BMW i5M to ride on the Neue Klasse platform

The BMW i4 M50 and BMW iX M60 are already here, but they are not full-blown BMW M electric cars. Hardcore, proper BMW M electric cars are still a few years away, and one of them would be the BMW i5M.

BMW’s motto of providing customers the ‘power of choice’ means allowing customers to choose between multiple powertrain technologies. In the zero-emission era, that would mean a 100% battery-powered M5 alternative has to be part of the core BMW M line-up.

BMW i5 rear rendering
The next-generation BMW i5 would use the brand’s Cluster Architecture. Speculative illustration of the BMW i5 courtesy of Shkelqim Ameti (Instagram)

BMW will continue to employ its CLAR platform for the next-generation G60 5 Series, which will be released in 2023. The CLAR was never intended to be an electric-only platform. Still, it can accommodate electric architecture, which is how the BMW i4 and the China-only i3 Sedan were made available to the masses without any undue delay.

BMW i5M Design and Specifications

The BMW i5M could come with a black closed-off kidney grille, aggressively styled bumpers at the front and the rear, a large black diffuser at the rear, and subtle aero-work around the body. BMW may even offer forged aluminum wheels with a gold finish on the i5M, just like the BMW M5 CS, the most powerful BMW ever made with 627 hp.

The next generation BMW M5, which will come with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, is likely to outperform the BMW M5 CS. The i5M would have the capability and raw power to be even quicker and more dynamic.

BMW M5 CS
The BMW M5 CS is currently the most powerful BMW, with 627 hp. Only an electric or plug-in hybrid M model would genuinely be able to outperform the M5 CS. Image: BMW

Auto Motor und Sport reported in November 2021 that the i5M could pack a tri-motor set-up. The electric M model would be a rocketship, as the report states that it could pack as much as 750 hp with two motors on the rear axle and one motor on the front axle. With this powertrain, one can expect 0-62 mph times of under 4 seconds.

However, the report also mentioned a tri-motor set-up on the range-topping i7, which is not the case, at least as of yet. The i7 has a dual motor AWD set-up with 536 hp and 549 lb-ft. While a similar drivetrain can be expected on the top-spec i5, we cannot write off the possibility of BMW adding another motor on the M models for that extra oomph that the M badge promises.

A more recent from Auto Zeitung suggests the i5M would need to be even more powerful. It speculates the next-gen M5’s plug-in hybrid system will produce up to 552 kW or 740 hp. If true, the i5M would have to be at around 597 kW or 800 hp to ensure it appears significantly more powerful.

BMW Neue Klasse Platform

The Die Neue Klasse (The New Class), which will debut on the next-generation BMW 3 Series in 2025, is BMW’s first platform developed from the ground up to accept an electric engine. BMW plans to build performance M cars like the BMW i5M on this electric-first platform and benefit from its inherent characteristics that enable high performance.

BMW’s CTO Frank Weber told Whichcar.com.au that the Neue Klasse was built from the ground up to maximize battery space and that this platform can electrify all BMW cars, even the sportier M models.

BMW iX M60 front three quarter
The 610 hp BMW iX M60 is the most powerful BMW electric car. Its next generation would be based on the Neue Klasse platform. Image: BMW

In an interview with Autocar.co.uk in August 2021, Weber’s predecessor, Klaus Fröhlich, stated that fully-electric M cars will not be available until 2025 since the platforms are still too hefty to match the dynamics of current M models. He was referring to the CLAR-based EVs, which are light on the scale; the Tesla Model 3 starts at roughly 1.6 tonnes, but the BMW i4 starts at 2.1 tonnes!

The Neue Klasse BMW i5M could arrive in the second half of the decade. It could go on sale in the U.S. shortly after its European launch. Given America’s huge appetite for high-performance cars, including sedans like the Tesla Model S Plaid, the U.S. launch would be a high priority.

Featured Image source: Shkelqim Ameti (Instagram)