After what seemed like never-ending teasers and leaks, BMW has officially unveiled the eighth generation 5 Series alongside the first-ever fully electric i5. And yes, the latter is coming to New Zealand at the end of this year.
Like any completely new car, there’s a lot to cover, but the essence of the new 5 Series has stayed the same since the model was first introduced in 1972 which is its aim is to offer ”premium mobility” in the upper mid-range segment. In other words, it’s still a business sedan through and through.
By far the biggest change to the model comes the addition of an EV to the lineup which will only be offered in one variant locally, the i5 M60 xDrive, starting from $196,600.
The fully electric model features an 84kWh battery that supplies power to two electric motors, one on the front and rear axle, producing a combined 442kW and maximum 820Nm of torque. This enables the i5 to accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds while top speed is electronically limited to 230km/h. We can expect power to be upped when the M Performance model is released though.
Range comes to 516km but can be extended by 25 per cent using the Max Range function which limits power and speed, as well as deactivating some comfort features. When you do need to recharge though, the battery can be juiced up via a 205kW DC charger, taking just half an hour to get from 10 to 80 per cent.
A membership to New Zealand’s ChargeNow membership is also included with the purchase of the i5, providing access to a network of fast DC chargers across the country.
You’ll immediately notice that the new sedan features a new face that falls in line with other models in the range, such as the LED headlights which look somewhat similar to the X1’s. Predictably, the kidney grille has grown in size and is highlighted on the i5 with contour lighting as seen on the XM.
The side profile has also become less busy thanks to smoother lines and the fitment of flush door handles. We also picked up on a somewhat fastback-looking roofline which is emphasised by the sedan’s downward-sloping boot, no doubt done in the name of helping airflow. At the back is a set of L-shaped tail lights that are divided by a chrome strip.
All up, the new 5 Series comes in a bit bigger than its predecessor, measuring 5060mm in length, 1900mm in width, and 1515mm tall. It’s wheelbase comes to 2995mm long.
Additional features on the i5 M60 xDrive include a standard M Sport package which can be accentuated with M Sport Plus for even more performance-inspired visual enhancements. Customers also get a choice of 20- and 21-inch light alloy wheels.
A range of non-metallic and metallic colours are available, as well as three BMW Individual finishes, that can each be combined with three Merino leather options and a variety of interior trims.
Like many new BMWs, the dashboard is dominated by the large Curved Display, made up of a 14.9-inch driver’s instrument panel and 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen. Many of the buttons found on the 5 Series of old have now been digitised, freeing the centre console up from clutter. For the physical controls that do remain, including those on the flat-bottomed steering wheel, these now feature haptic feedback.
As out of the box for a car as it sounds, the new 5 Series also comes with in-car gaming and video streaming which will come in handy while waiting for the i5’s battery to recharge.
Driver assistance appointments include Steering and Lane Control Assist, as well as Distance Control with Stop & Go function as standard.
At this stage, New Zealand won’t be getting the combustion-powered 5 Series, but it’s worth a mention regardless. You won’t find a purely petrol- or diesel-fueled engine under the bonnet anymore either as the model now comes with a 48V mild hybrid system across the board, or the choice of a hybrid or plug-in hybrid system. There are also plans to introduce a wagon body style sometime later next year too.
The BMW i5 M60 xDrive will be available in NZ from the fourth quarter of 2023.