The Electric 5 Delivers: A First Drive Review of the 2024 BMW i5

    In a stunning development, BMW has unveiled its latest electric vehicle, the 2024 i5. This new model is part of the eighth generation of the BMW 5 Series and builds on the success of the larger i7. Unlike the iX SUV, which is built on a dedicated EV platform, the i5 shares its bones with the gas-powered 5 Series models. This means that the i5 closely resembles its ICE counterparts, which is a good thing considering the questionable design of the i7.

    The i5 will be available in two variants in the US: the eDrive40 and the M60 xDrive. The eDrive40 features a single rear-mounted electric motor that produces 335 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This is enough power to propel the 4,916-pound sedan from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, which is the same as the old ActiveHybrid 5. The eDrive40 has an EPA-estimated range of 295 miles and can accept DC fast-charging speeds of up to 205 kilowatts.

    For those seeking more power, the M60 xDrive is the way to go. This variant features a dual-motor setup that produces a whopping 593 horsepower and 586 pound-feet of torque. This extra power allows the M60 xDrive to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. However, the increased power does come at the cost of range, with the EPA estimating a maximum range of 256 miles.

    In terms of driving dynamics, the i5 lives up to the reputation of the 5 Series. It offers a smooth and comfortable ride on the highway, but is still capable of spirited driving on twisty B-roads. The i5 comes equipped with rear air suspension and front double-wishbone setup, which provides a comfortable and stable ride. Additionally, all i5 models can be equipped with rear-axle steering and 48-volt active anti-roll tech for added performance and stability.

    The i5 also introduces some exciting new features in the form of autonomous driving technology. When using the Highway Assistant system, drivers can enjoy hands-free driving on pre-mapped highways. The system even allows for gesture-based lane changes, making highway driving even more effortless and convenient.

    Inside the cabin, the i5 offers a premium and tech-forward experience. The interior features attractive contrast stitching, backlit ambient lighting panels, and glass controls on the center console. The i5 is equipped with a curved display that combines a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 14.9-inch multimedia touchscreen. The infotainment system, iDrive 8.5, has been upgraded from the previous version and now includes feature buttons for quick access to commonly used functions.

    One unique feature of the i5 is AirConsole, which allows passengers to play video games on the central display when the car is parked. Up to seven people can connect and play, making it a fun and entertaining feature for long trips or waiting at charging stations.

    As for pricing, the eDrive40 starts at $67,795, while the M60 xDrive is priced at $85,095. These prices make the i5 a more affordable option compared to its rivals, the Mercedes-Benz EQE 350+ and the Tesla Model S.

    Overall, the 2024 BMW i5 offers a compelling package with its range of power options, comfortable driving dynamics, and advanced technology features. BMW continues to push the boundaries of electric vehicles with the i5, and it is an exciting addition to the EV market. The i5 is set to go on sale this fall, and BMW has even more electrified models planned for the future, including gas-powered and hybrid variants of the 5 Series.

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