BMW is currently testing prototypes for a redesigned 5-Series, the nameplate's eighth generation, and our latest spy shots show a prototype for a planned electric version of the mid-size sedan.
The electric 5-Series, which will be called the i5, was first confirmed in 2020. It should debut alongside the regular versions of the redesigned 5-Series in 2023. Expect the cars to reach dealerships as 2024 models.
It wasn't long ago that BMW was thought to be developing a standalone i5 model to serve as a bigger version of the former i3 hatch. However, BMW changed its tack with electric vehicles, choosing to launch electric versions of core models instead of standalone models like the i3 and i8. Electric versions of the X3 (iX3) and 4-Series (i4) are already on sale, and electric versions of the X1 (iX1) and 7-Series (i7) are coming. An electric 3-Series (i3) has also been launched in China.
2024 BMW i5 spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Looking closely at this i5 prototype, we can see that the grille is sealed off. The tester also lacks exhaust tips, and there's no missing the warning stickers for the electrified powertrain on the flanks and rear.
It isn't clear what specs the i5 will have but the 4-Series-based i4 may provide some clues. The i4, at least in the U.S., arrived with 335 hp, rear-wheel drive, and up to 301 miles of range in i4 eDrive40 base form. A sportier i4 M50 with 536 hp, all-wheel drive, and up to 270 miles of range is also available. The battery in each case is a 83.9-kwh unit. It's possible the i5 gets more kwh due to its bigger size and weight.
We've also heard that the redesigned M5 will eventually have an electric version as an alternative to its standard V-8 plug-in hybrid powertrain. It was reported last year that the next M5 will come as a plug-in hybrid in standard guise and an electric powertrain in range-topping guise, which would be the first time the super sedan offers more than one powertrain option. We'll have to wait and see.