BMW’s New Electric i5: All You Need To Know

  • The new i5 employs some of the sharpest styling from BMW in recent times
  • The new electric model will be offered in two versions
  • The i5 will be priced competitively

First impressions of the new electric BMW i5 are that it’s a winner. While its acceleration and power figures might be on a par with, or a little less than rivals like the Tesla Model S and Mercedes EQE, the new model’s breadth of capabilities and handling mean it will be a force in the segment. So far we’ve seen the i3, i4, iX, i7 and iX1 but the significance of the i5 to the brand is as great as that of any model we’ve seen from BMW in a long time. In fact, the i5 is the biggest step forward in the highly successful 5-Series lineup in the last half century.

Exterior Design 

The i5 has a sleek and modern exterior design that features a long, stylized hood, a modern reinterpretation of the headlights, a large signature kidney grille, and a sloping roofline. However, unlike the iX, i4 or i7, which have unnecessarily long vertically-stretched grilles, the i5 has a more traditional kidney grille that boasts a futuristic accent—and looks pretty good we think. The i5 is also available with a variety of aerodynamic features, such as active air flaps and a rear spoiler. The car has grown in length, width, and height compared to its predecessor and features black side skirts, flush-mounted door openers, and an embossed number 5 at the base of the C-pillar. 

Interior Design 

As you’d expect, the i5’s interior is luxurious and spacious. It also comes standard with a suite of driver assistance features including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. The cockpit design has been significantly simplified, with a reduced number of buttons and controls. The new model employs the BMW Curved Display, a fully digital display system consisting of a 12.3-inch Information Display and a 14.9-inch Control Display. The interior also includes a new optional BMW Interaction Bar that extends across the entire width of the instrument panel into the door panels and includes touch-sensitive controls. In a first for BMW, the new 5 Series Sedan features a fully vegan interior as standard which includes the surfaces of the seats, the dashboard, the door panels, and even the steering wheel.

Performance

Two versions will be available from launch – a rear-wheel drive eDrive40 variant and a dual-motor all-wheel drive M60 xDrive car – both powered by the same 81.2kWh battery. The 335-hp ’40’ car can achieve a maximum range of 295 miles, while this drops to a claimed 256 miles for the M60 on account of its extra power, boasting a gutsy 590-hp. Expect maximum charging of “around 200kW”, so a 10 to 80 per cent charge should be easily completed in under 30 minutes. Whereas the ‘M60’ offers the extra punch, but less range, it’s the chassis that makes a bigger impression. 

All i5s will employ air suspension on the rear axle, while the eDrive40 incorporates adaptive dampers and rear-axle steering. There’s also new suspension control software, and combined the systems deliver superb ride comfort. 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.

The entry-level i5 will start from $68,800 while the i5 M60 xDrive, which has a more powerful powertrain and a longer range, starts at $85,750.

OUR THOUGHTS

The new electric i5 elegantly blends BMW’s tried and proven decades-old design flair with a new futuristic ‘electric’ flavor that makes it one of the best looking BMW sedans of recent times. Its two powertrain options will appeal to a wide-ranging customer base for very competitive prices.

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