BMW sold four times as many X5 SUVs as 5-Series sedans in the U.S. last year, butmake no mistake, Munich’s mid-size icon is still a huge deal, its importance to the company far outweighing its volumes. And the eighth-generation 2024 Five released today is arguably the most significant in the model’s 51-year history because it’s the first to be offered with an electric drivetrain.
The electric i5 and combustion-powered 5-Series are being launched together because, drivetrains and grilles aside, they’re the same car. Both ride on BMW’s CLAR platform, rather than the next-generation Neue Klasse architecture that won’t be ready until 2025. But that doesn’t mean they’re short on new tech, which is just as well, because the starting price has risen. The base 530i costs $57,900, an increase of $1,900 on the 2023 car, although the new 540i xDrive is actually $300 less expensive than the old one.
Let’s dive into the details ahead of the cars arriving at U.S. dealers this October.
|i5 M60 xDrive||$84,100||$85,095|
BMW i5 – The Electric One
Related: BMW i5 Touring Is Joining A Wave Of Incoming Electric Wagons
Though ICE power is very definitely on the menu for G60 5-Series, predictably, BMW is leading with the electric angle and only supplied us with images of the i5, not the ICE Five. Other i5 variants might arrive later, but at launch, the choice comes down to the single-motor, rear-wheel drive eDrive 40 at $66,800 (seen here in gray) and $84,100 dual-motor, all-wheel drive xDrive M60.
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Go for the cheapie and you get 335 hp (340 PS) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm), which can send you to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.7 seconds. Throw in another $17,300 for the M60 and you get an additional 257 hp (261 PS) motor in the nose that lifts the total to 590 hp (598 PS) and 586 lb-ft (795 Nm) and drops the sixty time to just 3.7 seconds. But to activate full power in the M60 (or eDrive40 with optional M Sport kit) you need to hold a steering wheel shift paddle marked ‘Boost’ for at least 0.8 seconds.
Both versions feature a heat pump, slurp from the same 84.3 kWh underfloor battery pack, and can swallow an 11 kW AC- or 205 kW DC charge. Thirty minutes of the latter will take you from 10-80 percent, and i5 buyers get two years of free 30-minute fill-ups with Electrify America.
But where the two models differ is in the range: the 4,916 lbs (2,230 kg) eDrive 40 on 19-inch wheels is estimated to give 295 miles (475 km), and the porkier 5,247 lbs (2,380 kg) M60, though still only getting 19s as standard, measures just 256 miles (412 km). Sounds like M60 drivers might be making regular use of the emergency Max Range function, which limits speed to 56 mph (90 km/h) and blacklists the climate control and seat heating.
|Model||i5 eDrive40||i5 M60 xDrive|
|Length / Width / Height (in)||199.2 / 74.8 / 59.6||199.2 / 74.8 / 59.3|
|Curb weight (lbs)||4,916||5,247|
|Luggage capacity (cu ft)||17.3||17.3|
|Drive||Electric RWD||Electric AWD|
|Max output (hp @ rpm)||335 @ 8,000||590 @ 8,000|
|Max torque (lb-ft @ rpm)||295 @ 0-5,000||586 @ 0-5000|
|Battery capacity (Ah)||211||211|
|Charging time, 10-80% @ 205 kW||30 min (DC, fast Ch.)||30 min (DC, fast Ch.)|
|0-60 mph (sec)||5.7||3.7|
|Top Speed||120||130 (143 w/ perf. tires)|
BMW 5-Series – The Combustion One
Not ready for a 5-Series EV? Don’t worry BMW hasn’t forgotten you, though you can’t escape electricity altogether. A PHEV 5-Series joins the range in 2024 and the two combustion engines available at this fall’s launch are mild hybrids.
The meeker of those is a 2.0-liter four in the 530i and 530i xDrive that kicks out 255 hp (258 PS) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm), which is 7 hp (7 PS) and a useful 38 lb-ft (52 Nm) up on the old 530i’s tallies to save you looking. The 4,041 lbs (1,833 kg) rear-driver should be quicker in passing situations, but in stoplight races the xDrive’s traction helps it shrug off a 117 lbs (258 kg) handicap to get to 60 mph (97 kmh) in 5.8 seconds, a tenth faster.
But the great news for traditionalists is that you can still order an inline six in your 5-Series without waiting for next year’s M5, though this time all-wheel drive is mandatory on the 540i, not optional. The 375 hp (380 PS) 3.0-liter TwinPower six in the 540i xDrive pumps out 40 hp (41 PS) more than the engine it replaces, while torque swells by 52 lb-ft (71 Nm) to 384 lb-ft (521 Nm) and can even reach 398 lb-ft (540 Nm) with the 48-volt hybrid system working its magic. That combo results in a 4.5-second zero to 60 mph time, a 0.1-second improvement on last year’s 540i xDrive.
|Length / Width / Height (in)||199.2 / 74.8 / 59.6||199.2 / 74.8 / 59.6|
|Curb weight (lbs)||4,041||4,158|
|Luggage capacity (cu ft)||18.4||18.4|
|Engine||2.0L 4-cyl turbo||2.0L 4-cyl turbo|
|Transmission||8-speed Steptronic||8-speed Steptronic|
|Max output (hp @ rpm)||255 @ 4,700-6,500||255 @ 4,700-6,500|
|Max torque (lb-ft @ rpm)||295 @ 1,600-4,500||295 @ 1,600-4,500|
|0-60 mph (sec)||5.9||5.8|
|Top Speed (w/perf. tires)||130 (155)||130 (155)|
A Traditional Shape With A Modern Twist
The power outputs of BMW’s gasoline engines aren’t the only things that have grown. The body shared by both the i5 and 5-Series has grown in every dimension, most notably in length, by 3.4 inches (86.4 mm) to 199.2 inches (5,060 mm). Of that, 117.9 inches (2,995 mm) is accounted for by the wheelbase, which is up 0.8 inches (20 mm).
BMW describes the new Five as looking ‘more present and elegant than the 3-Series, more dynamic and sporty than the 7-Series,’ though we’ll let you make up your own mind about that. Though clearly a more modern, athletic design than the old one, fitted with cool flush-fit door handles and marked with a ‘5’ by the C-pillar’s Hofmeister kink, the 5-Series is still a very traditional three-box sedan with an old-skool single deck headlight setup. And that counts for the electric version: the i5’s identifiers are limited to wheel designs, badges, and a blanked grille. An optional illuminated grille surround is sure to be a popular option on both cars.
Latest iDrive Screen And OS But Keeps Rotary Controller
With the old 5-Series so close to being phased out, BMW never bothered updating it with the new widescreen gauge pack/infotainment screen system that it rolled out to other models last year. So the curved screen setup – in this case, a 12.3-inch cluster segueing into a 14.9-inch media display – makes its 5-Series debut, along with BMW’s latest iDrive 8.5 operating system, on the 2024 car.
BMW hints that the more user-friendly screen layout, gesture control, and strong voice support mean its rotary iDrive controller isn’t necessary. But we’re pleased to report that while the old-style gearshifter might have given way to a toggle, the iDrive wheel is still there on the console, nestled between the on-trend vegan leather seats, which join the options list along with a full panoramic roof for the first time.
Tech – 85 MPH Hands-Free Driving, In-Car Gaming
We’ve mentioned the electric powertrain and iDrive 8.5, but there’s plenty more tech onboard the new 5-Series, including access to the AirConsole platform that allows passengers to download and play games, though only when the car is stationary.I5 buyers also get the touch-sensitive Interaction Bar from the 7-Series that stretches across the dash and allows you to control the climate system, but anyone opting for gasoline power and wanting the same tech will have to pay extra.
And this being 2023, there’s obviously some autonomous gadgetry to cover, though not the Lidar-facilitated, self-driving Level 3 tech we might have predicted the 5-Series would come with if you asked us a couple of years back.
Instead, the G60 Five gets an optional Highway Assistant that allows hands-off (but not eyes-off) driving at speeds of up to 85 mph (137 km/h) and will change lanes when the driver looks in one of the door mirrors to confirm a maneuver suggested by the car. The 5-Series also comes standard with a fully automated parking system.
Chassis – Rear-axle Steering, i5 Gets Extra Help
Thankfully, some of the tech on the new 5-Series is actually focused on improving the experience of physically driving the car. The basic chassis setup – double wishbones up front and a multi-link axle at the back – is much the same as before, but now every model gets variable-ratio sports steering.
Presumably to help handle the worrying 25 percent increase in mass versus the ICE cars, electric variants feature rear-axle air suspension and stroke-dependent shock absorbers, which deliver an additional layer of hydraulic damping when navigating bumpy roads or matting the right pedal through twisty roads.
Related: New BMW M5 To Offer 738-HP PHEV Station Wagon That May Be Sold In US
And shortly after launch, the i5 M60, which already comes standard with rear-axle steering, will be available with active roll stabilization that uses electric motors to control an anti-roll bar. We’ve seen this on BMWs before, but for the G60 it gets an upgrade to more powerful 48-volt electrics.
That’s all we have on the new 5-Series for now, but you can bet there’s more to come, including Touring versions of both petrol and electric models, a plug-in hybrid, and an M5 hybrid with at least 700 hp (710 PS).
What do you think of the 2024 5-Series and does the model even matter to you these days when it’s so comprehensively outsold by the X5? Drop a comment below and let us know your thoughts.