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BMW i5 eDrive40 Review

Very refined

Excellent ride quality

Latest technology

Price reflects the premium quality

Design & Powertrain

 BMW i5 eDrive40 2023

The BMW i5 eDrive40 features an 81.2 kWh battery (usable capacity) and a 335 hp electric motor at the rear, giving rear-wheel drive.

The i5 has grown in size compared to the previous 5 Series model; it’s now 97mm longer, taking its total length to 5,060mm. This results in lots of legroom for rear passengers, and a boot that’s very long (and which offers 490 litres of luggage space). A generously sized compartment under the boot floor can accommodate the charging cables.

The exterior styling has become simpler than the previous generation of the 5 Series, but it still looks like a sporty BMW saloon, and the interior has lost buttons and gained larger screens.

Driving Experience

The BMW i5 eDrive40 takes the refinement of electric cars to another level. It’s very quiet, and offers extremely comfortable ride quality, even with large alloy wheels and low-profile tyres. This means that the i5 provides a very enjoyable experience on motorway journeys.

The 5 Series has traditionally combined its motorway comfort levels with a rewarding driving experience. The i5 also achieves this, thanks to its rear-wheel drive chassis and a saloon body with a low centre of gravity. However, the i5’s size and 2.2 tonne weight means that it’s ultimately not as agile as the smaller BMW i4.

Performance is good, with a 0-62 mph time of 6.0 seconds, but more performance is on offer from the all-wheel drive BMW i5 M60 xDrive, with 601hp and a 0-62 mph acceleration time of 3.8 seconds.

There are drive modes of Personal, Sport, Efficient, Relax, Expressive and Digital Art. Except that these are no longer called drive modes by BMW, they’re now ‘My Modes’. Whereas previous generation BMWs had drive modes such as Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport which changed settings such as throttle response, My Modes also change elements such as the colour of the ‘BMW Interaction Bar’, which is a strip that stretches across the dashboard and into the doors. For example, if you select Sport, the Interaction Bar changes from blue to red.

 BMW i5 eDrive40 2023
 BMW i5 eDrive40 2023

You also experience different soundtracks; Sport mode gives you a futuristic sporty sound composed by Hans Zimmer. If you select Expressive mode, the car makes a simulated noise that sounds like grinding metal.

The i5 has a small gear selector which gives you the option of D, or B for increased brake regeneration, and you can also choose high, medium or low braking energy recovery in the BMW iDrive menu. BMW doesn’t offer you the option to change brake regeneration via steering wheel-mounted paddles. Still, the i5 does include a paddle behind the left side of the steering wheel – however in contrast to many other EVs, this is for a boost in acceleration, not a boost in braking.

In terms of driving information, BMW has one of the best systems in the business. If you’re using satnav, the i5 displays a large, detailed map on the 14.9-inch central touchscreen, it also provides a simpler map in the 12.3-inch information display behind the steering wheel, and in addition, clear directions are shown in the (optional) head-up display. This system is so much better – and safer – than cars which only provide information on a central touchscreen.

And of course, the i5 provides the normal excellent BMW driving position thanks to lots of adjustments for the seat base, seat back and steering wheel.

Range & Charging

 BMW i5 eDrive40 2023

The BMW i5 eDrive40 has an official WLTP combined electric driving range of 312 – 356 miles – the larger the wheel size, the lower the range. The real-world range is likely to be between 260-300 miles.

The BMW i5 eDrive40 has a maximum ultra-rapid charging rate of 205 kW. This enables a 10% to 80% DC charge in 30 minutes, meaning that almost 100 miles of range can be added in 10 minutes if starting with a charge level of 10%. The i5 can AC charge at up to 11kW as standard and optionally up to 22kW, with 22kW being standard on the i5 M60 xDrive.

The BMW i5 has a heat pump as standard, which should minimise loss to the battery capacity when using the cabin heating in cold weather, and waste heat generated by the electric motors is used to control the temperature of the battery in the i5 for the first time. The i5’s charging has been optimised to reduce in a curve rather than in steps.

New to EVs? Elevate your charging know-how by taking a look at our charging guides: How much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle? and How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Price & Model Range

The BMW i5 eDrive40 is available in M Sport trim from £74,105, with M Sport Pro trim also available. There’s also the BMW i5 M60 xDrive, from £97,745, which delivers 601hp, all-wheel drive, and 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds.

A BMW i5 Touring will go on sale in spring 2024.

Conclusion

The BMW i5 eDrive40 brings all-electric power to the 5 Series Saloon for the first time, resulting in even more refinement, combined with excellent levels of ride comfort. You also get BMW’s rewarding rear-wheel drive handling, although its agility is somewhat blunted by its 2,205kg kerb weight. With a 0-62 mph acceleration time of 6.0 seconds, performance should be sufficient for most people, but if you need more speed, there’s always the BMW i5 M60 xDrive. The official driving range of (WLTP) 312 – 356 miles is good, and with a maximum ultra-rapid charging rate of 205 kW, the i5 should be quick to ‘refuel’. Although the i5 is spacious inside, it’s not as practical as a car with a hatchback. Overall the BMW i5 is a very polished all-rounder, but its high price reflects this.

BMW i5 eDrive40 Equipment Highlights

  • M Sport Suspension

  • M Sport Brakes with Red Calipers

  • M Sport Seat Belts

  • Ambient Lighting

  • BMW IconicSounds Electric

  • Adaptive LED Headlights

  • Connected Package Professional

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