BMW has just launched a new generation of the 5 Series sedan. The performance sedan will launch with a four-cylinder engine and as the electric i5 instead of leading with a V8. It's the first all-electric 5 Series and it means BMW now has EVs in all three sizes of its traditional sedan lineup.
The latest 5 Series is longer and wider than before. The sedan grows 86 mm in length to 5,060 mm, and its 1,900-mm width is 33 mm wider. Only 20 mm of that extra length is in the wheelbase, though, so most of it won't go to extra space for passengers. Instead, most of the extra length is ahead of the dashboard, giving the car a longer and sleeker appearance.
BMW decided to keep the design of the 5 Series more restrained than the larger 7 Series. BMW's turn to ever-taller expressions of its kidney grilles seems to have stopped here.
The new 5 Series has a much more traditional nose and a conventional sedan roofline. Strangely, BMW has put an embossed number 5 on the C-pillar. It's an odd addition to the company's trademark "Hofmeister kink" pillar design.
While other markets get a range of gas engines at launch, BMW Canada has revealed just one. Badged the 530i, it is has 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 48V mild-hybrid tech. The engine will make 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are part of the package.
If you want more power, you'll need to go electric. The most powerful 5 Series at launch is the i5 M60 xDrive, which has one motor in the front and another in the back to deliver 590 hp and 586 lb-ft. Both of those figures are comfortably above what the old M550i V8 could offer.
Pull the boost paddle for more than a second, and you get 601 hp and 605 lb-ft of torque for brief bursts. The extra shove will take the i5 from zero to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and run to a top speed of 230 km/h.
The usable battery capacity is 81.2 kWh from a pack designed specifically for the i5. It has the same capacity as the i4, but the custom pack meant the automaker could fit the big pack without cutting into passenger space.
BMW estimates 412 km of electric range for the big sedan. When that charge is depleted, the i5 can fast charge at up to 205 kW, taking it from 10 to 80 per cent in 30 minutes. On a Level 2 AC charger, the i5 can accept up to 9.6 kW.
A standard heat pump helps preserve the car's range when climate control is needed. BMW has also added its latest adaptive regeneration feature that can monitor traffic and road conditions to maximize regen, though the driver can also pick from high, medium, and low settings.
Every 5 Series gets a variable ratio sport steering rack. BMW says it is more direct than the last sedan and it will come with speed-dependent power assist and let drivers pick comfort or sport (read: stiffer) settings. The car's double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspension have been tweaked for responsiveness but also to reduce noise transmission to the cabin. The changes include stiffening and acoustic insulation.
The i5 M60 gets adaptive dampers as standard, with buyers able to add active roll stabilization and active roll comfort. The system now uses a 48V electric motor to tweak the roll bars more quickly, which BMW says delivers better body roll control.
On the inside, BMW has fitted its curved display to the 5 Series dash. The display combines a 12.3-inch digital dash and 14.9-inch center screen into one large bezel that is curved slightly toward the driver. It's the same setup we've seen in other BMWs, including the latest 3 and 7 Series models.
The new 5 gets BMW's iDrive 8.5 system. This is a new version of the software and is designed to be fully reliant on the touchscreen and voice controls instead of buttons. While we're generally pro-button, the latest iDrive does work quite well in other BMWs where we've tried it.
A head-up display is available, and BMW gesture control is also offered. The latter lets you make certain adjustments with hand motions, for example, a twisting motion can adjust the audio volume and a swipe can change stations or scroll to another screen.
BMW has added some fun stuff to iDrive 8.5, too, like adding streaming video services, including YouTube, so you can watch while parked or charging. The company's AirConsole platform lets you game on the centre display, using your phone as the controller.
There are new seats in the 5 Series, which BMW says offer "a noticeable increase in comfort." Massaging front seats are available, and the rear seats are much wider than before to help boost comfort back there. BMW has also added a new leather-free interior option. It uses a material called Veganza, which is a leather-look substitute rather than the wool used in the 7 Series.
Lastly, BMW has added new driving assists to the 2024 5 Series. The Parking Assistant with Reversing Assistant are standard; the first can handle parallel and perpendicular parking manouvres, while the latter can remember how you got into a tough parking garage and then copy it to reverse you back out.
BMW's Driving Assistance Professional package now includes Highway Assistant. This is a hands-on system that can help with steering as well as pedal control on the highway at speeds up to 130 km/h. It's not the hands-off system of the 7, but it does have one neat trick: if the car suggests a lane change, you can confirm it by simply looking at the mirror on that side. The car will then signal and change lanes.
The 2024 BMW 5 Series should arrive in Canada around the end of the year. It will launch with the 530i xDrive, starting from $70,500, and the i5 M60 xDrive from $95,000. Expect a plug-in hybrid model to follow in 2024, with more details later.