The BMW i4 M50 and BMW iX M60 are available in the U.S. today, but they are not full-blown BMW M electric cars. Hardcore, proper BMW M electric cars are a few years away, but work on them have well and truly begun! Here’s what BMW’s performance division has in store for the incoming 5 Series electric.
BMW i5 M60
The BMW i5 M60 would arrive before the BMW i5M, and it would be based on the familiar CLAR platform which is a multi-energy application. It can accommodate electric components, which is how the BMW i4 and the China-only i3 Sedan were made available to the masses without any undue delay.
Performance & Range
The i5 M60 would have two motors, one powering the front wheels and one powering the rear wheels. According to reliable Bimmerpost forum member ynguldyn, the i5 M60 will produce 590 horsepower, although this could be the temporary output available by engaging a boost function. The iX M60’s dual-motor powertrain produces 532 horsepower normally and 610 horsepower for less than ten seconds when the driver enables a boost function with a Sport mode.
An adaptive suspension will be standard in the i5 M60, and an even better suspension will be available optionally, as per ynguldyn. Both should allow the driver to customize the shock setting as per the driving situation and their preference. The Bimmerpost forum member says that 19-inch wheels will be standard and larger wheels with a diameter of up to 21 inches will be available optionally.
All variants of the i5 should come equipped with near-actuator wheel slip limitation technology that ensures the vehicle offers maximum traction in straight-line acceleration. In the M60 variant, it could be tuned for optimum, rear-biased distribution of torque between the two axles.
A 0-60 mph sprint in the i5 M60 could take 3.5 seconds or lower. The top speed could be electronically-limited to 155 mph. An 80.7 kWh battery pack delivering a WLTP range of above 300 miles (EPA-est. figure is usually comparatively lower) could be standard.
The BMW i5 M60 will likely go on sale in the U.S. in the second half of 2023. Prices in the U.S. market should start north of USD 80,000.
BMW’s motto of providing customers the ‘power of choice’ means allowing customers to choose between multiple propulsion technologies. In the zero-emission era, that would mean a 100% battery-powered M5 has to be part of the core BMW M line-up.
The BMW i5M could come with a black closed-off kidney grille, aggressively styled bumpers, a large black diffuser at the rear, and subtle aero-work around the body. BMW may offer forged aluminum wheels with a gold finish on the i5M, just like the BMW M5 CS, the most powerful BMW ever made with 635 hp.
The Neue Klasse platform (New Class platform), which will debut on a mid-size model 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 EV-only 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.
The i5M would have the capability and raw power to be quicker than the next-gen M5 and the i5 M60. On November 7, 2021, auto motor und sport reported that the i5M could pack a tri-motor set-up. One motor will likely be on the front axle and two motors enabling e-torque vectoring will likely be on the rear axle.
On April 27, 2022, Auto Zeitung reported that the system power of the i5M’s powertrain could be 530 kilowatts (710 horsepower). We think that would be enough power to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just around three seconds.
The triple-motor setup of the i5M may demand a bigger and more efficient battery pack (compared to the i5 M60). It’s early to speculate on the range, but we expect the WLTP figure to be at least 311 miles.
In an interview with Autocar 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 not 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 during 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 performance machines, including sedans like the Tesla Model S Plaid, the U.S. launch would be a high priority.
For Munich, the all-electric 5 Series is perhaps a more important launch than both the i7 and the i4, due to the immense popularity and the legacy of the 5 Series model line. It’s a good thing that the new 5er doesn’t have oversized kidney grilles—that would have been a major turnoff! And the i5 M60 is only a taste of what is to come in the 5 Series from the high performance division!
Featured Image Source: Shkelqim Ameti (Instagram)