All-new 2023 BMW 5 Series unveiled, embarks on new era with fully-electric i5

If the BMW 3 Series is the quintessential sports sedan, then the 5-er is perhaps the executive car. In other words, the long-awaited launch of the all-new 2023 BMW 5 Series today doesn’t just mark the start of a new era for the model, but also for its market segment.

That’s because the 5 Series will now also be offered for the first time ever in a fully-electric i5 guise, joining the Munich-based carmaker’s ever-expanding line-up of EVs. And with that, the business sedan space will soon be changed forever.

But before all that, the basics: the all-new BMW 5 Series has grown in all dimensions over its predecessor, measuring 97 mm longer (with a 20 mm longer wheelbase), 32 mm wider, and 36 mm taller. Viewed from its profile, though, and you’ll still see all of the hallmark 5 Series silhouette, including the long hood and sloped roofline – just with a little longer overhangs both front and back.

It’s styled around a new cleaner and “reduced” design language that’s supposed to bring out the new 5-er’s “sporty elegance and presence”, although you may argue that they’ve perhaps gone a little too overboard with that at the back, as it ends up looking a little anonymous in our opinion – just like the 7 Series.

RELATED: BMW i7 eDrive50 unveiled – New entry-level variant, up to 611km of range

The front of the all-new BMW 5 Series is still dominated by the (now larger) signature kidney grille, featuring a more geometric shape, covered mesh with 14 vertical louvres, and an illuminated outline if you so wish. Thanks to its M designation, the range-topping i5 M60 xDrive variant also gets an M-exclusive conjoined grille with a unique high gloss black plastic cover.

As for lighting, BMW says the new headlights are a reinterpretation of the marque’s signature twin headlights, featuring the new vertically-aligned daytime-running lights that also doubles as the turn indicators. Ditto the tail lights at the back, where the now-iconic ‘L’ shape is squashed into a slimmer three-dimensional enclosure.

The clean side profile is underscored by only the twin character lines, one high up above the door handles, and another at the bottom that kicks up towards the rear to give the executive sedan a more athletic stance.

On the mention of door handles, the flush items work alongside other aerodynamic touches, including a clean underbody and aerodynamic wheels, to give the all-new BMW 5 Series a drag coefficient of just 0.23 Cd.

Inside, the dashboard borrows significantly from the BMW 7 Series, including the steering wheel that’s taken wholesale from its elder brother. The optional illuminating interaction bar is also from the 7, but it now gets a new split design, where the centre stack curves slightly towards the driver for the signature “driver-focused” layout.

Otherwise, the rest of the cabin is fairly standard for a BMW. The Curved Display up top, which combines the 12.3-inch instrumentation panel and the 14.9-inch infotainment display, now runs on the marque’s latest Linux-based iDrive 8.5 system (not the upcoming Android-based iDrive 9.0), offering gaming and video streaming applications to help pass time while charging.

ALSO READ: BMW EVs will soon let you play games on the infotainment display while you charge your car

The advanced driver assistance features have also been significantly upgraded here, including an expanded range of systems for partially automated driving and parking in selected markets (due to regulatory reasons).

With the new Highway Assistant and Active Lane Change Assistant features, drivers can now take their hands off the steering wheel completely at up to speeds of 130 km/h, letting the car change lane autonomously by just looking at the exterior mirror.

The new Parking Assistant Professional system meanwhile allows for automated parking and manoeuvring of up to 200 metres, and can even be controlled outside the vehicle via a smartphone app.

At launch, the fully electric BMW i5 will be offered in two setups: an entry-level i5 eDrive40 i5, and the i5 M60 xDrive. The former sports a single motor on the rear axle making 250 kW (340 hp) and 430 Nm of torque, translating to a century sprint in under six seconds, and a top speed of 193 km/h.

The range-topping M60 xDrive variant meanwhile gets a twin-motor all-wheel drive set-up, making a combined 440 kW (590 hp) and up to 820 Nm on Sport Boost mode. With launch control activated, the M-badged electric 5-er accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, while top speed is limited at 230 km/h.

BMW says the all-new i5 features “extensively enhanced fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology“. And even though it’s still relying on the old flexible CLAR platform, the batteries are still located in the underbody, which means its capacity can be expanded to a usable content of 81.2 kWh, translating to a WLTP ranges of up to 516 km on the twin-motor i5 M60 xDrive, and 582 km on the eDrive40.

A new Max Range function trades off power and comfort features to further boost driving range by up to 25%. To charge, an on-board 11 kW AC charger is standard (upgradeable to 22 kW), while DC fast charging support of up to 205 kW means you’ll be able to top it up from 10-80% SoC in around 30 minutes.

The use of the CLAR platform also allows for plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and pure ICE options on the 5 Series, with this generation being the last for the latter. BMW did not reveal the full list of available powertrain options, only noting that the offerings will differ according to market.

We do know, however, that they’ll all be electrified via 48V mild hybrid technology, and there’ll at least be a 520i option offering up 208 hp and a 530i option with 255 hp, both utilising a turbocharged 2.0-litre inline-four engine and an eight-speed automatic gearbox combo, followed by two plug-in hybrid variants (and a new all-wheel drive i5) in 2024.

Despite everything that’s new, BMW claims that the new 5-er is still indisputably a bimmer, boasting a chassis that’s designed for a “unique balance between driving dynamics and travel comfort”, thanks to its “almost perfectly balanced” 50:50 weight distribution, and a new suspension layout consisting of double wishbones in front and a five-link set-up at the rear.

The fully electric BMW i5 rides on air suspension to manage the extra weight, although all 5 Series variants can be equipped with electronically-controlled suspensions, Active Roll Stabilisation, rear wheel steering, and even M Sport kit to amp up its driving performance.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here