2024 BMW i5 Review: 5 Series goes electric, better for it

2024 BMW i5 Review: 5 Series goes electric, better for it

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Pros: Excellent ride/handling balance; eDrive40’s ample power and range; very cool interior; nutty M60 power; fast charging

Cons: Small, awkwardly shaped trunk; questionable styling, especially the M60

The 2024 BMW i5 is the all-electric version of the new, next-generation 5 Series. You’ll be hard-pressed to tell them apart visually, which is a stark difference from Mercedes’ approach to electrification where the EQE is quite obviously a completely different car from the E-Class – for better and for worse. There are certainly downsides to this concept as well. Sharing a body structure with an internal combustion vehicle means it doesn’t have as much back seat or cargo space as a dedicated EV like the EQE. In general, though, the i5 is a very appealing luxury sedan, arguably moreso than the 5 Series itself. It’s also one of the best electric luxury sedans.


For 2024, there are two versions: the eDrive40 that has a single motor, rear-wheel-drive and a maximum range of 296 miles. The M60 has two motors, all-wheel-drive, and considerably less range, but pumps out 258 more horsepower than the eDrive40. That says more about how nutty the M60 is than anything – the eDrive is already impressive, nail-you-to-your-seat quick. Given its range advantage and overkill nature of the M60’s performance, we think the eDrive40 is the i5 to get.

Noteworthy i5 advantages include a truly inspired ride-handling balance that lets you waft down the road in cocoon-like comfort one minute and expertly carve a canyon the next. The interior is also genuinely cool, with color-changing trim pieces, hidden air vents and big, pretty screens that don’t rob the car of functionality in the process. In short, this is the most compelling 5 Series in a very long time.

Interior & Technology   |   Passenger & Cargo Space   |   Performance & Fuel Economy

What it's like to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Levels   |   Crash Ratings & Safety Features

What's new for 2024?

The i5 is a new model for 2024 and is effectively the all-electric version of the all-new, next-generation BMW 5 Series that will arrive later. Note that there will be a dual-motor, all-wheel drive xDrive40 coming for 2025.

What are the i5 interior and in-car technology like?

The i5 interior is incredibly cool. Climb inside and you’ll notice the strip of colored trim arcing from door to door, and across the dash. That’s pretty neat, but it gets better, because it’s not a traditional trim panel that’ll remain the same as the day it left the factory: It’s actually an ambient lighting panel you can set to your color preference. Another neat detail are hidden air vents controlled with little rubber directional controls (versus frustrating touchscreen controls).

The i5 gets the newest version of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, and we’re happy to report it’s a massive improvement over its frustrating and overly complicated predecessor. You don’t have to dig into menus so much (most notably to turn on the heated seats) and in general, it’s just easier to use. Natural voice recognition commands are available to help find more in-depth settings (like those ambient lighting colors), while the i5 benefits from BMW choosing to keep the good old-fashioned iDrive control knob around. It’s redundant to be sure and not strictly necessary, but it’s still appreciated for actions where a knob is just better suited, like zooming in/out on a map or wheeling through a list of contacts, radio stations or songs. Menu shortcut buttons are appreciated, too, particularly in Apple CarPlay or Android Auto for quickly toggling between media and navigation.

How big is the i5?

The i5 is 3.4 inches longer than the last-generation 5 Series and 1.4 inches wider. So, yeah, it’s a pretty big sedan – the 7 Series was the same length 20 years ago. It’s also 2.3 inches longer than its most obvious competitor, the Mercedes EQE Sedan, but because the i5 shares its structure with the gas-powered 5 Series, it has a substantially shorter wheelbase than the EQE’s dedicated EV platform. This means it has less back seat legroom – the specs say 1.7 inches, but in our testing, it sure seemed like the Benz had even more. It’s still a big, comfortable back seat, though, with ample headroom (something the swoopy EQE can’t say).

BMW’s specs say that the i5 has 17.3 cubic-feet of trunk space, but there’s no way that number was measured using the same criteria as other brands use. In our cargo testing, it could not fit all six bags from our standard luggage test, something that should theoretically be very easy to do for a trunk with 17.3 cubic-feet (a Honda Accord has 16.7 cubes and can fit a 38-quart cooler in addition to all six bags). This isn’t the first time we’ve come across this situation with BMW. Moreover, the space itself is short in height and awkwardly shaped, though there is a decently sized underfloor storage area. The EQE has a slightly more usable trunk.

What are the i5 range and performance specs?

The 2024 BMW i5 is offered in two models, which correspond to its electric powertrain: the eDrive40 and M60. There will be a third, the xDrive40 coming for 2025 that’ll effectively bridge the gap between the two existing variants.

The i5 eDrive40 has a single motor that powers the rear axle, thereby making it rear-wheel drive. It produces 335 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot of torque for an electric motor. Nevertheless, this motor is capable of getting the nearly 5,000-pound i5 up to 60 mph in a rapid 5.7 seconds.