Car and Driver's 'Into Cars' Podcast Ep. 3: BMW Gas-Fed 5-Series vs. Electric i5

a car on a road
'Into Cars' Ep. 3: BMW Gas-Fed 5-Series vs. i5 EVCar and Driver

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The third installment of Car and Driver's new podcast Into Cars sees editor-in-chief Tony Quiroga and chief brand and content officer Eddie Alterman explore the similarities and differences between BMW's gas-powered 5-series sedan and its electric counterpart, the i5.

The 540i xDrive is the BMW 5-series as you already know it. It's a mid-size luxury sports sedan with multiple decades of experience under its metaphorical belt. It's motivated by a 375-hp turbocharged straight-six that's routed to all four wheels. Then there's the i5 M60, which in many ways is the flip side of the same coin. The most noticeable difference comes from the electric all-wheel-drive powertrain, which makes up to 593 ponies.


"Remember that video game Tempest?" asks Quiroga, as he and Alterman discuss the 5-series twins' digital gauge clusters. "Look this is an Apple Watch vs. Rolex argument," counters Alterman.

The pair start by hopping into the 540i, giving themselves and listeners a taste of BMW's famed inline-six engine. As they drive, the conversation turns to the affect that an engine can have on a vehicle's personality. Good or bad, the engine serves as the beating heart of internal-combustion cars and can make or break their persona.

"They all start to feel the same," says Alterman on electric vehicles. "I don't care if it's a Lucid Sapphire or an Ioniq 5 from Hyundai. They all have the same power delivery and they all really have that same character." After matting the go pedal in the i5 M60, Quiroga shoots back, "There's drama in that."

Once they're done driving and debating the pros and cons of each car, the two sit down for a conversation with BMW's U.S. product planner John Kelly to learn about the process behind developing each.

"The 5-series always has been a mid-size sports sedan, and it does it really well," says Kelly in regard to determining BMW's product strategy in North America.

Next week's episode of Into Cars will delve into another EV, with Quiroga and Alterman giving their thoughts on the Cadillac Lyriq.

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