The 2024 BMW 5 Series Is Here: Gas or Full Electric Power, Complex Tech, and a Normal-ish Face

With an available electric powertrain that can go 295 miles on a charge, the new 5 Series ushers in loads of changes with a more restrained look.

byChris Rosales|
BMW News photo

Sport sedan enthusiasts everywhere can take a deep breath: the new BMW 5 Series is officially here. While it might not be everything BMW fanatics of old would want from a modern 5er, I can say from experience that this newest generation is a step in the right direction. Best of all, it has a relatively normal face.

As expected from our BMW i5 prototype drive in April, the new 5 comes in two varieties: gasoline-powered with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system or fully electric. BMW has seemingly dropped the top-trim 550i and slotted the 590-horsepower i5 M60 in its place, with the range being made up of five total models. There’s the turbocharged four-cylinder powered 530i available in rear-drive or all-wheel-drive, the rear-wheel-drive electric i5 eDrive40 with 295-miles of range, the turbo inline-six 540i xDrive, then the aforementioned all-wheel-drive electric i5 M60 with 256-miles of EPA range. All i5s get a heat pump as standard.

The big news here is that the V8 non-M 5 Series is dead for the moment, with the electric i5 taking the top position in the range. The i5 M60 is no slouch with a zero to 60 mph time of 3.8 seconds, so there isn’t much lost there besides tradition. BMW boasts about the car's M sport braking system and Adaptive Suspension Professional, with optional electronically controlled shock absorbers, Integral Active Steering, and new vertical dynamics management. All that sounds like serious automotive engineering mumbo jumbo, but it provides a planted and plush ride that can adapt to your driving style depending on the drive mode you put it in.

And though the V8 is dead, the normal kidney grilles remain for the new 5 Series. Well, as normal as it can get for modern BMW designs.

It looks a lot like the current 3 Series and 2 Series Gran Coupe, with the car pulling a proportional trick to look much smaller than it actually is. The horizon line of the car is extremely strong, with a nice, simple side profile. It still looks a bit tall for a traditional sedan, and doesn’t quite have the long, low proportions that have defined the 5 Series’ of the past, but it looks overall good. I would still hazard to say that the kidneys are enormous, but at least are integrated well.

And the interior is very much new-school. With iDrive 8.5 running the show, the 5 Series ditches buttons in a big way. BMW portrays this as a pro, not a con. Again, based on my time with it, the haptic touch worked well enough to be useful but the complexity of the car took getting used to. The digital gauge cluster measures 12.3 inches across, while the infotainment screen commands even more attention at 14.9 inches. BMW says occupants can stream video and even play games on the big ol' screen with the available AirConsole during their downtime, like waiting at a charger in the i5.

Driving the 5 Series is becoming more like a video game itself. A new suite of advanced driver assistance tech includes the trick eye-activated lane change and hands-free driving up to 85 mph that I also tested back in April. It all works excellently, meaning it's more comfortable because of the features. In some cars, these driver assists are more like half-baked gimmicks that actually cause more stress and driver fatigue.

Overall, it’s a strong swing at the sedan market. There might have been some doomerism in the sedan space for a bit, but the automakers have come back strong. There was definitely an alternate reality where the 5 Series didn’t need to continue, yet we’re looking at plenty more years of the once great sport sedan benchmark. Whether it will take its crown back is yet to be seen. 

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