BMW Pushes BEV as Range-Topping New 5 Series

BMW launches the eighth generation of its executive high-speed cruiser, the BMW 5 Series, pushing BEV as the range-topping halo powertrain.

It’s as if the automaker is predicting a future where BEV is targeting premium products for well-heeled consumers preening their climate awareness credentials knowing they have access to other transportation options for longer journeys, especially when the claimed maximum range is from a comparatively lowly sub-300 miles. So, with the limited mileage they’ll cover will probably achieve the polar opposite to saving the planet. Nonetheless, we now see the introduction of the $120,000 (on the road price in Europe but $85,095 excluding taxes in the USA) all-electric BMW i5 M60 xDrive performance model and its slightly downmarket BMW i5 eDrive40, equipped with enhanced fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology.

The BMW i5 M60 xDrive boasts a 592bhp when using with M Sport Boost or M Launch. It deploys two integrated drive units on the front and rear axles form the electric all-wheel drive system. The system torque generated by both motors is 586ft-lbs or 604ft-lbs when M Sport Boost or M Launch Control is activated. This lets the model claim acceleration from zero to 62mph in 3.8 seconds while the maximum speed is electronically limited to 143mph. Its combined power consumption is 20.6 to 18.2kWh per 62 miles.

Its rear-wheel drive electric sibling, the BMW i5 eDrive40, uses its electric motor is located directly in the rear axle and generates maximum output of 335bhp and maximum torque of 295ft-lbs or 317ft-lbs with the Sport Boost or Launch Control function. The zero-to-62mph sprint is claimed in 6.0 seconds, while maximum speed is electronically limited to 120mph. Its combined power consumption is between 19.5 and 15.9kWh per 62 miles.

Both BEV models feature a shift paddle marked with “Boost” near the left steering wheel spoke. If the paddle is pulled for more than 0.8 seconds, a Sport Boost indicator appears on the Information Display, and maximum acceleration is triggered by the accelerator pedal. At the same time, the drive sound changes to that assigned to My Mode SPORT.

The high-voltage battery used in the all-electric variants is derived from the latest fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology. It is composed of four modules with 72 battery cells each and three modules with 12 cells each. The battery is flat in design and is fitted in the underbody of the BMW i5 to save space. It provides a usable energy content of 81.2 kWh. The BMW i5 M60 xDrive claims a maximum range of 282 to 320 miles (WLTP), while the BMW i5 eDrive40 has a range of 296 to 362 miles.

These will be joined by plug-in hybrids models in 2024 in the shape of the BMW 530e and BMW 550e xDrive, which are expected to offer an electric range of 49 to 56 miles (WLTP) and 54 to 62 miles (WLTP) respectively. Also set to join the model family in spring 2024 is the next generation of the BMW 5 Series Touring, which will also be available with all-electric drive for the first time, as well as with plug-in hybrid drive and pure combustion engine drive.

For the ICE underlings, the automaker thankfully still offers both a four-cylinder gasoline engine equipped with 48-volt mild hybrid technology that uses a crankshaft starter generator to produce a spontaneous response to every accelerator movement, both when starting off and during acceleration, and increases comfort when using the Auto Start Stop function. In addition to the electric motor, the 48-volt battery also supplies the vehicle’s 12-volt electrical system via a voltage converter.

The gasoline engine in the new BMW 5 Series Saloon comes from a new modular generation that uses the Miller combustion process, which shortens the opening times of the intake valves. It also features redesigned intake ducts and combustion chambers, as well as innovations in camshaft control, fuel injection, the ignition system and exhaust gas routing.

In addition, the latest version of the fully variable valve control is able to stop gas exchange when required, thus reducing the engine’s frictional torque in overrun phases by about two thirds. This leads to braking energy being more intensively recuperated.

In the BMW 520i Saloon, this engine produces 187bhp and 228bhp of torque, increased to 205bhp and 243ft-lbs with the support of the 48-volt mild hybrid technology and 23bhp and 39ft-lbs more than its predecessor. The new BMW 520i Saloon claims 7.5 seconds to accelerate from zero to 62mph. Like all previous model generations, starting in 1973 when the first BMW 5 Series appeared on the market, the new model is manufactured at the BMW Group Plant Dingolfing.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *