ICE or EV? The new 2024 BMW 5 Series gives you the power of choice

ICE or EV? The new 2024 BMW 5 Series gives you the power of choice

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BMW deserves a tremendous amount of credit for giving buyers something that many of its peers and rivals no longer offer: a choice. Now in its eighth generation, the 5 Series gets a sharper-looking exterior design, a more spacious interior, and either gasoline or battery power.

"We wanted to create the most elegant BMW," design boss Domagoj Dukec told me during a preview of the new 5 Series.

The only variant unveiled so far is the sedan. There's a Touring-badged station wagon on the way, though we're unlikely to see it turn a wheel on American pavement. Powertrain aside, the 5 Series and the electric i5 are essentially the same car; BMW decided not to give the EV a powertrain-specific design. Longer, wider, and taller than the outgoing model, the new 5 features big kidney grilles that are a little tilted as a nod to the early, shark nose-style 5 Series models, angular headlights, a sculpted bumper with several air intakes, and a bulged hood.

Painting the rocker panels black is an attempt at concealing the extra height that designers added to fit the i5's battery pack. It's a simple trick to reduce visual mass that's also seen on numerous low-riding electric cars, and the 5 Series has to wear it as well. The sedan's roof line slopes gently into a C-pillar with "5"-branded trim on the Hofmeister kink, and the back end is dominated by a pair of horizontal lights.


All told, the new 5 doesn't look like its predecessor, and it's not a carbon copy of the 3 or the 7. Adrian van Hooydonk, the head of design for the BMW Group (which includes Mini and Rolls-Royce), told me that his team went to great lengths to give the model its own identity. The look is relatively subtle, at least compared to cars like the XM, and Autoblog learned that's because the 5 is aimed at a different audience.

"It's not a reaction to people blaming us for the XM or the 7 Series. When I'm asked why the kidney grilles are so big, I always say that these particular models are for status-oriented customers. The 3 Series and 5 Series cars are for people who are looking for other things. They don't want to show off. They want a car that expresses their achievements in a different way," Dukec explained.

You'll feel right at home in the new 5 Series if you've spent time in recent additions to the BMW range. From the driver's seat, you face a free-standing curved display that consists of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch touchscreen for the BMW Operating System 8.5 infotainment system. The air vents are nearly hidden in the dashboard, which creates a clean and uncluttered look, and the switches on the center console look similar to the ones found in models like the iX. Several trim and upholstery options are available.

Although we haven't driven the new 5 Series yet, on paper it looks like a formidable entry into the technology arms race opposing BMW and its main rivals. There's a new in-car gaming platform called AirConsole that turns a user's smartphone into a controller, an automated parking system, and Highway Assistant technology that enables what BMW calls "attentive hands-free driving" at speeds of up to 85 mph.