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BMW teases new 5 series, with an i5 EV model for the first time ever

BMW is rolling out its new 5 series later this year, and there will be an i5 version

The current, seventh-gen BMW 5-Series has been around since 2017. Seven model years is practically forever for a luxury vehicle, especially one as storied as the midsize 5-Series. BMW has some large plans in store for the new, eighth-gen 5-Series that will be unveiled in October 2023 and shared a few details on the upcoming midsize sedan recently.

The sedan will be more multifaceted than ever and will be offered with gas engines with mild-hybrid 48-volt systems, a plug-in hybrid powertrain, and a new all-electric powertrain in the i5. The latter will mark the first time BMW has introduced an all-electric version of the 5-Series.

BMW i5 electric sedan under a cover parked in a studio.

Before you get too excited, there’s not a lot of information to go off of here. But the big news for those of us in America is that the upcoming electric i5 sedan will be getting the same M treatment as the current i4 M50 that’s on sale. BMW refuses to call the performance-oriented i5 an electric M5, which leads to believe that it might use something like “M50” for the sporty i5.

“The all-electric BMW i4 M50 shows how BMW blends dynamic performance and electric mobility to perfection,” said BMW CEO Oliver Zipse at the BMW Group Annual Conference 2023. “It was the best-selling BMW M model worldwide in 2022. A fully electric Performance model from BMW M GmbH will also be included in the BMW 5-Series line-up.”

Clearly, BMW has seen that there’s space in its electric lineup for a new sedan that we assume would slot in above the compact i4 and below the large i7. While the U.S. will probably only get the sedan version of the i5, buyers in Europe will also be able to purchase a wagon, or Touring, model. That’s great news for European enthusiasts that were expecting to see wagons die in the electric revolution.

2021 BMW 5 Series front end angle from driver's side parked in a studio under bright lighting.

If you’re wondering what the 5-Series’ hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains might look like, the new 7-Series could offer a hint at what we could see. The base 7-Series comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that’s paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. In the 7-Series, the powertrain makes 375 horsepower. We could see a similar engine in the 5-Series, though there’s a good chance that it’s not as powerful.

As far as the all-electric i5, the i4’s powertrains could hold some information. The mid-level i4 eDrive40 has a single electric motor on the rear wheels that makes 335 horsepower. The sporty i4 M50 has two electric motors for a total of 536 horsepower. BMW offers the i4 with an available 81.5-kWh battery pack with up to 301 miles of range.

We won’t have to wait too long to see the eighth-gen 5-Series, which will be revealed later this October. At the moment, BMW has only released a single image of the upcoming 5-Series wearing a cover. So, we don’t know if BMW’s new beaver teeth grille – look, if you can, at the 4-Series and 7-Series as an example – will be on the new 5-Series.

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Joel Patel
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Joel Patel is a former contributor for The Manual. His work has also been featured on Autoweek, Digital Trends, Autoblog…
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