Read Caroline’s BMW i5 review for everything you need to know about buying the new electric 5 Series in Ireland.

The new generation BMW 5 Series has arrived in Ireland and goes on sale as a petrol 520i, a petrol plug-in hybrid (530e or 550e) and as the all-new electric i5.

Following on from the success of the BMW i4, the i5 places a battery in BMW’s classic executive saloon. A popular car for years now, it’s famous for its luxury and dynamic rear wheel drive handling.

BMW has taken the decision not to sell the new 5 Series as a diesel so it’s goodbye to the 520d and hello to the new i5.

Worth it? Let’s take a closer look.

The new BMW i5
The new BMW i5

What’s so special about the BMW i5?

The BMW i5 has a 81.2kWh battery (usable capacity) and there are two derivatives at launch – single motor or dual motor.

The classic single motor, rear wheel drive i5 eDrive 40 comes with a range projected between 477-582km (WLTP). It goes on sale from €91,105.

There’s also a more powerful and expensive all-wheel drive i5 M60 xDrive with M performance upgrades and rear wheel steering.

The new generation 5 has a bigger presence than before, being longer, wider and taller than the model it replaces. BMW has done away with entry variants, so all 5 Series (from €70,845 for a 520i) and i5 models come as standard in the handsome M Sport trim. The M Sport Pro is available for upgrade too.

Alloy wheel sizes vary from 19- to 21-inch but it looks good even on the standard 19s.

The iconic kidney grille sits proudly at the front framed by LED headlights and sporty side air intakes. There’s new black contrasting side sills and flush door handles for the very first time on a 5 Series.

Around the back, there is a subtle evolution of styling – but otherwise it’s classic 5 Series. Strong, handsome, this time fully electrified.

A subtle evolution of style for BMW's famous executive saloon
A subtle evolution of style for BMW’s famous executive saloon

Inside the i5

The brand new interior has had a massive digital upgrade with the addition of the new BMW curved display as seen in other models like the iX and the iX1. There’s a full digital driver display that blends seamlessly into the central infotainment display, which can be controlled via touch control, voice control, gesture control and the iDrive controller on the centre console. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also feature, as well as wireless smartphone charging.

Charging stops can also be planned through the navigation system and battery preconditioning in advance to optimise the battery for fast charging.

‘Veganza’ synthetic leather upholstery comes as standard for a luxury feel. Front seats are heated with power adjustment and lumbar support. The cabin feels incredibly solid and well-built though without the outright opulence of the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class for example. It’s still a sturdy premium offering however.

For a bit more bling, the BMW Interaction Bar makes its debut in the 5 Series. It’s like a thick strip of ambient lighting that can change colour depending on the drive mode selected and flash visual warnings to the driver.

The cabin of the new BMW i5
The cabin of the new BMW i5

The i5 feels spacious inside for an executive saloon though a large transmission tunnel does impede on legroom for a middle seat passenger. But there’s plenty of space and comfort for two VIPs on either side!

The boot is also generously sized at 490 litres, just a bit down on the space in the fuel versions (520 litres). The rear seats also split 40:20:40.

A Touring model is also available in both the fuel and electric version.

Driving the new BMW i5

It’s a quiet and serene experience driving the new i5. You do feel nicely isolated from wind and road noise as it moves effortlessly over the tarmac. The ride is generally good too for an electric saloon on the standard lowered M sports suspension – just a bit bumpy over imperfections in the road surface. Things smooth out well on the motorway. There’s also the option to upgrade to adaptive dampers.

The i5 eDrive 40 has 340hp and 430Nm of torque. It’s a heavy car but can still do the sprint to 100km/h in just 6 seconds to the tune of an electric engine soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer, as seen in some other new electric BMWs. It does add a little bit of drama and excitement. There’s also a Boost paddle behind the steering wheel for 10 seconds of maximum power and torque.

Handling is very secure and assured. The i5 has classic BMW meaty steering and is easy to place on the road. It has some dynamic skill and does offer a fair bit of driver engagement. Yet you can feel it shifting its considerable weight in fast cornering. A BMW i4 is more fun in this way.

Boot space in the new i5
Boot space in the new i5

During my test in a very cold January, the average consumption was about 19-23kWh per 100 kilometres, which translates to a real world driving range of 370-430 kilometres. A heat pump comes as standard and there is also a few levels of regenerative braking.

When it does come to charging, the i5 comes with an 11kW on board AC. DC fast charging is possible up to 205kW for a 10 to 80% charge in 30 minutes.

Did you like it?

BMW has pulled off quite a feat with the new electric i5. It’s a very convincing member of the new 5 Series range, offering excellent comfort and refinement befitting of an executive car yet retaining a desirable profile packed full of the brand’s latest digital tech. It’s modern, sporty and very expensive – but for 5 Series buyers ready to go electric, this car offers a smooth transition.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year

The new BMW i5 is a fun to drive electric saloon with great presence
The new BMW i5 is a fun to drive electric saloon with great presence