Update: New BMW i5 pictures added to ‘Design,’ ‘Specifications,’ and ‘BMW 5 Series electric features’ sections.
In 2021, road tests 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. The BMW 5 Series has been a high-volume car for decades, bringing 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.
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.
BMW Group has shown prototypes of the i5 in a video. The heavy camouflage and provisional parts conceal the actual design, but we can confirm 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.
The i5’s 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.
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.
A spy video of the BMW i5 YouTube channel DrGumoLunatic uploaded on February 3, 2023, partially exposed its rear combination lights, indicating a rectangular shape with horizontal tail lights and a similar turn indicator between them, which could double as the brake light. Of course, it could be BMW’s disguise artists misleading us with new trickery, so better take this with a pinch of salt. However, we’re inclined to believe this is the production-intent design. The shape could be a little different, which we’ll know when the camouflage peels off completely, but the cluster should be just like it looks in this clip.
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.
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
BMW i5 eDrive40
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.
BMW i5 xDrive40
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.
BMW i5 M60
BMW Group has confirmed that the BMW i5 range will include a BMW M Performance model. According to a report BMWBlog released on December 29, 2022, it could sport a powertrain that generates nearly 600 hp and at least around 811 lb. ft. of torque.
With such outputs, the top-end BMW i5 M60 could turn out to be an exciting EV. Considering its lower curb weight when compared to the M60 version of the iX SUV, the power-to-weight ratio will definitely favor the sleeker sedan. We can also expect it to handle with more verve and agility around corners. Similarly, the M60 will feel more energetic and enthusiastic to drive when compared to its 335 hp eDrive40 variant mentioned earlier.
BMW i5 Touring
A BMW i5 Touring has been formally confirmed, 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.
No BMW i5M planned
BMW M apparently has no plans for a full-blown performance version of the i5, at least not in the new generation, as per BMWBlog. The company will continue with the current engineering philosophy followed in launches like the iX1 and i7, of using the CLAR platform, which is a conversion-type architecture shared with the combustion variants. M-engineered fully electric cars won’t arrive until the Neue Klasse family of cars goes on sale later this decade, adds the report.
Citing BMW’s ex-Development boss Klaus Fröhlich, an article in Autocar dated August 23, 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.
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 5 Series electric features
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 Digital Key Plus with Ultra-Wideband (digital key 3.0), 5G connectivity, a panoramic sunroof, etc. Some features will be entirely new, though. For example, BMW Group has confirmed BMW iDrive 8.5 with BMW Curved Display.
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.
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
Production of the BMW i5 will start in Summer 2023 (June-August 2023), Oliver Zipse, Chairman of BoM, BMW Group, announced during the company’s annual conference on March 15, 2023. The German automaker will manufacture its Tesla Model S rival along with the iX and i7 at its domestic factory in Dingolfing.
The official launch is still a few months away, but behind me, you can at least see the camouflaged i5. Production will get underway in the summer.Oliver Zipse, Chairman of BoM, BMW Group (BMW Group Annual Conference 2023 on March 15, 2023)
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.
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. It said it would manufacture electric drivetrains for 500,000 electrified vehicles annually in Dingolfing from 2022.
BMW said it was investing more than EUR 500 million to expand electric drivetrain production capacity in this location by 2022. It is preparing other production sites – like Regensburg and Leipzig – to produce electric drivetrains. The German automaker planned to invest around EUR 790 million (USD 836 million) in scaling up the production capacity for electric powertrain components at these three sites and Steyr by 2022.
BMW 5 Series EV release date
With the i5’s production scheduled to start in Summer 2023, we think BMW Group could hold its world premiere as early as Q2 2023 (April-June 2023). The company has confirmed it plans to launch it in Germany in October 2023. The U.S. will be among the first markets worldwide to get the new electric sedan, Zipse indicated during his speech during the company’s 2023 annual conference on March 15, 2023:
From October onwards, the i5 will initially be released in Korea, Europe, and the U.S.Oliver Zipse, Chairman of BoM, BMW Group (BMW Group Annual Conference 2023 on March 15, 2023)
The production start timeline of the BMW i5 suggests its first units will start reaching dealerships in Germany in late 2023. The Lucid Air rival may start arriving even at U.S. dealerships before the end of 2023. An Automotive News article published on January 28, 2023, indicated the same.
By the end of 2023, BMW Group plans to have at least one EV on sale in roughly 90% of its current market segments, as per BMW’s announcement dated December 7, 2021.
With the launch of the BMW i5 later this year, we are taking another important step on the road to electrifying our model lineup.Pieter Nota, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Customer, Brands, Sales, on January 10, 2023
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 & i5 will be launched in Europe in October 2023.
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