Is the 530e the ultimate combination of performance and parsimony, then? No, not really. Start off in all-electric Max eDrive mode and it’s a magnificently quiet car, but its modest performance is best suited for crossing town rather than country. The claimed 31-mile range disappears alarmingly quickly at motorway speeds, too.
Switch to Auto eDrive mode and the petrol engine kicks in when required. At gentler speeds the transition is smooth, but bury your foot hard to the accelerator stop and it’s less sublime, with a consistent two-second delay as the gearbox sorts itself out, before the colourless but largely unobtrusive background buzz from the engine kicks in.
Pace is good, mind. There’s enough of it to breeze you past bumbling trucks on a B-road, or carry you easily into three-figure speeds on an autobahn.
On turn-in, there’s more body lean than you'd get in the lighter, conventionally powered models, but despite the uneven axle mass, there’s still a decent balance. The 530e pushes on at the front a little sooner than expected, but then our car was shod with less grippy winter tyres.
The steering is the biggest disappointment. There’s not enough weight build-up as you crank on lock, so you’re always making little corrections to keep the trajectory correct; it’s a far cry from the intuitive helms of the other G30 models we’ve driven. So is the mild thudding over ruts in the road and the fidget at high speeds, even with adaptive dampers fitted. Again, this may have been down to the tyres, but equally, it could be the stiffer springs used to counter the heavy battery. Meanwhile, the regenerative braking delivers a less progressive middle pedal, making it trickier to come to a smooth stop.
There’s more to dent the 530e's credibility next to a 530d as well. The boot, which is a good-sized 530 litres in the diesel (or the petrols, for that matter), is smaller, because the repositioned fuel tank eats into the space. Now 410 litres overall in the 530e, it’s the restricted height that will make it less capable when it comes to fitting bulkier items, such as a large suitcase.