FIRST UK DRIVE: BMW i5: The Ultimate Electric Driving Machine? | Electrifying

From Electrifying.

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BMW’s electrification plans are moving at full speed. In the course of the past 18 months, the German brand has launched the iX3, iX1, i4 and i7. And now, that impressive range of battery beemers is about to be joined by this – the all-new BMW i5.

For BMW the i5 is the big one. Why? It’s simple – the 5 Series is the most important car the Bavarian carmaker builds. It has churned out more than 10 million of them over 50 years, and is very much its all-rounder – the BMW that has to cover all bases and exemplify exactly what the BMW brand is all about.

Just like the i4, the i5 isn’t a bespoke, ground-up electric car. Instead, BMW prefers to build one platform and use it for combustion engined models, hybrids and pure-electrics. BMW’s way of doing things is very different from Audi’s or Mercedes’ as these brands tend to build a separate, bespoke electric version of a model. Think Mercedes E-Class and the EQE and you’ll understand what we mean.

The BMW i5’s 81.2kWh lithium-ion battery is good for an official WLTP range of up to 357 miles in the rear-wheel drive eDrive40, or up to 320 miles for the dual-motor, all-wheel drive M60. That’s not bad at all – it’s better than the Tesla Model Y or Audi e-tron GT can manage, but it’s a fraction less than the Mercedes EQE’s claimed WLTP of up to 410 miles. We’d expect to see a real-world range of around 270- 340 miles from the BMW i5 eDrive 40, depending on when and how you’re driving it; the standard integrated heat pump should help to keep winter range on the i5 up to a good standard, too.

Is BMW onto a winner with the new i5? Join Nicola as she puts it through its paces in the UK for the first time. Is this the electric car you’ve been waiting for? Would you choose the BMW i5 over its rivals? As always, we love to hear what you think, so start typing in the comments below.


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