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Overview of the BMW 5 Series and Electric i5 With 360-Mile Range

Laurance Yap
Jun 2023
BMW's popular 5 Series luxury sedan has gotten an electrified makeover. It will be available in mild hybrid, plug-in, and electric versions, headlined by the all-electric i5.
A 3/4 view of the BMW i5 EV and its lit-up kidney grille.

The BMW 5 Series: An Electrified Luxury Sedan

One of the mainstays of BMW’s luxury car lineup, the 5 Series is a midsize sedan that has earned a great reputation for combining a spacious, well-appointed interior with a smooth, luxurious ride and sporty handling and performance. Now, for its next generation, BMW is adding electrified power to the mix. The all-new BMW 5 Series, launching late in 2023, will be available not only with gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid power, but will be headlined by an all-new i5 EV model, capable of exceptional performance with a range of up to 360 miles.

The All-New BMW i5 EV Performance

The all-new BMW i5 headlines the latest 5 Series. Built on the same platform as the gasoline variants, it features BMW’s upgraded fifth-generation eDrive technology, and will be offered in two versions. Like the smaller i4, i5 eDrive40 is rear-wheel drive and offers a maximum power output of 340 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to provide it with sprightly performance in all conditions. 0-60 mph should take less than six seconds, and the top speed is 120 mph. An 81.2-kWh battery located under the floor gives the i5 eDrive40 an estimated rage of between 309 and 361 miles, depending on specification; we expect the EPA’s U.S. range estimates to come in slightly lower.

Drivers wanting more performance or the traction of all-wheel drive will be well served by the new i5 M60 xDrive. Thanks to two drive units – one on each axle – the i5 M60 produces up to 601 hp and 605 lb-fot of torque when the launch control or boost functions are activated. 0-60 mph flies by in less than four seconds, and the top speed is electronically limited to 143 mph. Utilizing the same 81.2-kWh battery, the i5 M60 has European range estimates of between 282 and 320 miles.

Both versions of the electric i5 use high-efficiency motors produced by BMW at its Dingolfing facility, which specializes in electric motors and batteries. The motors have the latest generation of adaptive regeneration technology, and both models also feature a heat pump for the cabin to ensure the vehicles’ range remains stable even in colder temperatures.

Charging speed is also very good, with up to 205 kW available for DC fast charging; that’s fast enough to get the battery from 10 to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes. A “plug & charge” function enables the i5 to authenticate itself automatically at public charging stations without having to use an app or charging card, making the experience faster and more convenient.

BMW Plug-in Hybrid and Hybrid Models

While the i5 will grab most of the headlines, electrification features throughout the new 5 series lineup. All gasoline models will feature BMW’s latest Efficient Dynamics 48-volt mild hybrid system, which integrates into the eight-speed automatic transmission. The mild hybrid tech reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions across the board. U.S. buyers will have the choice of a four-cylinder 530i with rear-wheel drive, 530i xDrive with all-wheel drive, and a six-cylinder 540i xDrive.

Two plug-in hybrid versions will also be available, starting in spring 2024. Mirroring the all-electric offering, there will be a rear-wheel drive model, labelled 530e, and a high-performance all-wheel drive model, labelled 550e xDrive. More details on those models will be available in early 2024.

A view of the BMW i5 EV interior dash over the mountains

New Electric BMW Digital Design

While the proportions of the new BMW 5 Series and i5 are familiar, they have a much sharper-edged, digital look compared to their more organic predecessors. Longer, wider, and taller than its predecessor, the new 5 Series and i5 ride on a longer wheelbase for more interior space, as well.

Up front is a modernist, angular version of BMW’s traditional four headlights that substitutes slashes for circles, and the brand’s traditional kidney grille, now lit up around its edge as an option. On the sides, black side skirts hide the extra height occupied by the battery, while flush-mounted door handles improve aerodynamic efficiency and therefore range. An optional M Sport package gives a sportier look.

The i5 and 5 Series don’t just look more high-tech from the outside, they’re also packed with screens and tech inside. Alongside the option of fully vegan upholstery, a giant curved display integrates two screens with a digital assistant and can be operated using a central control knob, touch, or voice commands. A heads-up display uses augmented reality to draw navigation instructions directly into the driver’s field of view, and drivers and passengers can control vehicle systems simply by gesturing in the air. BMW’s latest operating system has a redesigned home screen for the infotainment system, with shortcuts for the most frequently used functions.

There’s also a wider range of entertainment and information options than ever before. Video streaming is now possible on the central display when the vehicle is parked or charging, and in-car gaming is available using a platform called AirConsole. On the move, improved information on charging points makes finding the right kind of chargers faster during road trips.

Next-Generation Driving Assists

BMWs have traditionally been known as driver’s cars – engaging and fun for passionate, enthusiastic pilots. The new 5 Series and i5 promise to continue in that tradition with excellent 50:50 weight distribution, lightweight construction, a more rigid body, and suspension setups adapted to the various types of drive technology – gasoline, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full-electric. There is also an available sport-tuned suspension with active roll stabilization and a choice of wheels up to 21 inches.

However, while we might dream of open roads with lots of curves, most of us spend a lot of time on freeways, or sitting in stop-and-go traffic. For those situations, BMW has brought an expanded range of systems that allow the i5 and 5 Series to drive and park in a semi-autonomous fashion. The highlight is the new “professional” driving assistant, which can accelerate, brake, and steer at speeds of up to 85 mph, letting you take your hands off the steering wheel, so long as you keep a close eye on traffic.

The active lane change assistant can now suggest lane changes to the driver; the driver can confirm by looking in the side-view mirror, with the car executing the lane change automatically. An automated parking assistant offers remote-control parking from outside the vehicle for tight spaces or simply for convenience.

BMW 5 Series All Electric i5 Delivers in Late 2023

The new BMW 5 Series will launch in October, with the all-electric i5 sedan being available right at the start around the world. Starting MSRP for the i5 eDrive 40 is $66,800, with the i5 M60 xDrive starting at $84,100. The gasoline powered 530i mild hybrid has a starting MSRP of $57,900, and the 530i xDrive mild hybrid $60,200. The 540i xDrive mild hybrid has a starting MSRP of $64,900. Pricing and standard equipment for the U.S. market plug-in hybrid models will be available closer to the on-sale date.