Five things you need to know about the new BMW i5
BMW's electric line-up is broad, but with a large 5 Series-shaped gap right in the middle that many business drivers were asking the Munich marque to fill. And the good news is that it will be. Joining the fray is the recently announced BMW i5.
The 5 Series has been one of the leading executive saloon and estate models for generations, and the past two versions have come with plug-in hybrid options. In the current market though, PHEV power - though suitable for many - doesn't go quite far enough. Drivers - company car drivers in particular - want electric.
Since the 5 Series has been a darling of company car drivers for decades, by combining an all-electric powertrain with BMW's famous 5 Series dynamics, the new i5 as it will be called, is surely set to be a winner. Let's go through the key questions and find out.
Talk EV and this is invariably the first question to come up. How far will the BMW i5 go on a single charge? And the simple answer is 362 miles. It's a very good figure and puts the i5 on a par with many of its rivals - Mercedes' EQE for example will go slightly further with 377 miles.
But that's only the headline figure. BMW will offer two versions of the i5 powertrain; the i5 eDrive40 which will cover 361 miles, and the performance focused i5 M50 xDrive.
The latter features all-wheel drive and a shorter range at the cost of performance, dropping to a still substantial 320 miles. Both models get the same 81.2kWh battery underpinning those range figures, which can be charged in as little as half an hour from 10-80%.
It seems that just about all new EVs feature performance times capable of competing with a hot-hatch, and the i5 is no different. In its ‘slowest' form, the i5 eDrive40 will still cover the 0-62mph sprint in 6.0 seconds, thanks to a rear-mounted electric motor producing 340hp, which will push the saloon on to a top speed of 120mph.
But if that sounds too sluggish for you, the M60 xDrive is the car for you. Combining the same rear-mounted electric motor as the eDrive40 with a smaller front-mounted electric motor, the M60 xDrive produces a combined 601hp. This sees the acceleration time drop to 3.8 seconds 0-62mph, and on to a top speed of 143mph.
Yep - just not yet. It's coming though, with the i5 Touring set to be one of the few estate models in the EV market, and the only one in its class, at the time of launch at least.
Like the 5 Series, the i5 will be available with both a saloon and Touring body shape, and the same powertrains will be available for each style. Performance figures are not yet announced, but expect the i5 Touring to be within a few tenths for each 0-62mph time. Which means that the i5 M60 xDrive version will give the likes of Audi's RS6 Avant a fright - or even the recently confirmed M5 Touring from BMW's own stable.
A true electric 5 Series?
Only time will tell, but BMW is clearly treating the i5 like a proper 5 Series, just an electric one. Styling is slightly different, but similar enough to link the two models, and it shares many components inside with the latest i7/7 Series. Most prominent amongst these is the large digital display, which includes a curved screen, featuring BMW's latest operating system, brought down from the luxurious i7.
Other systems include regenerative braking that uses navigation and driver assistance systems to automatically adjust how much power is recuperated, while the i5 also has a solution for charging sessions - in-car gaming. Using smartphones as controllers, occupants can play games on the car's infotainment screen.
Add in a standard Harman Kardon audio system, connected car technology, and integration with Amazon Alexa and Apple hardware, and the i5 looks every inch the electric 5 Series.
Not long now before we'll have the leasing rates for the new BMW i5 - BMW is expecting deliveries of i5 models to start around October 2023.
The i5 Touring will, as is tradition, arrive a little later, with a date of 2024 currently quoted; expect it to be around spring/summer in all likelihood.
There will be a third powertrain added to the line-up in due course too. Though no details have been announced, we can surmise that it will be an entry-level version, coming in under the eDrive 40, since the smaller BMW i4 launched with the same two-option powertrain range, and brought in a less expensive model more recently.
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