Who says hybrids can’t be cool? With a combination of old-school internal combustion and new-school electrification, hybrids can offer the best of both worlds to many customers. Especially when you combine the electric motors with brilliant, highly tunable engines like the BMW 545e and its fantastic B58 engine. In this video from AutoTopNL, you get to see what a BMW 545e is like when it’s tuned to 520 horsepower.
From the factory, the BMW 545e plug-in hybrid uses a 3.0-liter turbocharged ‘B58’ inline-six, combined with an electric motor, to make 394 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. Those are already quite potent figures, enough to get the hybrid 5er from 0-60 mph in a claimed 4.6 seconds. However, because the B58 engine is so tunable, it’s quite easy to get even more power out of it. And because the electric motor helps to torque fill any gaps in the turbocharger’s boost range, it will always feel smooth and linear.
This specific BMW 545e has been given a Stage 1 tune and a decat downpipe, which not only bumps power to 520 horsepower but it also makes the already great sounding engine even better. The BMW 545e isn’t available in North America, so in the European market, the B58 is pretty sound-restricted, thanks to OPF emissions filters. So that extra growl is a very welcome addition.
What’s so great about this build is that it’s been done to a sensible, efficient hybrid. So its owner gets to truly have their cake and eat it, too. They can have a monstrously powerful luxury sedan that can also sip fuel like a hybrid, and even drive under pure electric power for short journeys. Imagine seeing a silent 545e line up to you at a set of lights, thinking it’s just a lame hybrid BMW sedan, only for its downpiped B58 to bark to life and launch the big 5er ahead of you with ease?
That’s exactly what this tuned 545e can do, as it’s able to hit a GPS-recored 3.8 seconds from 0-100 km/h (62 mph). That’s about as fast as a stock BMW M3, except it’s a big, luxurious, and efficient 5 Series hybrid.
There’s something incredibly appealing about having a 5 Series hybrid that can do the sensible around-town stuff while using very little fuel, but also be able to eat genuine sports cars for lunch. If this car were a wagon, it’d be pretty much the perfect daily driver. Now why can’t BMW sell it in the U.S.?