A game-changer in electric mobility, the BMW i5 aims to redefine the executive saloon landscape. With robust power, advanced technology, and a surprising price tag, it’s a car worth taking notice of. The era of diesel and petrol-driven dominance in the BMW 5-Series range appears to be over. In its place, the electrified BMW i5 is capturing attention, ready to become the quintessential executive saloon.
Regarding the aesthetic appeal, the i5 adopts a tamer grille compared to its siblings, the 4 and 7-Series. It’s noticeably larger than its predecessor, the G30, though, with a longer wheelbase, increased width, and 10cm additional length. However, this enlarged scale seems to heighten the vehicle rather than elongate its silhouette.
Available in eDrive40 and M60 xDrive models, the i5 houses an 81.2kWh battery pack beneath its floor. The base eDrive40 delivers 335bhp and 295lb ft of torque, accomplishing 0-100km/h in a flat six seconds. The M60 xDrive, with its two electric motors, offers a staggering total system output of 593bhp. Activate the ‘boost’ function and you’ll rocket to 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds.
The i5’s rear-driven model boasts up to 581 kms of WLTP range, whereas the M60 model provides up to 515 kms. Charging is reasonably quick; a fast 205kW charger replenishes 10-80% of the battery in less than half an hour. Nonetheless, our brief test drive raised some questions about the veracity of these range figures.
The i5 doesn’t disappoint when it comes to driving experience. The eDrive40 model offers a smooth and refined ride. While its acceleration drops off a tad quickly, it’s adequate for confident overtakes. The M60 xDrive model delivers remarkable power, rivalling even traditional petrol-driven supercars. In terms of handling, the i5 also excels, particularly when navigating through a series of bends, not where you would expect the car to exceed expectations. The ferocious boost function is very impressive, almost alarming!
The interior remains consistent with the BMW lineage, featuring a 12.3-inch driver display and a 14.9-inch infotainment screen. Touch-sensitive sliders replace traditional air vent controls, but a rotary iDrive controller remains, offering some tactile interaction. Both the standard and sports seats offer excellent comfort and adjustment options.
The i5 debuts BMW’s Highway Assistant for semi-autonomous driving. However, it demands constant vigilance from the driver, particularly when the vehicle initiates a lane change. The system is not without flaws but showcases a step towards future hands-free driving.
The BMW i5 is a remarkable addition to the electric vehicle market. While it doesn’t come cheap, with the eDrive40 starting at around €70,000 and the M60 xDrive at a staggering €100,000, its top-tier engineering and advanced tech make it a compelling choice. It may not outperform every rival in every category, but it certainly sets a new standard for the future of executive saloons.