2023 BMW i5 (BMW 5 Series electric) design finalized [Update]

  • BMW i5 reportedly landing in 335 hp eDrive40 & 590 hp M60 xDrive variants
  • Global launch officially scheduled in 2023; to be made in Dingolfing, Germany
  • To compete with Mercedes EQE, Tesla Model S, Audi E6 & Nio ET7
  • Could be priced starting at USD 65,000-70,000 in the U.S.

Update: ‘Design’ section updated.

In 2021, road testing of the next-generation 2023 BMW 5 Series electric (BMW G60 BEV) and its combustion engine sibling (BMW G60) began in Europe. The former would be available as the BMW i5, a larger alternative to the BMW i4. For decades, different generations of the 5 Series have been high-volume cars for BMW, driving in the all-important revenue for developing future products. Hence, the BMW i5 is inevitable as the carmaker would expect it to be a volume driver in the future when its biggest markets switch to EVs.

Design

According to the first spy shots, BMW is working on the next-generation 5 Series, which will have a familiar silhouette. The BMW i5 will have traditional sedan car proportions. The classic kidney grille will not be omitted on the new i5. Spy shots confirm that BMW will not use the highly criticized vertically emphasized grille seen on the 4 Series model line or even the BMW iX.

The kidney grille on the new 5er looks more prominent, but it won’t extend down into the apron. It will appear more proportionate to other fascia elements than the 4 Series. The next-generation model should have flush-fitted (rather than pop-out) door handles for a clean appearance and aerodynamic benefit.

Car spy photographer Rollende recently spotted a BMW i5 prototype in Germany. The heavy camouflage and provisional parts conceal the actual design, but the pictures confirms two aspects in terms of appearance in addition to indicating that it won’t be very futuristic or offbeat like the Lucid Air or Nio ET7.

The i5 would carry the familiar 5 Series sedan shape and size. It would be a normal-looking three-box sedan with a long wheelbase and reasonably sized overhangs. The second observation is that the executive luxury car will retain its horizontal kidney grille instead of adopting the butterfly-shaped giant vertical grille seen on several new BMWs since the Mk2 4 Series. The electric 5er will likely avoid the polarizing design cues of recent BMWs.

Recent spy pictures show less-camouflaged prototypes of the i5, revealing more about its exterior. Its bright-white headlamps feature curved clusters reminiscent of the much-loved fifth-generation 5er. The last time we saw such strongly swept-back dual headlights was when the iX1 debuted in May 2022, and in 2023, it’ll be the i5’s turn to build on that.

Due to its conventional silhouette, the i5 exterior won’t be ultra-sleek. Don’t expect it to be as aerodynamically efficient as the Lucid Air, Tesla Model S, or Nio ET7, all of which have the same Cd value – 0.21. However, that’s not a very fair comparison, as these models were designed as EVs from the ground up and developed on an EV-specific platform, while the i5 sedan will be a conversion of an ICE model (the next-gen 5 Series). The i7 (0.24 Cd) has made it clear that BMW’s not chasing down the slippery drag coefficient values of its competitors (Mercedes EQS: 0.20 Cd) at the moment, and is focused on overall efficiency.

Rendered with muscular shoulders & wide track

Using the details revealed in spy media and incorporating all other reported information, we’ve created a realistic illustration of the production-spec BMW i5. Our image reveals the incoming 5er’s youthful and dynamic appearance, finished in the same body color as the most recent spy shots.

2023 BMW i5 rendering front three quarter
The BMW i5 (rendered) will feature a regular-sized kidney grille, and overall, a predictable design.

The slim and angular headlights with L-shaped outer DRLs and clear contours lend the car a strong visual impression. The hood is lowered, the crease lines are sharper, and the bumper has strong outer edges, including vertical air curtains near the edges that guide oncoming air past the wheels.

A contrasting element on the classical four-eyed front end is a closed-off, conjoined kidney grille. In addition to establishing a link between the past and future of BMW, it offers the function of housing the various sensors for the car’s safety and driver assistance features. Most BMW fans will be relieved to see a regular size for the signature design cue, following the shock upsizing that they’ve watched in horror since 2019. A small ‘i’ logo on the left piece indicates that the vehicle is a BMW EV.

As for the side profile, the BMW i5 has familiar proportions which 5 Series customers have appreciated for multiple generations. The flush-fitting door handles, operated by the press of a button, should contribute to the car’s aerodynamic efficiency. Like at the front, accents in the BMW i blue color signify the presence of a pure electric powertrain.

BMW-i5-rear-rendering
The BMW i5 M60 is rumored to be the most powerful 5 series yet. Render courtesy of Shkelqim Ameti (Instagram)

Earlier this year, Instagram user Shkelqim Ameti (@germanysfinest43) had worked on a rendering of the rear section of the BMW 5 Series Electric. The boot appears to have spent long hours in the wind tunnel as it gracefully merges with the windscreen, similar to a coupe. The spoiler is more aggressive, almost appearing to be a separate aero add-on.

Colors

In July 2022, Bimmerpost forum member ynguldyn, who is a credible source for BMW scoops, said that Alpine White, Mineral White, Frozen Pure Grey, Brooklyn Grey, Phytonic Blue, Black Sapphire, Carbon Black, and Cape York Green are the “known colors” for the BMW G60. The BMW G60 BEV may also offer these colors, although availability would vary depending on the market.

Specifications

The gas-powered G60 5 Series will arrive first, after which the BMW 5 Series electric (BMW i5) will follow in the second half of 2023. The two cars will be based on tweaked versions of the same platform.

In future, models such as the high-volume BMW 5 Series and the X1 as well as the BMW 7 Series will be available with four different types of drivetrain – all-electric, plug-in hybrid, petrol and diesel.

A clip from the BMW Group Report 2020

Variants

Bimmerpost forum member ynguldyn said that the BMW i5 will come in 335 hp eDrive40 and 590 hp M60 xDrive variants at launch. The i5 won’t debut new electric motors, claims the well-known BMW tipster. BMW already uses a 335 hp single-motor powertrain in the iX eDrive40 and i4 eDrive40, and it could extend its application to the i5 eDrive40.

According to the sources of BMWBlog, the BMW 5 Series electric line-up will include an xDrive40 variant as well. The name suggests that the AWD model would slot between the eDrive40 and M60 variants. An 80.7 kWh battery pack that delivers a WLTP range of up to 350 miles could be standard in the i5.

A BMW i5 Touring/station wagon is also reportedly in the pipeline, and we have covered it in a separate article. According to ynguldyn’s intel, the i5 Touring will be available in two variants, most likely xDrive40 and M50. In recent reports, the M60 has replaced the latter.

A proper i5 M/i5 Touring M is unlikely to see the light of the day anytime soon. Citing BMW’s ex-Development boss Klaus Fröhlich, an article in Autocar dated 23 August 2021 stated that we cannot expect fully electric M cars until 2025. While PHEVs like the BMW XM will be available, he said (current) pure electric powertrains will not match the dynamic nature of current M cars.

Charging

There’s no official word on the 5 Series electric’s operating voltage. But it’s safe to assume it will be 400 volts or slightly lower. The maximum charging power could be 11 kW(AC)/195 kW (DC). Fully charging the battery pack from 0% with a Level 2 charger could take around 10 hours. Topping up from 10-80% with a Level 3 charger could be a matter of just around half an hour. Just ten minutes of Level 3 charging could extend the range by around 80 miles.

BMW i5 2023 release date confirmation slide
Note the BMW 5 Series BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) on the company’s investor presentation from August 2022. Image: BMW Group.

BMW 5 Series electric features

Laserlight & Digital key

Expect the BMW 5 Series electric to draw features from the parts bin of the i4 and iX. The Tesla Model S rival will likely come with LED headlights with BMW Laserlight and matrix function, BMW iDrive 8 with BMW Curved Display, BMW Digital Key Plus with Ultra-Wideband (digital key 3.0), 5G connectivity, a panoramic sunroof, etc. Some features could be entirely new, though, inspired by the upcoming Vision (concept) model scheduled to debut at CES 2023 (January 3-8, 2023).

HVAC

The current-generation 5 Series received a four-zone automatic climate control system with a nanoparticle filter that improves the cabin air using nano-fleece and active carbon layers in May 2021. This air filtration system could be standard in the next-generation 5 Series EV and the i5.

Autonomous features

The BMW 5 Series electric should be able to perform automated driving and parking functions from the start, with software upgrades increasing autonomous driving capabilities later in the lifecycle. Level 3 self-driving could be another selling point for the model.

AVN & aesthetics

According to Bimmerpost forum member ynguldyn, the G60 (and thus maybe even the G60 BEV) will have more glass and metal trim, Harman Kardon audio system (standard)/Bowers & Wilkins audio system (optional), 19-inch wheels (standard)/20- or 21-inch wheels (optional), and Highway Assistant (optional). Iconic Glow will be an optional package, presumably backlighting various exterior elements including the kidney grille. An adaptive suspension will be standard in the i5 M60, and there will be an option to upgrade to an even better suspension, it is claimed.

BMW i5 Production

In an interview, Oliver Zipse, Chairman of BoM, BMW Group, told PNP (via g80.bimmerpost.com) that the BMW Group Plant Dingolfing will manufacture the next-gen 5 Series and the first-ever 5 Series electric. In addition, the German factory will produce the next-gen 7 Series and the first-ever 7 series electric (BMW i7) as well.

The Dingolfing E-Powertrain Competence Center will be in charge of the 5 Series electric battery modules, battery cell coating, high-voltage battery assembly, and e-machine development (electric motor). Since 2020, this facility has been producing the electric motor for the BMW iX3, and in May 2021, it began producing the batteries and battery modules for the BMW iX and BMW i4. This facility will also supply electric motors for the iX and i4. The BMW 5 Series electric may also be manufactured in China, but only for domestic sales.

BMW-iX-front
BMW Group Plant Dingolfing began manufacturing the iX in July 2021, the i7 in July 2022 and will roll out the BMW i5 in 2023. Image: BMW Group

Expecting no less than a 50% share of electrified vehicles in its annual sales globally from 2030, BMW Group is preparing to gear up for the production of both electric cars and electric vehicle components. Starting this year, it plans to manufacture electric drivetrains for 500,000 electrified vehicles annually in Dingolfing.

BMW is investing more than EUR 500 million (USD 500 million) to expand electric drivetrain production capacity in this location by the end of 2022. It is preparing other production sites – like Regensburg and Leipzig – to produce electric drivetrains. The German automaker plans to invest around EUR 790 million (USD 790 million) in scaling up the production capacity for electric powertrain components at these three sites and Steyr by the end of 2022.

BMW 5 Series EV release date

BMW confirmed on October 10, 2022, that it will release the i5 (5 Series electric) in 2023, the year by which it plans to have at least one fully-electric model on the road in roughly 90% of its current market segments, as it announced on December 7, 2021. We expect the company to unveil the i5 in the first half of the year.

Over the next year, the BMW Group will expand its electrified product line-up to include fully-electric versions of the BMW 7 Series and BMW X1. The high-volume BMW 5 Series will be added to the electric portfolio in 2023.

BMW Group reconfirming the 5 Series electric in a press release issued in December 2021

Also Read: Next-gen BMW 8 Series (G77) to be solely an all-electric model: Report

2023 BMW 5 Series electric FAQs

What is the release date of the 2023 BMW 5 Series?

The next-gen 5 Series & BMW i5 should be in global dealers in the second half of 2023. U.S. arrival should follow a few months after.

What are the rivals to the 2023 BMW 5 Series electric?

The BMW i5 will head straight for the Mercedes EQE and the 2024 Audi A6 e-tron (Audi E6).

What is the expected BMW i5 price?

In the U.S., the BMW i5 should have a starting price of around USD 65,000.

Featured Image: TopElectricSUV’s rendering of the BMW i5