High five for the i5? BMW's new electric saloon revealed

Ginny Buckley

24 May 2023

This is the BMW i5 - the electric version of the eighth generation of the 5-series, and the first pure electric version. The new 5 will be offered with petrol, plug-in hybrid and pure electric powertrains but the diesel version is killed off in the UK.  

It has grown in all directions compared to the outgoing model, taking its overall length to 5060mm. There will be an estate – or Touring in BMW speak – version in the spring of next year. Early 2024 will also see the introduction of the 530e and 550e PHEVs, which are expected to offer electric-only ranges of up to 62 miles. 

There is little to tell the fully electric version apart from the other powertrains. Even the grille – which is less controversially-styled than other BMW models – is almost identical. 

The electric 5 does gets some of the subtle styling features we’ve seen on the smaller i4; a blanked-off grille, bespoke aero wheels that come as standard as 19s, but go all the way up to 21s if you want to spend the money and sacrifice efficiency, along with blue highlights that mark it out as pure electric. As an option, buyers can pay for an illuminated grille surround - BMW calls it ‘iconic glow’ lighting.

Underneath, the i5 largely mirrors the powertrains of the i4. That means a choice of rear or all-wheel drive, with 335bhp from the cheapest version, which is a rear-wheel drive i5 eDrive 40 that gets to 62mph in just over 6 seconds. 

If you have all the cash, there’s a 600bhp twin-motor, all-wheel drive M60 xDrive. Zero to 62mph in just 3.8 seconds. All i5s get standard rear air suspension and optional rear-wheel steering for extra agility.

Slung underneath is an 80.7kWh battery pack which should mean around 361-miles of official range. 

As for charging, you’re looking at 11kW AC for home and destination chargers with an option of 22kW, with public charging topping out at 205kW DC, giving you 10-80% in just over 25 minutes. That means you could add 190 miles of range in well under half an hour.

Air suspension is standard and rear-steering is optional

There will also be Plug&Charge capability - so you’ll just plug in and the bill will be automatically sent to your account.

Inside there's a big, curved screen with a 12.3-inch driver’s display and a 14.9-inch touchscreen wrapped under the same bit of glass. It has some of the features from the i7 – including an ‘interaction bar’ which brings the commonly-used buttons to the bottom of the screen.

The first customers will get their hands on cars in October, with prices ranging from £73,240 for the i5 eDrive40 to £96,840 for the M60.

Interior features are borrowed from the bigger i7

The grille is less controversial than other recent models

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