2023 BMW 5 Series Electric (BMW i5) design finalized [Update]

Update: ‘Specifications’ section updated.

Road-testing of the next-generation BMW 5 Series (BMW G60) and its pure electric variant began in Europe last year. The latter should arrive as the BMW i5, a more spacious alternative to the BMW i4.

Design

Going by the first spy shots, BMW is developing the next-gen 5 Series with a familiar silhouette. So, expect the 2023 BMW i5 to feature traditional saloon car proportions.

Fans of the old kidney grille can breathe a sigh of relief, as we have a confirmation from spy shots that BMW isn’t adopting the highly criticised vertically emphasised grille seen on the 4 Series model line or even that of the BMW iX. The kidney grille of the all-new 5er does look larger, but thankfully it won’t extend down into the apron. The next-gen model should feature flush-fitted (but not pop-out) door handles for a clean appearance and aerodynamic benefit.

Video Source: YouTube/CarSpyMedia

YouTube channel CarSpyMedia recently shared a video showing the 2023 5 Series and 2023 5 Series plug-in hybrid. The heavy camouflage and provisional parts continue keeping the actual design secured in secrecy, but we can reaffirm two things in the looks department from the clip.

The first thing is that the 5 Series, at least in its saloon version, won’t deviate much from the current shape and size. The second observation is that the executive luxury car will continue featuring a horizontal kidney grille instead of mimicking the butterfly-shaped giant vertical grille featured on multiple BMWs since the Mk2 4 Series. We’re optimistic that the electric 5er would also be safe from the polarising design cue of the recent BMWs.

Rendered with muscular shoulders & wide track

ElectricVehicleWeb reader and Instagram user Shkelqim Ameti (@germanysfinest43) has worked on speculative renderings of the front and rear sections of the BMW 5 Series Electric (BMW i5) upon observing the first spy shots of test prototypes in early July 2021.

The new front-end of the i5 lends the car a younger and more dynamic character. The reshaped headlamps feature unique daytime driving light rings in a hexagonal shape and bluish hue. The kidney grille looks wider because it has a completely masked surface instead of vertical bars. A small ‘i’ logo and a blue surround are the tell-tale signs of the car being a BMW i model.

The bonnet drops lower, has sharper crease lines, and the dome meets blanked-off kidney grille. The bumper has powerful outer ends, including vertical air curtains towards the edges guiding the onrushing air past the wheels.

BMW i5 or BMW 5 Series electric rear rendering
BMW i5 rear render courtesy of Shkelqim Ameti (Instagram)

The deck lid appears more aerodynamic as it merges with the windscreen gracefully, somewhat like in a coupe. Spy shots have shown this change on BMW’s test mules on public roads. The decklid spoiler is edgier, almost looking like a separate aero add-on. The slim and angular tail lamps contribute to the low and wide stance of the car. A thin light strip connects the tail lamps, but we doubt we’d see it on the actual product. BMW designers show no interest in this signature design cue of EVs. Neither the iX nor the i4 has a light strip bridging the lamps.

The diffuser-style rear apron suggests that the rendered BMW i5 is specified with the Sport package. The apron’s lower section has blue elements on the edges, providing a sporty contrast and highlighting the car’s eDrive system. These also try to make up for the absence of twin exhausts of the conventional BMWs.

Specifications

The BMW 5 Series EV (BMW i5) will follow the combustion G60 5-er in the second half of 2023, sitting on the basic platform shared with the combustion-engined vehicle. Interestingly, not just a regular BMW 5 Series electric, but customers will also be served electrified variants of the BMW M5 with a 750 hp powertrain.

In future, models such as the high-volume BMW 5 Series and the X1 as well as the BMW 7 Series will be available with four different types of drivetrain – all-electric, plug-in hybrid, petrol and diesel.

A clip from the BMW Group Report 2020

Variants

BMWBlog’s sources reveal that the BMW i5 will come in eDrive40, xDrive40, and M50 variants. A single rear motor generating around 250 kW (335 bhp) may power the BMW i5 eDrive40. The higher BMW i5 xDrive40 will sport an additional motor at the front axle, making it powerful and grippier. The top-end BMW i5 M50 should have the same setup, but with extra power unlocked from its motors, to where one can expect more than 400 kW (536 bhp). An 80.7 kWh battery pack delivering a WLTP range of up to close to 350 miles could be standard in the i5.

Citing BMW boss Klaus Fröhlich, an article in Autocar dated 23 August 2021 states that we cannot expect fully electric M cars until 2025. While PHEVs like the BMW XM will be available, he says (current) pure electric powertrains will not match the dynamic nature of current M cars.

Charging

BMW Group hasn’t confirmed, but it is safe to assume that the 5 Series electric’s operating voltage would be 400 volts or slightly lower. Fast-charging at 200 kW levels can be expected, but not rapid-charging at 300-350 kW levels, usually possible with an 800-volt architecture. Charging at around 200 kW for ten minutes should offer 5 Series buyers a range of more than 120 km (75 miles). The maximum AC power the i5 supports could be 11 kW, which could mean full charging in 8-9 hours.

BMW Group EV roadmap May 2021
Note the BMW 5 Series BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) on the company’s investor presentation from May 2021. Image: BMW Group.

BMW 5 Series electric features

The BMW 5 Series electric would borrow many premium features of the iX and i4. Expect the Tesla Model S rival to be available with LED headlights with BMW Laserlight and matrix function, BMW iDrive 8.0, BMW Curved Display that integrates a fully digital instrument cluster and a central display on a one-piece curved panel, BMW Digital Key Plus with Ultra-Wideband (digital key 3.0), 5G connectivity, a panoramic sunroof, and much more.

In May 2021, the current-gen 5 Series gained a four-zone automatic climate control system with a nanoparticle filter that improves the air inside the car using nano-fleece and active carbon layers. The next-gen 5 Series’ electric variant may get this air filtration system as a standard feature.

Automated driving and parking functions should be possible in the BMW 5 Series electric from day one, with software upgrades increasing autonomous driving capabilities later during the lifecycle. Level 3 autonomous driving could be another attraction on the model.

BMW i5 Production

Oliver Zipse, Chairman of BoM, BMW Group, told PNP (via g80.bimmerpost.com) in an interview that the BMW Group Plant Dingolfing will manufacture the next-gen 5 Series and the first-ever 5 Series electric. In addition, the German factory will produce the next-gen 7 Series and the first-ever 7 series electric (BMW i7) as well.

The Dingolfing E-Powertrain Competence Center will be responsible for the 5 Series electric’s battery modules, battery cell coating, high-voltage battery assembly, and e-machine (electric motor). This facility has been producing the electric motor of the BMW iX3 since 2020 and began manufacturing the batteries and battery modules of the BMW iX and BMW i4 in May 2021. The iX and i4 will get their electric motors also from this facility. Production of the BMW 5 Series electric may also take place in China, but only for domestic sales.

BMW iX front
BMW Group Plant Dingolfing began manufacturing the iX in July 2021, and will also induct the BMW i7 and BMW i5. Image: BMW Group

Expecting no less than 50% share of electrified vehicles in its annual sales globally from 2030, BMW Group is preparing to gear up for production of both electric cars and electric vehicle components. Starting this year, it plans to manufacture electric drivetrains for 500,000 electrified vehicles annually in Dingolfing.

BMW is investing more than EUR 500 million to expand electric drivetrain production capacity in this location by this year. It is preparing other production sites – like Regensburg and Leipzig – to produce electric drivetrains. In total, the German automaker plans to invest around EUR 790 million in scaling up the production capacity for electric powertrain components at these three sites and Steyr by this year.

BMW i5 Estate (BMW i5 Touring) reportedly in consideration

BMWBlog reported on 24 November 2021, citing sources, that BMW is interested in adding an i5 Estate to its future portfolio. The report claims that the Bavarians plan to get the i5 Estate in 2024.

The G61 5 Series Touring lineup will have at least one all-wheel-drive i5 Touring variant, as cited by BMWBlog. An analyst firm LMC Automotive in 2019 (via AutoNews.com) had found that while the station wagon design is losing popularity to the SUV, it is expected that 1.5 million units of estate cars will be sold in 2025, with Europe contributing to 75% of the market. The increasing demand for electric vehicles might build a compelling case for BMW to approve the i5 Estate project. In addition, there is a substantial market for Estates (called station wagons globally) in Northern Europe, where BMW needs a strong presence with EVs.

As explained in the Design section, BMW designers will maintain a smaller kidney grille design on the G60 5 Series, which should apply to the BMW i5 Touring derivate. Despite its long body, the BMW i5 Touring will offer improved aerodynamics.

The i5 should have luxurious interiors and minimalist elements akin to the iX. We expect a dashboard with minimal styling, softly styled vents, and integrated speakers. The centre console should house an electronic gear selector, iDrive 8 function scroller and selector, volume adjuster, start-stop button, and an electronic parking brake. These elements could be made from upmarket materials like glass or wood.

As BMW will produce the G60 series 5 Series and its electric equivalents at BMW Group Plant in Dingolfing, we expect that the i5 Touring would also come from this factory.

BMW 5 Series EV release date

BMW confirmed in a press release on 7 December 2021, that the fully-electrified 5 Series will be added to its portfolio in 2023. By 2023, the company will already have at least one fully-electric model on the roads in about 90 percent of its current market segments.

On 21 October 2021, a report from autohome.com.cn said that BMW Group could “release” the next-gen 5 Series by the end of Spring 2023 (May 2023). The report didn’t clarify whether it referred to the world premiere, the global market launch, or the Chinese launch. There’s still clarity to be had on the launch cadence, whether the electric sedan will debut before the combustion-engine models.

Over the next year, the BMW Group will expand its electrified product line-up to include fully-electric versions of the BMW 7 Series and BMW X1. The high-volume BMW 5 Series will be added to the electric portfolio in 2023.

BMW Group confirming the 5 Series electric in a press release issued in December 2021

2023 BMW 5 Series electric FAQs

What is the release date of the 2023 BMW 5 Series?

The next-gen BMW 5 Series & BMW i5 should be at the dealerships in the second half of next year.

What are the rivals to the 2023 BMW 5 Series electric?

The BMW i5 will go up against the Mercedes EQE and the upcoming Audi A6 e-tron (Audi E6).

What is the expected BMW i5 price?

The BMW i5 should have a starting price of around 65,000 EUR.

Featured Image Source: Instagram/germanysfinest43