A redesigned BMW 5-Series debuts in May, BMW said on Wednesday, and this time it will include a new electric variant to be badged the i5.
The global market launch is locked in for October, though specific timing for the U.S. market hasn’t been announced. Expect the new 5-Series to reach local showrooms as a 2024 model.
Prototypes for both the 5-Series and the i5 have been spotted testing. Also out testing are prototypes for an i5 Touring wagon, as well as the next generation of the M5 super sedan, which will pack plug-in hybrid power.
While the i5 won’t get a full-fledged M variant, BMW will offer an M Performance version to be badged as the i5 M60. This model will come standard with all-wheel drive and adaptive dampers, and will likely have an output matching or coming close to the 610 hp of the iX M60.
The new 5-Series will represent the eighth generation of the nameplate. BMW said the range will be more dynamic and more comfortable than the current generation, and it will feature a digital dash running an updated version of the iDrive interface (version 8.5). The updates are aimed at making the interface faster and more intuitive to use.
BMW will also offer the latest version of its automated driver-assist system for highways, dubbed Highway Assistant. Part of the Driving Assistant Professional package, Highway Assistant will control the vehicle in a single lane at speeds of up to 85 mph on certain highway types. The driver will still need to monitor things at all times and take over at a moment’s notice.
Highway Assistant will also perform automated lane changes. To initiate the maneuver, all the driver has to do is look at the side mirror in the direction of the lane he or she wants to enter. A camera tracks the driver’s eye and when it detects the driver is looking at a side mirror, it will prompt the driver to give the go ahead for an automatic lane change, which will then be performed by the vehicle if the traffic situation allows. The driver can also initiate the maneuver using the turn signals.
Underpinning the new 5-Series will be the latest version of BMW Group’s CLAR platform for rear-wheel-drive vehicles. In addition to regular gas and diesel powertrains, the platform supports mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric configurations.
Production will be handled at BMW Group’s plant in Dingolfing, Germany, starting this summer. The plant, which turned 50 this year, is also where BMW builds the 7-Series, 8-Series, and iX.
The i5 isn’t the only new electric BMW coming this year. BMW is developing an electric iX2 option for a redesigned X2 due out later this year.
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