BMW on Wednesday unveiled the i5, the first-ever all-electric version of the automaker’s 5-Series luxury sedan, which is scheduled to reach dealerships later this year as a 2024 model.
The 2024 BMW i5 will launch in the U.S. in eDrive40 and M60 xDrive guises priced from $67,795 and $85,095, respectively. Both prices include a mandatory $995 destination charge. The all-electric i5 variants will be sold alongside gasoline 5-Series models, with a plug-in hybrid joining the lineup in the 2024 calendar year.
The base i5 eDrive40 model has a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive powertrain rated at 335 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, enabling 0-60 mph in a BMW-estimated 5.7 seconds on the way to an electronically limited 120-mph top speed.
The M60 xDrive upgrades to a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup producing 590 hp and 586 lb-ft. This drops the 0-60 mph time to 3.7 seconds and raises the top speed to 143 mph when equipped with performance tires (130 mph with all-season tires). This sportier model also gets standard adaptive suspension, a 0.3-inch lower ride height than the base model, and upgraded brakes.
Both models use an 84.3-kwh battery pack comprised of four modules with 72 cells each and three modules with 12 cells each, mounted under the floor. This arrangement gives the pack a lower profile, and means the i5 boasts the same passenger space as internal-combustion 5-Series models.
BMW estimates a maximum 295 miles of range for eDrive40 models equipped with the standard 19-inch wheels, while the i5 M60 xDrive has an estimated 256 miles of range.
DC fast charging at a maximum 205 kw allows for a 10-80% charge in about 30 minutes, BMW claims, and i5 owners get two years of complimentary 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America DC fast-charging sites. An 11-kw Level 2 AC onboard charger is included as well, along with battery preconditioning, including a function to prevent excessively low temperatures that might affect fast charging.
The i5 is close in concept to the BMW i4 and i7, in that it’s an all-electric version of a gasoline model. The main exterior styling differentiator is a sealed-off grille, while on the inside the i5 gets the same array of tech features as other redesigned 5-Series models.
The dashboard is largely bare except for a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 14.9-inch infotainment screen, squeezed together to create the appearance of one continuous display. BMW claims the iDrive 8.5 infotainment system has a more intuitive interface, and it also includes an Air Console gaming platform to provide entertainment during charging sessions.
A range of tech features, including natural language voice recognition, gesture control, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and a head-up display, are available as well.
BMW will also offer its latest driver-assist system, called Highway Assistant. Part of the optional Driving Assistance Professional Package, it enables hands-free highway driving at speeds up to 85 mph, along with automated lane changes. Driver monitoring aims to guard against misuse.
Automated parking tech is also available. One system can automatically maneuver the i5 into perpendicular parking spaces, while another can back the electric sedan out of tricky spots, such as tight garages or driveways recording the maneuvers as the driver does them.
After the i5, the next electric car debut from BMW may be the Neue Klasse EVs, due in 2025. Unlike the i5 and other recent BMW EVs, they’ll be based on an EV-specific platform. U.S.-market versions will be made in Mexico, and will likely pivot to a cylindrical battery format. Regardless of what the i5 might suggest, BMW does plan to build affordable EVs in the near future as well.
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