BMW latest 5 Series debuts with vegan interior and electrifying power
The fully electric i5 model silently powers from 0-100/km/h in just 3.8 seconds
No animals were harmed in the production of the new BMW 5 Series sedan, the brand’s first model to feature a fully vegan interior as standard.
Making its global premiere on Wednesday, the business sedan has artificial leather on the seats, dashboard and the door panels, as well as the steering wheel, for the first time. BMW Individual Merino leather upholstery in several bicolour variants is also available.
The eighth-generation 5 Series, dubbed the G60, features a wealth of digital innovations. It is also available for the first time in an all-electric model, the i5.
The car’s market launch starts in October 2023 and will be offered worldwide with all-electric drive and, depending on the market region, with plug-in hybrid systems and petrol and diesel engines, including 48V mild hybrid technology. Like all previous models, the latest BMW 5 Series Sedan is produced at the Dingolfing plant, where the electric motors and high voltage batteries for the BMW i5 are also manufactured.
Styling-wise, the car has what BMW calls “a reduced design language” that emphasises sporty elegance and presence. At 5,060mm, the sedan is 97mm longer than its predecessor, and is 32mm and 36mm wider and higher. The wheelbase is stretched by 20mm for more leg room.
As per BMW’s modern trend, the kidney grille has grown significantly and is flanked by twin headlights, with LED elements arranged almost vertically and serving as indicators and daytime driving lights. The grille projects far forward and is optionally illuminated as in the 7 Series. At the rear, flat lights are divided by a chrome strip and the sedan can be visually vamped up with an optional M Sport Package or M Sport Package Pro.
Inside, the mostly digitised cockpit has far fewer buttons and controls, and features a 12.3-inch information display and a 14.9-inch control display. The steering wheel has been redesigned with a flattened lower section and haptic feedback on the control panels. The gear selector is a crystal stub, as is the iDrive controller between the front seats.
Another feature inherited from the 7 Series is the optional BMW Interaction Bar, a colour-changing faceted surface in the dashboard that doubles as a touch control display for air-conditioning and operation of the doors and lights.
The i5 comes in two variants. The flagship all-wheel drive M60 xDrive has outputs of 442kW and 820Nm and quietly accelerates from 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds. Its top speed is electrically limited to 230km/h, and the maximum range is a claimed 516km.
The rear-wheel drive i5 eDrive40 delivers 250kW and 430Nm for 0-100 km/h in 6.0 seconds, a 193km/h top speed, and a range of 582km.
On a public fast-charger, the i5 can be juiced up from 10% to 80% in about 30 minutes.
The petrol and diesel versions all feature 48V mild-hybrid technology and are paired with a new eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission.
The entry four-cylinder versions are the 153kW BMW 520i and 145kW 520d xDrive. Other petrol engines with four and six cylinders will be available and the model range will be supplemented by two plug-in hybrid variants. An in-line, six-cylinder diesel engine will follow from 2024, as will an additional i5 with electric all-wheel drive.
BMW says the 5 Series’ characteristic balance between maximum sportiness and long-distance comfort is enhanced in the new G60, thanks to the longest wheelbase in the class, increased track widths and almost perfectly balanced weight distribution. Lightweight construction and increased body and chassis connection rigidity contribute to the comfortable but sporting appeal.
Optional features that help the car hug the road include M sport suspension, an M sport brake system, adaptive suspension (standard in the BMW i5 M60 xDrive) and rear-wheel steering. The optional Adaptive M Suspension Professional includes Active Roll Stabilisation with Active Roll Comfort.
BMW’s business sedan gets an expanded range of advanced driver assistance, including a world-first active lane change assistant with eye confirmation. When the vehicle suggests a lane change the driver confirms by looking at the exterior mirror and the car automatically enters the lane, traffic permitting.
With an optional Parking Assistant Professional, automated parking and manoeuvring of up to 200 metres can be controlled from inside the car or from outside by smartphone.
The 5 Series arrives arrives in SA in the fourth quarter, starting with the 520d and i5 M60 xDrive derivatives.
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