Update: Entire story updated.
The BMW i5 family will include a BMW i5 Touring, a practical estate targeted primarily at European customers. The BMW i5 Touring will be among the first luxury electric station wagons to hit the market. Here’s everything we know about it so far:
The station wagon or estate is not dead
According to a report from analyst firm LMC Automotive in 2019, while the station wagon body style is losing popularity to the SUV, still, 1.5 million estate cars are expected to be sold in 2025 with Europe accounting for around 75% of the market. Naturally, demand has started shifting towards electrified models as governments are setting deadlines for the phasing out of combustion engines.
Northern Europe, a particularly strong market for estates, is accelerating the shift to electric vehicles, which builds a strong case for BMW to approve the project. It is also interesting to note that the world’s first and perhaps only electric estate on sale is the MG5 which is available in Europe. A Peugeot e-308 SW will arrive in the region in mid-2023, whereas Skoda has also confirmed an electric Combi due later this decade.
Confirmation & testing
At the 2023 BMW Group Annual Conference, BMW confirmed that the all-electric 5 Series station wagon will be launched in 2024
The BMW 5 Series Touring is very popular, particularly in Europe. From spring 2024 it will also come in an all-electric version, giving us a truly unique selling point in this segment.Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, at the BMW Group Annual Conference 2023 on March 15, 2023
In a flurry of spy shots that emerged from Europe on December 14, 2022, on the global web media, we get to see a well-camouflaged test mule of the upcoming BMW i5 Touring. The photos show the all-electric station wagon being driven in a possibly-remote location in snowy Germany. The large but covered kidney grille is clearly visible, and so are the red brake calipers and LED running lights in the tail lamps. A closer look also reveals “Electrified Vehicle” stickers on the front doors and rear bumper of the car.
With the BMW i5 out now, there’s little left to imagine how the BMW i5 Touring will look. An elongated roof, a liftgate, and much bigger quarter glass panels would be among the obvious visual changes from the sedan. All the core design elements would mirror the sedan, from the swept-back, twin headlights with Matrix high beam to the sharknose-inspired BMW kidney grille, the high shoulder line, the flush-mounted door openers, and the flat rear lights with an L-shaped chrome strip bifurcating them.
19-inch wheels would be standard on the i5 Touring and 20-inch wheels will likely be optional. In addition to bigger wheels, options like M Shadow Line black trim for the headlights, BMW Iconic Glow contour line lighting for the grille, and an M Sport Package body kit would allow customers to give their i5 a more stylish exterior.
Interior & Features
Inside, the BMW i5 Touring would look even more similar to its sedan donor. Expect the electric station wagon to have a minimalist interior and offer a lounge-style ambiance. A low-profile dashboard with simplistic surfacing, discreetly integrated air vents and speakers, a HUD projector, a pair of sleek displays, and mood lighting strips are given.
Another sure-shot feature of the i5 Touring will be BMW Interaction Bar with ambient lighting in the dashboard and door area. It’ll go well with the optional Crafted Clarity glass elements on the center console. In addition to uplifting the cabin’s ambiance, these lights should generate animations to communicate welcome/goodbye to the driver. Moreover, they may give the driver visual alerts, like when a smartphone connected to it gets a call. The touch-sensitive surfaces built into these strips will likely allow the driver and passenger to adjust the climate control functions and the operation of the door and lights.
A four-zone automatic climate control system will likely be available as an option. A heat pump will likely be part of the standard features. A fixed panoramic glass roof designed as a body-mounted module will likely be available optionally. BMW IconicSounds Electric artificial driving sounds, a 655-watt Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system with 18 speakers and an amplifier, and various M Sport Package elements like M pedals, M driver’s footrest, M seatbelts, and more will likely be among other available interior options.
BMW Curved Display
The i5 Touring will feature a combination of the virtual instrument cluster (driver information display) and the BMW iDrive control/operation system’s central display (control display) clubbed into a frameless single-piece glass surface angled towards the driver. Called BMW Curved Display, this panel that brings together the two cockpit displays may appear to be free-standing, giving the cockpit area a neat, low-profile appearance. The instrument cluster could measure 12.3 inches diagonally, with the central display measuring 14.9 inches.
The BMW Curved Display in the BMW i5 Touring will feature the BMW Operating System 8.5. Like the BMW Operating System 8, it’s a Linux-based operating system, but with a new, flat menu structure that makes operations much speedier and simpler. All essential functions and information appear on a single level, so the user doesn’t need to scroll through a submenu for anything important while driving.
The i5 Touring would be available with a Highway Assistant feature that gives the driver the comfort of hands-free driving at speeds of up to 85 mph. This feature would include Active Lane Change, which, in a world first, would be controllable by activation. When the car recommends a lane change, the driver would be able to confirm the action simply by looking in the corresponding ORVM. Thus, the driver wouldn’t need to flick the turn indicator to make a turn in hands-free mode.
Based on the same cluster architecture (CLAR) platform as the i4, the BMW i5 Touring will come with the brand’s 5th Generation eDrive powertrain that houses a more densely packed and energy-efficient battery module and an integrated drive system that houses the e-motor, transmission, and power electronics in one common housing.
Spy pictures have shown the i5 Touring featuring a rear-wheel steering system. We expect that to be an optional feature in the production vehicle. Urban dwellers tackling narrow streets will truly appreciate the car’s reduced turning circle, as the rear wheels would turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels at low speeds. At high speeds, like on highways, the rear wheels would turn in the same direction as the front wheels to improve the car’s stability.
Bimmerpost forum’s ynguldyn suggests that the i5 Touring will be available in two variants at launch: xDrive40 and M60 xDrive. In that case, two motors, one for the front wheels and one for the rear wheels, will be standard.
The xDrive40 variant’s powertrain may produce 396 hp and 443 lb.-ft. of torque. A 0-60 mph sprint in this variant could take around 5.0 seconds. The top speed could be electronically limited to 120-125 mph.
The M60 xDrive variant’s powertrain should generate 590 hp and 586 lb.-ft. of torque. Expect the performance variant to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and attain a top speed of 143 mph (also electronically limited).
Range & Charging
Expect the i5 Touring xDrive40 and i5 Touring M60 xDrive to share an 81.2 kWh battery pack. The WLTP-est. range could be around 350 miles for the former and a little over 300 miles for the latter.
Both variants will likely support charging at up to 11 kW (AC)/205 kW (DC). Charging from 0 to 100% level through a Level 2 (AC) charger will likely take as low as 8 hours and 25 minutes. Charging from 10 to 80% level through a Level 3 (DC) charger will likely take 30 minutes. In select markets, customers may get an option to increase the peak AC charging input to 22 kW and reduce the Level 2 charging time by about 50%. Support for the Plug & Charge function will likely be included as standard right from launch.
Production & Launch
Production of the BMW i5 Touring will take place alongside the i5 at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing in Germany from 2024. We think the confirmed Spring 2024 launch timeline applies to Germany, where station wagons are quite popular, and other markets should then gradually begin receiving shipments.
The BMW i5 wagon will compete with the Audi A6 e-tron Avant, Nio ET5 shooting brake (Nio ET5 Orion), and the purported Mercedes EQE shooting brake, and to some extent even the all-electric Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake.
BMW Group is testing the i5 Touring with production body and lights, insinuating that development has reached an advanced phase. Recent spy photos show engineers testing the i5 Touring M60 xDrive (identified by the M badge beneath the camo on the fender, dual-tone alloy wheels and special outside mirror caps) in the snow, to verify that it is capable of dealing with any weather or surface.
Bimmerpost’s ynguldyn says that production of the next-gen 5 Series Touring family, which includes the first-ever i5 Touring, will start in March 2024 and conclude in February 2031. There’s no plan to sell the station wagon in the U.S., neither with an internal combustion engine nor with electric motors, as per ynguldyn. The i5 sedan has been confirmed for the U.S., though. “From October onwards, the i5 will initially be released in Korea, Europe, and the U.S.,” Oliver Zipse, BoM Chairman, BMW Group, said during the company’s 2023 annual conference on March 15, 2023.
According to BMW’s announcement dated December 7, 2021, the company plans to have at least one electric vehicle available in about 90% of its current market segments by 2023.
While the market for station wagons is not growing globally, it is an important segment for premium car makers from the perspective of future-proofing their line-up. The i5 Touring’s innovative cabin space solutions and the all-electric powertrain with a reliable range would attract both fleet and personal car buyers, and appeal to shoppers who don’t want another SUV. And BMW wouldn’t want their current 3 and 5 Series Touring customers to think about shopping at Audi or Mercedes when it’s time for a new car!
BMW i5 Touring FAQs
What is the BMW i5 Touring release date?
BMW has confirmed that it will launch the i5 Touring in Spring 2024
What is the expected BMW i5 Touring price?
BMW could price the electric estate model from around EUR 65,000
Which are the alternatives to the BMW i5 Touring?
The upcoming Nio ET5 Orion and Audi A6 Avant e-tron are the challengers.
Featured Image: TopElectricSUV’s rendition of the BMW i5 Touring.