BMW on Wednesday took the covers off a redesigned 5-Series that’s scheduled to reach dealerships late this year as a 2024 model.
It represents the eighth generation of the nameplate and the first to offer an electric option, badged the i5.
Only the sedan body style has been revealed, but a wagon is planned for some markets, with both gas and electric options. A new generation of the M5 is also coming, this time with plug-in hybrid power.
The gas-powered 5-Series will initially be offered in the U.S. in 530i and 540i xDrive grades, priced from $58,895 and $61,195, respectively. The electric i5 will be offered in i5 eDrive40 and i5 M60 xDrive grades, priced from $67,795 and $85,095, respectively. All figures include a $995 destination charge.
The 530i is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-4 rated at 255 hp, and comes with rear-wheel drive as standard. All-wheel drive is available. The 540i xDrive comes standard with all-wheel drive and swaps in a 3.0-liter turbo-6 good for 375 hp. Both gas engines are mated to 8-speed automatic transmissions and 48-volt mild-hybrid systems as standard.
The i5 eDrive40 is powered by a single electric motor at the rear axle, good for 335 hp. Upgrading to the i5 M60 xDrive swaps in a dual-motor all-wheel-drive setup generating a peak 590 hp. This grade is the quickest of the bunch, requiring just 3.7 seconds to accelerate from 0-60 mph. The top speed is capped at 143 mph when equipped with performance tires (130 mph with all-season tires).
The standard battery in both electric variants is an 84.3-kwh unit that BMW estimates will deliver an EPA-rated range of 295 miles in the i5 eDrive40 and 256 miles in the i5 M60 xDrive. Charging at up to 205 kw is possible using a DC fast charger, in which case the battery can be charged to 80% in around 30 minutes, according to BMW. First-time i5 owners in the U.S. will receive two years of complimentary 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America DC fast-charging locations.
Buyers waiting for the M5 can look forward to a V-8 paired with a plug-in hybrid system. BMW hasn’t said when the M5 is coming but a debut next year is likely.
Compared to the redesigned 2023 7-Series, the styling of the latest 5-Series is more traditional. It still stands out however with its high level of surface sculpting and large grille, which on the i5 features a sealed-off design. It has also grown in size compared to its predecessor, now measuring 199.2 inches in length (up 3.4 inches) and 74.8 inches in width (up 1.3 inches). The wheelbase has grown to 117.9 inches, which is 0.8 of an inch longer than at present.
Inside, the dash is largely devoid of features apart from a display panel housing screens serving as a digital instrument cluster (12.3 inches) and infotainment hub (14.9 inches). Controlling the screens and various vehicle functions is handled via an updated version of the iDrive interface (version 8.5). The updates are aimed at making the interface faster and more intuitive to use thanks to direct access to popular functions like adjusting the climate settings or using the navigation. Natural-speak voice activation, gesture control, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also featured. A head-up display is also on offer.
BMW will also offer the latest version of its automated driver-assist system for highways, dubbed Highway Assistant. Part of the Driving Assistant Professional package, Highway Assistant will control the vehicle in a single lane at speeds of up to 85 mph on certain highway types. The driver will still need to monitor things at all times and take over at a moment’s notice.
Highway Assistant will also perform automated lane changes. To initiate the maneuver, all the driver has to do is look at the side mirror in the direction of the lane he or she wants to enter. A camera tracks the driver’s eye and when it detects the driver is looking at a side mirror, it will prompt the driver to give the go ahead for an automatic lane change, which will then be performed by the vehicle if the traffic situation allows. The driver can also initiate the maneuver using the turn signals.
Also included is a handy automated system for parking. There are two components. The first can handle perpendicular parking on its own. The second is designed for backing out of tricky parking situations, like in a narrow garage or down a winding driveway. The system can record a maneuver of up to 164 feet when the driver enters the spot, and then automatically handles the maneuver in reverse at a maximum speed of 22 mph.
BMW has also added an option for playing video games, which can be handy to keep the kids occupied during charging sessions in the i5. Via the gaming platform known as AirConsole, the driver and other occupants can play games using their smartphones as a controller, but only when the vehicle is stationary.
Underpinning the new 5-Series is the latest version of BMW Group’s CLAR platform for rear-wheel-drive vehicles, which BMW said helps deliver a more dynamic and more comfortable driving experience than in the current 5-Series. The larger footprint aids stability, and the engineers have also implemented specific struts to improve rigidity. The suspension, consisting of double wishbones up front and a five-link setup at the rear, has also been tweaked. An ideal 50:50 weight distribution also remains, according to BMW.
Production will be handled at BMW Group’s plant in Dingolfing, Germany, starting this summer. The plant, which turned 50 this year, is also where BMW builds the 7-Series, 8-Series, and iX.
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