BMW i5 will arrive at US dealers starting this month

The next-generation BMW 5 Series is entering market availability globally, including the new i5 EV. The US will see the i5 Sedan arrive for sale in just a matter of weeks, before October’s end. It’s unclear if the eDrive 40 and M60 xDrive will both be available at launch, but BMW’s release would seem to imply “yes.”

The first i5s rolled off the assembly line in Dingolfing, Germany, back in July, with the car curiously making its global market debut in Korea. Now, global availability is imminent, with Germany (October 21) and the US (October 28) being the next in line. Other markets will be waiting a month or so longer, with the larger worldwide launch starting on November 25. Models include the i5 eDrive 40 and the performance i5 M60 xDrive, which makes over 600 hp and reportedly can shuffle to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds.

While Electrek has yet to have a go in the all-new i5 (hi, BMW!), early drives of the car have been pretty positive overall. The new BMW OS 8.5 allegedly brings some usability and practicality improvements (e.g., easier access to climate controls with fewer taps), and more changes to the operating system will be coming over the air to owners down the line.

Teaser shot of the BMW 5 Series Touring (wagon)

The new 5 Series Touring (wagon, estate — choose your regional vocab) will launch in spring 2024 in ICE and electrified trims, though it sounds like there will be no US launch. BMW says the 5 Series Touring will be available in Europe, Taiwan, and Japan.

BMW has chosen a philosophy of platform marriage for its current crop of “next-generation” vehicles, meaning the ICE and BEV 5 Series largely look and feel quite similar — but they use totally different drivetrains. Some customers enjoy knowing that their electrified vehicle features a distinct design language and bespoke platform. Still, there are likely many who would like a “normal car” that just so happens to be electrified. Now, this all gets rather philosophical kind of quickly when you ask which version of the car is primarily driving platform and technology decisions, and if the designer would have made an EV from the ground up that looks basically like the “shared” car anyway. But for BMW’s electric portfolio, I think the visual reaction boils down to “kidney grilles, why?” (Because that’s My Brand, presumably.)

Pricing for the eDrive 40 will start at a hair under $68,000 in the US with delivery, and the performance M60 xDrive will be closer to $85,000. That, of course, doesn’t include any options. A fully loaded M60 xDrive (big wheels, leather interior, wood trim, executive package) tops out at $97,395 delivered. Both cars look well-equipped in standard trim, however, so loading them up is by no means necessary.

Full press release here.

Electrek’s Take

Like the Mercedes EQE, Model S, and Lucid Air, the BMW i5 slots into the new(-ish) “big mid-size sedan” market — it’s actually within an inch of the Tesla for total length, though about an inch-and-a-half longer by wheelbase. With a starting price of around $68,000, it does slightly undercut Tesla, but for a car that’s much slower and lower on range.

But the population of buyers cross-shopping an i5 and Model S is probably pretty small — BMW is a brand that commands loyalty, with its driver-focused reputation and very visible “yes, I am driving a BMW” visual branding. (See: Kidney grilles on an electric car.)

It will be interesting to see how sales go for BMW in an increasingly crossover-crazy luxury vehicle space – there’s no doubt the 5 Series is part of the shrinking pie that is the sedan market (especially in America). But it’s also a legendary nameplate, and one that buyers often repeatedly return to over the course of multiple generations. It’s hard to say that about a Mercedes E-Class.

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