New BMW i5 and i5 Touring: Electric 5 Series to launch in 2023
Electric 5 Series will rival the Mercedes EQE and forthcoming Audi A6 e-tron when it goes on sale later this year
The new BMW i5 will be revealed in 2023, the brand has officially confirmed. The fully electric version of BMW’s next-generation 5 Series will be available in both saloon and i5 Touring estate form, with both expected to be unveiled at the same time later this year.
The i5 saloon will rival the likes of the Mercedes EQE and Tesla Model S, while the estate version won’t face much competition at launch. The budget-friendly MG5 EV and the much more premium Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo and Taycan Sport Turismo are the only electric estates currently on sale. The Audi A6 Avant e-tron will be a direct rival when it arrives in 2024, however.
We’ve spotted prototypes of the i5 testing several times in recent months, with the latest images reaffirming that the electric and combustion-engined versions of new 5 Series will look almost identical. While the standard 5 Series will get a conventional grille setup, the blanked-off panel will be the largest giveaway of the i5’s zero-emissions status. The kidney grilles themselves appear to be a lot smaller on this prototype, than those found on the i4 or i7 saloons.
Other design details we can discern include a single headlight cluster, rather than a split headlight setup featured on the new 7 Series and X7 SUV, plus flush door handles designed to reduce aerodynamic drag. Overall, it looks like this will be more of an evolution of the current 5 Series’ styling, rather than a complete overhaul.
The i5 will share the same underpinnings as the current combustion-engined 5 Series, also used by the i4 saloon. As a result, we expect the two EVs to be offered with very similar powertrains. The entry-level i4 eDrive40 uses a 80.7kWh battery and single rear-mounted motor producing around 335bhp and 430Nm of torque, while the high-performance M50 produces over 530bhp with boost mode activated.
There is potential for an even faster version of the i5, though, which could serve as a pure-electric alternative to the next-generation M5 – itself expected to feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain similar to one found in the 644bhp XM performance SUV.
In terms of range, the i4 can cover up to 365 miles on a full battery, according to BMW. We should see the i5 offer very similar figures despite its larger size, but that does depend on what improvement BMW has been able to make to its fifth generation eDrive technology since the i4’s introduction.
The i5 will be the last electric BMWs to use the CLAR underpinnings. From 2025, BMW will begin to introduce EVs based on its new Neue Klasse platform, likely led by all-electric replacements for the 3 Series and the X5 SUV.