BMW has released official photos of its i5, and detailed the intense testing it has undertaken over the last 12 months on the all-electric 5 Series derivative.
It’s unclear when the i5 will appear Down Under as BMW focuses on the European, United States, and South Korean markets first.
BMW will launch both wagon – Touring in BMW lingo – and sedan variants of the i5.
The company took the electric sedan to the Alps and the Arctic Circle to assess and enhance various components including its electric motors, power electronics, chassis components, and braking systems.
It took the i5 to its testing centre in Arjeplog, Sweden to demonstrate the readiness of its motors, power electronics, high-voltage battery and integrated heating and cooling system for the cabin and battery pack over a long-distance journey.
The company says the battery cell technology and controlled thermal management in its fifth-generation eDrive technology allows for long range and short charging times, even in extreme sub-zero temperatures.
BMW engineers also took to snow-covered roads and frozen lakes to assess the i5’s chassis components, steering and braking systems, driving dynamic and stability systems.
Spy photographers have snapped an M Performance variant, potentially called the i5 M60, and a Touring wagon model that also appears to be in top-shelf M60 guise.
BMW CEO Oliver Zipse confirmed earlier this month the i5 would include “a fully electric Performance model from BMW M GmbH”.
All i5 models are distinguished from the 5 Series with their closed-off double-kidney grille.
The interior is set to continue BMW’s contemporary cabin design with a dual-screen setup and the latest iDrive 8.5 operating system.
While the i5 sedan will give BMW a direct rival to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz EQE and upcoming Audi A6 e-tron, the high-performance M5 isn’t expected to go all-electric just yet. It’ll reportedly gain a plug-in hybrid V8 set-up from the XM instead.
The i5 Touring will have fewer rivals. Porsche offers a wagon version of its Taycan, though the BMW is likely to be more affordable and more practical.
Audi has previewed an Avant version of its A6 e-tron in concept form, but Mercedes-Benz hasn’t spoken of any plans to launch an EQE wagon.
BMW has yet to confirm the powertrains it will offer on the i5, however they could use the same ones as found in the iX.
The BMW iX xDrive40 is powered by a dual-motor all-wheel drive setup with 240kW of power and 630Nm of torque, good for a 0-100km/h time of 6.1 seconds, while the xDrive50 ups outputs to 385kW and 765Nm and slashes the 0-100km/h time to 4.6 seconds.
The iX M60 is also powered by a dual-motor all-wheel drive setup, but produces 455kW and 1100Nm. It’s claimed to do the 0-100km/h sprint in 3.8 seconds.
Range in the boxier iX ranges from 420km to 620km, depending on the variant.
The current-generation BMW 5 Series has been on sale since 2016 and was facelifted in 2020.
MORE: Everything BMW 5 Series