luxury cars—including some advanced safety features—cost extra on the 530e. Counterpoint: The 530e is eligible for a $5,836 federal tax credit, which brings its base price in below that of a standard 530i.
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Strengths and Weaknesses

Strong Points

  • Strong power andperformance
  • Responsive handling
  • Large infotainment display,with good usability
  • Lots of safety features,though not all are standard

Weak Points

  • Steep price with alloptions
  • Low EV range
  • Lane-keeping assistancesystem is too aggressive
  • Small, shallow trunk

Vehicle Specifications

Model year tested: 2021
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/3
Curb weight (lbs): 4320.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 195.8 / 73.5 / 58.4
Wheelbase (in): 117.1
Number of air bags: 9
Warranty (months/miles): 48/50,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Michelin Pilot Sport 4 ZP
Front and rear tire size: 245/40 R19
Max towing capacity (lbs): Not recommended
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: Hybrid drive
Drivetrain type: Rear wheel
Engine/motor: 2.0L 4-Cyl. turbo
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 6500
Electric motor horsepower: 107
Combined system horsepower: 288

Test Data

Test Vehicle Scores

Advanced Safety Features:


Fuel Efficiency:


EPA Emissions Score:





Handling: 8.07
Quality and Drivability: