A new media report in Germany provides some info on the all-electric version of BMW’s 5 Series. The BMW i5 is to be presented in 2023 and will also have an M variant. The main rivals are said to be the Mercedes EQE and the Audi A6 e-tron.
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The German website Focus Online claims that the i5 model will be based on BMW’s “fifth generation” e-drive technology, which is the same family of drive type used in the iX3 or the two new i4 and iX models.
According to the report, the i5 will no longer be based on the current generation of the 5 Series with the internal designation G30, but on the new generation G60, which is to be presented in autumn 2023 – as a combustion engine and as an electric saloon. This is made possible by the German family-owned carmaker’s CLAR platform, which already enables the i4 to run parallel to the combustion engine variants of the 4 Series, including the 4 Series Gran Coupé. The i4 shares most of the bodywork with the latter.
Possible technical data for an i5 are not mentioned in the report, only the output of a forthcoming M version is said to be more than 700 hp, equivalent to 515 kW. The drive units of iX3 (210 kW at the rear axle), i4 (up to 190 kW at the front and 230 kW at the rear) and iX (like the i4) give a possible framework here. Whereas the performance data of the iX xDrive 50 and the i4 M50 differ, although they use the same drive units at the front and rear. This is partly due to the software, which is adapted to the respective models, but also to the battery.
BMW’s battery kit is designed for prismatic cells, but modules can accommodate cells of different sizes and with different cell chemistries. It is difficult to make a guess as to which battery BMW will fit in the i5 – or more specifically, which i5 variant will get what battery type.
According to Focus Online, the interior of the i5 will be based on the iX and i4. With the curved display and the centre console with touch-sensitive keypads instead of physical buttons, the cockpit is supposed to be more purist than in the current 5 Series – but probably not quite as avant-garde as the iX.
When the i5 is presented at the end of 2023 and presumably comes onto the market in 2024, it will compete against the already presented Mercedes EQE and the Audi A6 e-tron. Audi revealed a near-production study of the latter this April and here the presentation of the production version is planned for the end of 2022, with market launch in 2023. Despite the model name A6, the A6 e-tron will have nothing in common with the familiar combustion engine series as it is based on the purely electric PPE platform. The EQE, the electric counterpart to the E-Class, also relies on a BEV platform.
Update 23 November 2021:
There is now the rumour that the BMW i5 planned for 2023 could also get a station wagon offshoot. BMWBlog has reported the move with reference to unspecified sources. The BMW i5 Touring could be launched in 2024 – although BMWBlog says it has chosen the i5 Touring designation itself, the blog states, “We don’t have specific model names or specifications, but we would bet on at least one all-wheel-drive i5 Touring.”
It is clear why an electric station wagon is being seriously considered in Munich: the Touring models, as the wagons are traditionally called at BMW, are among the most popular BMW models in Europe. It could also be some evidence that BMW is actually, as they say, “fully committed to the electrification of the majority of its product range by the end of the decade”.
For the 5 Series Touring, internally called the G61, BMWBlog expects “some plug-in hybrid models with a combination of four- and six-cylinder engines and one or two electric motors”. And as a surprise, analogous to the G60 sedan, a station wagon with purely electric drive.
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