BMW is rumoured to be planning three drive variants for its i5, the fully electric version of the 5 Series, from 2023. These will probably be based on the i4’s range, but supplemented by one variant.
This information was reported by BMWblog, which has learned that the i5 will be offered as a rear-wheel-drive eDrive40, an all-wheel-drive xDrive40 and a performance model M50. The eDrive40 with 250 kW output and the M50 with up to 400 kW are known from the i4. Both versions use an 83.9 kWh battery, of which 80.7 kWh are usable.
Citing the unnamed sources, BMWblog assumes that the same battery packs will be installed in the i5 as in the i4, as both models are based on the CLAR platform. When BMW unveiled the i4 in September 2021, it emphasised that the battery pack had been tailored precisely to the installation space and range requirements of the i4 – for example with additional battery modules in the gimbal tunnel and under the rear seats to achieve more than 80 kWh.
Details on the wheelbase of the new generation of the 5 Series, internally called G60, are not known; the i4 has an overall length of 4.78 metres with a wheelbase of 2.85 metres. The 5 Series – and thus also the i5 – is more likely to scratch the five-metre mark, which is likely to be achieved not only via a larger overhang but also a larger wheelbase. BMW could in turn use this for more battery modules. With 80.7 kWh, the i5 would also have a significantly lower energy content compared to the Mercedes EQE, which offers 90.6 kWh. Whether BMW will upgrade the battery to the 135 kWh speculated about by the German publication Auto Bild last summer is an open question.
Regardless of the exact battery size, the DC charging power will most likely be 200 kW. At least for the launch of the i5, BMW will continue to rely on a 400-volt architecture. With the current CCS charging infrastructure, which is designed for a maximum charging current of 500 amps, this results in a peak of 200 kW, just like the BMW iX xDrive50 with over 100 kWh and the Mercedes EQS. The only question is how long the vehicle can maintain this performance level before the power has to be reduced as the charge level increases.
Referring to the same sources, the BMWblog also reports about the new all-wheel-drive variant called xDrive40. The only speculation about its performance is that it could be higher than that of the base model with one engine. However, no figures are given. With the “fifth generation” drive kit, which consists exclusively of current-excited synchronous motors, such all-wheel drives are possible – as shown by the i4 M50 and the iX, for example.
The i5 is also planned as an estate version. BMWblog had already reported on this in November 2021. Apart from the e-drive, however, the “BMW i5 will probably be a 5 Series business as usual”.
With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.
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