BMW has unveiled the all-new 2024 5 Series (G60), and for the first time ever the executive sedan offers a fully electric variant called i5.
With the exception of some minor details, the BMW i5 EV and 5 Series ICE models look largely the same, adopting the brand’s latest design language.
The i5 clearly looks like a 5 Series, adopting the classic three-box design with a long hood and Hofmeister kink, and displaying a modern interpretation of the brand’s signature twin headlights and kidney grille (optionally illuminated). The flat LED taillights and sporty bumpers are also worth a mention. BMW has clearly played it safe in the styling department compared to the i7 sedan or XM SUV.
The new 5 Series is larger than its predecessor, measuring 199.2 inches in length (+3.4 in), 74.8 inches in width (+1.3 in), and 59.6 inches in height (+1.4 in). The wheelbase has also increased by 0.8 in to 117.9 in – the longest in its segment – which results in improved seating comfort for rear passengers.
BMW says the i5 offers the same amount of cabin space as ICE-powered 5 Series models, thanks to the low profile battery located in the underbody. However, the trunk is smaller at 17.3 cubic feet compared to 18.4 cubic feet.
Inside, the BMW i5 adopts a dashboard layout that reminds of the iX SUV, with the driver-oriented, fully digital BMW Curved Display taking center stage. The setup consists of a 12.3-inch Information Display behind the steering wheel and a 14.9-inch Control Display, which merge into a single unit.
The BMW Curved Display is operated by iDrive’s latest generation – BMW Operating System 8.5 – featuring new graphic display with a clear start screen and QuickSelect access for simple and intuitive touch operation. Drivers can operate the control system primarily by the touch screen and natural language, as well as using steering wheel buttons and the BMW iDrive Controller on the center console.
Other innovations include the BMW Interaction Bar with ambient lighting in the instrument panel and door area, My Modes for a customizable driving and interior experience, seam vents instead of conventional air vents, and the new gear selector switch on the center console control panel. The BMW Head-Up display and BMW Natural Interaction for gesture control are available as options.
Interestingly, the BMW i5 also debuts in-car gaming in cooperation with gaming platform AirConsole. Driver and passengers can play casual games – racing, sports, quiz, simulation, strategy, jump-and-run, and puzzle – while the vehicle is stationary using their smartphone as a controller and the BMW Curved Display.
BMW says the i5 also gets redesigned seats for more comfort, including in the rear, with standard fully leather-free interior upholstery or optional Extended Merino leather being offered. A fixed panoramic Sky Lounge roof is offered as an option for the first time on the 5 Series.
Unlike the Mercedes-Benz EQE sedan that uses a dedicated EV platform, the BMW i5 is built on the CLAR flexible drive architecture shared with internal combustion, mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid 5 Series models.
At the global market launch in October 2023, the BMW i5 will be available in two model variants, the eDrive40 single-motor RWD variant and the M60 xDrive AWD performance model.
Both feature fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology, with the motors said to offer impressively high power density and efficiency. The BMW i5 eDrive40 delivers 335 horsepower and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque – or 317 lb-ft (429 Nm) when the Sport Boost or Lanch Control function is activated.
This enables the entry-level model to do 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds and hit an electronically limited top speed of 120 mph (193 kph).
The i5 M60 xDrive features a dual-motor powertrain delivering 590-hp (440-kW) and 549 lb-ft (743 Nm) of torque – or 605 lb-ft (819 Nm) with the M Sport Boost or M Launch Control functions activated. Promising “hallmark M Performance characteristics,” the i5 M60 xDrive doe 0-60 in 3.7 seconds and hits a top speed of 143 mph (230 kph) when equipped with performance tires.
Both variants are powered by a high-voltage battery with a usable capacity of 84.3 kilowatt-hours, composed of 4 modules with 72 battery cells each and 3 modules with 12 cells each.
The battery enables a driving range of 295 miles for the i5 eDrive40 on standard 19-inch wheels or 256 miles for the i5 M60 xDrive. The range ratings are estimated by BMW based on the EPA’s test procedure standards.
BMW says a third powertrain variant with AWD will follow in 2024. According to official information leaked on Bimmerpost, the model will be badged i5 xDrive40 and will enter production in March 2024.
To conserve battery power in critical situations where drivers are unable to recharge, the BMW i5 offers a new Max Range function that restricts drive power and top speed (to 56 mph) and deactivates comfort functions.
When it comes to charging, the BMW i5 can take Level 2 AC charging at up to 11 kW or DC fast charging at up to 205 kW, with the latter allowing the battery to top up from 10 to 80 percent in about 30 minutes.
Speaking of which, first-time BMW i5 owners will get two years of complimentary 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America DC fast-charging locations. In addition, the i5 becomes the first BMW EV to use Plug & Charge functionality.
For optimized DC fast charging, the BMW i5 utilizes anticipatory battery thermal management that automatically pre-conditions the battery when the navigation system is active before a planned charging stop.
In addition, the BMW i5 prevents “overcooling” of the battery during fast charging, especially at high states of charge, by implementing full and partial cooling power phases in the charging process. This is said to offer increased potential for short charging times and reducing battery cell aging.
The BMW i5 also gets the latest version of adaptive recuperation during throttle lift-off and braking phases that lets the drive control system use navigation data and information from sensors of the driver assistance systems to adjust how much power is recuperated according to the respective traffic situation.
The driver can also manually select High, Medium, or Low braking energy recovery for all traffic situations in the BMW iDrive menu. For example, the Low setting enables a “coast” function where the i5 simply rolls along without drive torque as soon as the accelerator pedal is released.
Efficiency is further enhanced by using heat pump technology both for the integrated heating and cooling circuit of the interior and the heating and cooling system of the drive and the high-voltage battery. This allows both the cabin and the battery to be heated simultaneously with the heat pump function, or with a central electric auxiliary heater if required.
Since we’re talking about a 5 Series, driving dynamics play a big part in the nameplate’s appeal, and the i5 promises near perfect 50:50 weight distribution and a suspension setup that favors sporty handling – double-wishbone front axle and five-link rear axle.
The dampers feature new stroke dependent control on both axles, providing additional hydraulic damping that is said to calm the body when compensating for the vibrations caused by uneven road surfaces and dynamic cornering. The BMW i5 also gets self-leveling rear-axle air suspension and sport electric power steering with variable ratio.
On top of that, the i5 M60 xDrive features standard Adaptive M Suspension Professional, which includes electronically controlled dampers, rear-wheel steering, and lowers the ride height by 0.3 inches.
The BMW i5 will be made at Plant Dingolfing, BMW‘s largest European plant, where the electric motors and the high-voltage batteries are also built. US prices start at $67,795 for the i5 eDrive40 and $85,095 for the i5 M60 xDrive (including $995 shipping). The pricing clearly targets the Mercedes-Benz EQE and significantly undercuts the similarly sized Tesla Model S.