BMW i5 launches with two electric powertrains

Max McDee, 24 May 2023

It looks like BMW knocked it out of the park with the new i5 - handsome sedan, without any controversial design features, almost conservative and yet modern. Above all - instantly recognizable as the BMW 5-series. Visually, the new i5 ticks all the boxes that executive sedan buyers want to be ticked - it looks solid, premium, fast, and expensive. But what about the performance?

BMW i5 launches with two electric powertrains

Well, we don’t need to worry about that one at all. Even the entry model comes with 340 hp - and all of those horses are channeled through the rear wheels making the i5 potentially a king of twisties. On a side note, 10 years ago the entry BMW 5 series came with a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder oil burner coughing out smoke and 118 asthmatic ponies. Times have changed a lot.

If the 340 hp entry-level i5 is not fast enough for your liking, thankfully BMW is bringing a far more potent version out. The i5 M60 xDrive has been designed to put all worries about electric cars as far behind as humanly possible. The 601 hp dual-motor sedan can hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.8 seconds. Yes, it is 0.1 seconds slower than the i7 M70 xDrive, but the i7 cranks up a little bit more power - 59 hp more exactly - and a whole lot more torque - 1,100 Nm against 820 Nm in the i5.

BMW i5 launches with two electric powertrains

Is the i5 M60 the fastest i5 to come out? At least for now - yes. Looking back to 2013, the glorious M5 came with one of the best V8 engines ever. It had two turbos, 560 hp, and it used to launch like a wounded animal off the start line, reaching 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds. Back then, it had no competition. Today, the electric i5 is quicker.

All that fun cannot last too long, right? Well, if you keep that right foot pinned to the floor, you’ll run out of juice quicker than your credit card limit on Amazon Day. Keeping it sensibly though, will result in as much as 582 km, according to WLTP. That’s the number for the i5 eDrive40, the i5 M60 xDrive has a slightly lower range of 516 km - which is still hugely impressive and more than sufficient for everyday driving.

BMW i5 launches with two electric powertrains

The i5 comes with a clever function called Max Range which can add up to 25% to the range by limiting the performance of the car. Anyone hoping for a perfect highway tool may as well go for the i5, although these figures are the manufacturer’s estimates. Saying that it is the BMW i4 that consistently delivers a higher driving range than EPA estimates.

You’ll be pleased to know that the new i5 is as quick on the road as it is when it comes to recharging. Topping up the 81.2 kWh (usable) battery from 10 to 80 percent takes about 30 minutes as long as the car is plugged into a fast DC charger, the i5 supports up to 205 kW fast-charging. Home charging on the other hand, can be done at 11 kW as standard or 22 kW as an option.

BMW i5 M60 xDrive BMW i5 M60 xDrive BMW i5 M60 xDrive
BMW i5 M60 xDrive

Technology in the new i5 is everywhere, but the most talked about item is the new (and optional of course) Driving Assistant Professional. Among many standard features, it allows the driver to take the hands off the steering wheel on the highway with clearly separated lanes. All the driver has to do is monitor the traffic. The system can even suggest lane change on its own, and all it needs for confirmation is the driver glancing into the side mirror.

A host of other features is present, there is fully autonomous parking where the i5 can be as far away as 200 m. The vehicle is controlled from a smartphone thanks to its always-on 5G connection. That connection brings a host of other services - even video streaming is now possible and video games are the new rage.

BMW i5 launches with two electric powertrains

The always-connected i5 offers OTA updates and upgrades as required, the Digital Key is available for both Android and iOS devices, and that includes the Apple Watch. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are present and generally speaking, the i5 doesn’t miss a beat in the technology department.

So here it is, the long-awaited i5 - an electric BMW 5 Series. There are two more pieces of the puzzle for the picture to be complete - on-road performance and price. As for the performance, we don’t need to worry, BMW engineers spent countless and sleepless hours driving the i5 from the North Pole to Sahara making sure it performs as the 5 Series should in any conditions. As for the price? Well, it won’t be cheap, that’s for sure. But the question is - is the i5 finally the perfect electric sedan?



Reader comments

  • Anonymous

Looks pretty good honestly. 360mi range is nice



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