Since the E12, the BMW 5 Series has always been about performance, connecting the driver to the road better than any other, while still offering an executive luxury sedan experience. It’s safe to say that things have changed at BMW over the last few years, with the majority of their ‘driving machine’ history being focused on new ‘M’ badge cars, while the remainder of the model line-up seems to focus on luxury and removing those things about driving that some find irritating, like opening your own door.
For 2024 and the 8th generation model, it follows this trend. Silently wafting away with drive enjoyment rubbing shoulders with electrification and technology as the clear priorities. The new 5 is smarter, incorporates sustainable luxury, and borrows tech from its 7 Series sibling. This is also the first time we’ve seen an all-electric version of the 5 Series with the i5 M60 mixing it up with the M5 CS in terms of straight-line speed.
However, we must first discuss the styling which isn’t as much of a shock as the new 7 Series with clear design influences from the ‘shark nose’ 5 Series models. The styling is more fluid while the proportions are less upright. The huge BMW kidney grille is very much there with M-Sport models getting more black trim across the face. Of course, you get an illuminated version too. The side view shows how long the new 5 Series is with a stretched wheelbase and a significant length increase while the rear gets the ‘L-shaped lights’ with four narrow LED strips aligned horizontally. There are flush door handles too.
Inside, the gap has been narrowed with the 7 Series with a lounge-like vibe along with leather-free upholstery. Drivers are greeted with a frameless glass surface angled towards them including a 12.3-inch Information Display behind the steering wheel and a 14.9-inch Control Display. Elsewhere, there is a new BMW Operating System 8.5 and you can also indulge yourselves with some in-car gaming.
The ‘interaction bar’ has also been plucked from the 7 Series and runs across the entire width of the instrument panel into the door panels and includes touch-sensitive control panels for controlling ventilation and air conditioning and for activating the hazard warning lights.
A tinge of sustainability has also been sprinkled across the interior of the new 5 with the leather-like, perforated ‘Veganza’ material being used on the seats as well as the dashboard and door panels and, for the first time, the steering wheel. Extended Merino leather upholstery in several bicolour variants remains an option.
Buttons are minimised except for places where necessary and there’s even a panoramic glass roof being offered for the first time.
Other than the sole petrol engine option, the limelight is firmly on the i5 electric model range that includes the base i5 eDrive40 with a rear-wheel-drive configuration and a power output of 335bhp.
The big daddy of the range, until the new M5 comes, is of course the singing and dancing i5 M60 xDrive with dual motors developing 593bhp and a claimed 0-100 km/h time of 3.7 seconds thanks partially to all-wheel-drive. It is not just speed as the massive 84kWh battery pack will deliver a claimed range of 582km. Performance spec tyres wrapped around 21-inch wheels and M-Sport suspension round off the rest of the changes.
Petrol versions get a 2.0-litre inline 4-cylinder engine with 48V Mild hybrid assistance while a faster 540i will go into production this November. A raft of driver assistance tech is also available including hands-free driving at speeds up to 135 km/h.
Expect the new 5 Series to land in Australian showrooms by the end of this year with the line-up including the 520i petrol and the i5 EV. With the new generation E-Class also having been just revealed, this is an interesting executive luxury sedan battle to watch out for.
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