The BMW 5 Series is probably the most recognisable executive sedan out there, but even it has to move with the times. The new eighth-generation model—codenamed G60 and replacing the brilliant seventh-gen G30—has spawned the nameplate’s first fully-electric model, called simply the i5.
More power, less range than Mercedes EQE
Range is perhaps the biggest consideration on an electric vehicle, and the i5 falls somewhat short of its main rival, the Mercedes-Benz EQE. Even in its most efficient form, the base single-motor eDrive40 has a combined WLTP range of up to 582km (497km minimum), compared to the EQE 350+’s 669km. That’s largely due to the smaller 81.2kWh battery.
However, the i5 produces more power, firing 250kW (335hp) and 430Nm of torque to the rear wheels. As such, it gets from zero to 100km/h four tenths of a second quicker at 6.0 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 193km/h.
If you want more power, there’s the M60 xDrive that utilises twin motors, enabling all-wheel drive and delivering a sum total of 442kW (593hp) and a whopping 820Nm. So equipped, the i5 completes the century sprint in just 3.8 seconds before hitting its electronically-limited top whack of 230km/h. This extra performance does put a sizeable dent in the car’s range, which drops to between 455 and 516km.
If you are running out of juice, you can use the new Max Range mode that will boost range by up to 25% by cutting power and disabling certain comfort features, helping you get to the nearest charging station. Once there, the i5 can accept up to 205kW of DC fast charging power, which can fill the battery from 10 to 80% in 30 minutes. You can also specify a 22kW onboard charger instead of the usual 11kW unit, which will just about halve the zero to 100% AC charging time to 4 hours and 15 minutes.
The 5 Series has a near-spotless record of delivering engaging handling and a comfortable ride in equal measure, so BMW has given the new model wider track widths and a stiffer lightweight structure in an effort to broaden its dynamic repertoire still further. The car also comes as standard with brake-by-wire technology, an advanced traction control system and variable-ratio sports steering, while the options list contains things like M Sport suspension and brakes, adaptive dampers (standard on the M60), rear-wheel steering and active roll stabilisation.
Big car made even bigger
Every new generation of 5 Series brings with it a substantial size increase, and the latest model is no different. It’s 97mm longer than before, meaning that it breaches the five-metre mark for the first time (5,060m); it’s also 32mm wider at 1,900mm and 36mm taller at 1,515mm. Its wheelbase, meanwhile, has been lengthened by 20mm to 2,995mm—just a shade shorter than the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
The styling will likely prove divisive to those used to the 5 Series’ conservative look, with trapezoidal LED headlights (incorporating vertical indicators and daytime running lights) flanking large double kidney grilles (optionally available with illuminated borders), plus slim and flat taillights. The M Sport package adds a gaping front air intake and a sizeable rear diffuser, and for the first time, there are no visible tailpipes anywhere—not even on the petrol or diesel models.
You can even game in this car
Customers will probably be more appreciative of all the tech inside. Like all of BMW’s newest models, the G60 5 Series gets the company’s latest infotainment setup, consisting of a 12.3-inch instrument display and a 14.9-inch centre touchscreen—both mounted on a curved widescreen panel. Buyers can also add a head-up display and augmented reality navigation as part of the BMW Live Cockpit Professional.
First seen on the iX back in 2021, BMW Operating System 8 has been subjected to numerous complaints from reviewers and owners alike, so the latest version 8.5 adds QuickSelect tiles on the driver’s side, letting you control some functions without diving into the menus. You also get a more intuitive climate control menu (still no physical air-conditioning controls, unfortunately), improved charging station information and increased entertainment options when stationary, including video streaming services like YouTube.
You’ll even be able to play video games in this car while charging, through the multiplayer cloud gaming service AirConsole. Thanks to the latter’s recent partnership with game studio Team17, you can access titles like Overcooked, using your phone as a controller. All these connectivity features are enabled by 5G connectivity using a built-in eSIM.
As usual, the 5 Series comes with BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant voice control, over-the-air software updates and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, with an 18-speaker, 655W Bowers & Wilkins sound system available as an option. The BMW Digital Key Plus—which enables users to unlock and start their car using a phone with ultra-wideband—now works with newer Samsung and Google Pixel smartphones, in addition to UWB-equipped iPhones that were already supported.
One striking new feature is the Interaction Bar, which made its debut on the latest 7 Series. This is an illuminated strip around the cabin that combines ambient lighting with touch-sensitive controls and contextual animations. For example, it will light up in the event of an incoming phone call, and it will also warn you if a car is coming when you open a door.
Look ma, no hands (sometimes)!
As is usual for a new BMW, the G60 5 Series has more driver assistance systems than you can shake a stick at, including standard autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
For the full smorgasbord of features, however, you’ll have to opt for the Driving Assistant Professional package, which will not only let the car brake and steer for you but also suggest lane changes that you can confirm simply by looking at one of the side mirrors. In Germany, the US and Canada, there will even be a Highway Assistant feature that—on certain stretches of highway—will let you take your hands completely off the steering wheel, at speeds of up to 130km/h.
Automated parking technology has also been taken up a notch with the Parking Assistant Professional pack, which will enable you to remotely drive the car up to 200m to a parking spot using the My BMW app on a compatible iPhone. A basic park assist feature for parallel and perpendicular spots comes as standard.
Malaysian availability yet to be announced
With BMW Group Malaysia diving head-first into electrification, the i5 will almost certainly be on the cards for our market. Registrations of interest for the car have already been opened on the official website for some time, suggesting a quick arrival on our shores—particularly as it’s tipped to arrive in fully-imported form thanks to existing tax exemptions for EVs.
But the company’s past form has been more than a little inconsistent. While the iX and iX3 were launched in Malaysia almost immediately after their respective world premieres, the lead times for the i4 and iX1 stretched nearly a year. And the i7 has been missing since its reveal in April 2022, despite the several units making the rounds in the Klang Valley for months. Hopefully, the i5 will arrive sooner rather than later.