The latest BMW 5 Series is being offered with a pure-electric variant for the first time in the shape of the all-new BMW i5. It’ll provide a rival to the Mercedes EQE, Tesla Model S and Genesis Electrified G80 in the all-electric executive saloon sector.
BMW brought the i5 to Goodwood’s Festival of Speed for a public appearance so visitors could see it in action. Both the regular 5 Series and the i5 go on sale in October. A more practical ‘Touring’ estate version of each car is due to join the range in 2024.
Kicking off the i5 range will be the rear-wheel drive i5 eDrive40. It has a single electric motor on the rear axle and power comes from a 81.2kWh battery – enough, BMW says, for a 0-100kmh time of six seconds.
The flagship of the whole 5 Series range – at least, until BMW’s M division comes up with its expected hybrid M5 – will be the i5 M60 xDrive. As its name suggests, it has a motor on each axle for four-wheel drive.
Following BMW’s established strategy for it’s electric models, there aren’t too many design changes between the petrol-powered 5 Series and the i5. The styling is also an evolution of what’s gone before – as is usually the case on one of BMW’s cornerstone vehicles. The front has slimmer headlights than previously and, in line with the firm’s recent designs, a larger front grille – but the car is still clearly recognisable as a 5 Series. The grille itself is blanked off to improve aerodynamic efficiency. The 10cm gain in length over the old G30 5 Series gives the Mk8 model a slightly more rakish profile, though, particularly around C-pillar and boot.