BMW i5

bmw i5 review 2023 01 tracking front
bmw i5 review 2023 01 tracking front

Before we delve into the various strengths and weaknesses of the BMW i5, let’s rewind. After all, executive saloons have over previous decades gained a reputation for conservatism that, while hard to shake, is now entirely unjustified.

Twenty-five years ago, company car buyers wanted efficient diesel engines in packages priced and equipped just so. They didn’t want expensive powertrain technology. They didn’t even want riskier shades of paint.

At the time, BMW played to that brief spectacularly well. But now the executive car market has changed out of sight, under the pressure of CO2-based tax regimes.


And how the BMW 5 Series has changed along with it. The eighth generation of this mid-sized four-door is taking another bold step into the future. Incorporating updated versions of the mild- and plug-in hybrid powertrains of its predecessor, but casting out their diesel engines entirely, it is the first 5 Series to be offered as an all-electric model.

The zero-emissions i5 – the subject of this test – will be available in both saloon and Touring guises, and with a choice of single- or dual-motor powertrains.

Two years ago, Autocar had never road tested a fully electric BMW saloon, but now the i5 becomes the third, following the BMW i4 and BMW i7, with the likes of the iX, iX3 and iX1 already playing in their own niches. It has been a rapid expansion into the zero-emissions world for the brand. But what does it mean for the longest-lived BMW showroom model of them all?

The range at a glance














Shorn of its predecessors’ diesel engines, the eighth-generation 5 Series range consists of two plug-in hybrids, two electric i5s and the entry-level 520i mild-hybrid petrol.

There are three de facto trims for UK buyers: M Sport, M Sport Pro and M Performance (as represented by the range-topping i5 M60). The last two are distinguished by exterior styling elements (illuminated grille etc) and gain extra interior kit.

In 2024, BMW also launched the i5 Touring, which is available in exactly the same specifications as its saloon counterpart, albeit with a small premium to pay.