Review by Veeno Dewan
BMW’s new, all-electric 2024 i5 sedan is a benchmark for the esteemed German company. Building off the legacy of the much-loved BMW 5 Series – the new i5 is an all-electric drive model. Its task? To marry the sportiness of the smaller BMW 3 Series and the luxury and technology of the more extensive BMW 7 Series. It is a big, imposing vehicle, and its styling is unique. It joins its sibling 5-Series variants, which comprise gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid capability.
The i5 Series EV comes in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations, namely the i5 eDrive40 (Not available in Canada yet) and the i5 M60 xDrive. (xDrive denotes All Wheel Drive.) This is an all-wheel drive sedan that has a battery pack and is equipped with two motors. The front motor delivers 261 horsepower, which, when added with the rear motor’s 250hp, can produce almost 601 horsepower!
The top-of-the-line i5 M60 has every power, luxury, and convenience option and has engineering performance technology. There are electronically controlled dampers, adaptive suspension, active body-roll stabilization, and four-wheel steering. The M60 also boasts the Sport Boost or the M Launch Control function, which, when activated, increases maximum torque to 600 lb-ft, translating to a zero to 100 km/h sprint of just 3.8 seconds. The transmission drive is via a single-speed/all-wheel drive unit.
The BMW i5 price starts at $95,000 and goes up to $113,600, depending on specifications and options. Sadly, no provincial and federal rebates are available on the expensive EV model. Technology abounds on this sophisticated i5. A range of partially automated driving and parking systems is available as standard. The highlight of the technology is an industry-first—active Lane Change Assistant with eye confirmation. When safe to do so, the system will suggest a road lane change to the driver that can be carried out by simply looking in the exterior mirror to confirm the lane change. It is like modern jet fighter technology.
The battery is an 81.2 kWh unit and can be charged up to 205 kW. The Combined Charging Unit of the BMW i5 enables AC charging with an output of up to 11 kW as standard and up to 22 kW as an option. BMW says it will take 30 minutes to go from 10 to 80 percent battery charge at a 205-kilowatt station.
Interior-wise, BMW’s attention to maintaining a driver-focused front dash and the cabin is fully realized with an ergonomic approach and attention to detail: the 12.3-inch Information display and the 14.9-inch control display supply all the information and functionality required. The steering wheel is also new, and there is a high standard of comfort and comfortable seating with good head, leg, and shoulder room in all quarters. The new vegan-based interior rim comes as standard. However, one downside is the surplus of hard black plastic where there should be padded real or faux leather or fabric. The rear cabin is roomy enough, and the fit and finish, except for the hard plastic use, is up to the usual high BMW standards.
The sizeable heavy i5 is a wonderfully smooth cruiser with the most divine supple suspension setup on the road. However, the floaty luxury ride still enables agile handling as the weight of the centrally mounted batteries helps stabilize the i5. Road handling is sublime and confident. It is fast, too—with rocket-like acceleration and 593 -600 horsepower, the 100 kilometers an hour dash is a mere 3.8 seconds. The standard Adaptive M Suspension Professional suite of systems ups the performance quotient, and the i5, despite its size, has a nimble, light-footed air about it. Body roll is negligible, and there are superb brakes.
In terms of EV range, the all-wheel-drive i5 M60 with its 81-kilowatt-hour battery is rated at 399 kilometers by Natural Resources Canada. Opt for smaller 19-inch wheels, and 412 km is possible. Fuel economy (liters-equivalent per 100 kilometers): 2.6 highway, 2.6 cities (on 20-inch wheels)
To sum up, the BMW i5 competes against some heavy hitters in this segment. For starters, the Mercedes EQE 500, the Tesla Model S with dual-motor AWD, the Genesis GV80 Electrified, and the upcoming Lucid Air Pure; most vehicles offer better EV driving range. However, the BMW i5 is the most exciting to drive, with a luxurious ride, quick acceleration, and sublime handling. This is the 5 Series everyone has been waiting for, and it delivers to the maximum.
2024 BMWi5 Electric- Priced from $95,000 – $113,600 plus options, delivery PDI.
More info at www.bmw.ca