China is the world's largest market for electric vehicles (EVs), with more than 1.3 million units sold in 2021, accounting for over 40% of global EV sales. The country has also been a stronghold for local EV makers, such as BYD, NIO, and Xpeng, who have enjoyed strong government support and consumer preference.
However, the Chinese EV market is facing increasing competition from international automakers, who are launching new models tailored to local needs and tastes. One of the most anticipated newcomers is the BMW i5, a fully electric version of the popular 5 Series sedan, which is exclusively designed and produced in China for the Chinese market.
The 2024 BMW i5 is part of the German luxury brand's ambitious plan to expand its electrified portfolio in China, where it aims to sell one million EVs and plug-in hybrids by 2025. The BMW i5 will join the existing BMW iX3 and BMW iX SUVs, as well as the upcoming BMW i4 sedan and BMW i7 flagship, in BMW's Chinese lineup.
But what makes the BMW i5 stand out from the crowd? And how does it compare to its local rivals? Here are some of the key features and facts about the new electric sedan.
Performance and range
The BMW i5 will be available in two variants: the eDrive40 and the M60 xDrive. The former will have a single electric motor on the rear axle, delivering 335 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The latter will have a dual-motor system on both axles, producing 590 horsepower and 586 pound-feet of torque.
The eDrive40 will have a range of up to 295 miles on a single charge, according to BMW, while the M60 xDrive will have a range of up to 256 miles. Both models will support fast charging up to 205 kW, allowing them to replenish 80% of their battery capacity in about 30 minutes.
The BMW i5 will also feature an adaptive suspension system, with air springs at the rear and optional four-wheel steering for enhanced agility and stability. The M60 xDrive will have an additional variable steering system and an M Sport differential for improved handling and performance.
Design and technology
The BMW i5 will share the same body and interior space as the regular 5 Series sedan but with some distinctive elements to highlight its electric identity. For instance, the i5 will have a closed-off kidney grille with blue accents, aerodynamic wheels, and a redesigned rear bumper with integrated LED lights.
Inside, the 2024 BMW i5 will boast a curved display that combines a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The display will run on BMW's latest operating system (8.5), offering various digital services and features, such as video streaming, gaming, voice control, and over-the-air updates.
The i5 will also offer a leather-free option for eco-conscious customers, with Alcantara-wrapped seats and a steering wheel. Other interior features will include sports seats, multi-contour seats, ambient lighting, wireless charging, and a Harman Kardon sound system.
Price and availability
The 2024 BMW i5 is expected to hit the Chinese market in October 2023, with prices starting from $67,795 for the eDrive40 and $85,095 for the M60 xDrive. The i5 will compete with other premium electric sedans in China, such as the Tesla Model 3, the Mercedes-Benz EQE, and the Audi A6 e-tron.
The BMW i5 is part of BMW's strategy to increase its share of the Chinese EV market, which is projected to grow by 31% annually until 2026. By offering a locally made electric version of its best-selling sedan, BMW hopes to appeal to both loyal customers and new buyers who are looking for a high-quality, high-performance, and high-tech EV.