2024 BMW i5 eDrive40 review
2024 BMW i5 eDrive40 review

2024 BMW i5 eDrive40 review

February 20, 2024


BMW is controversially only offering the new eighth-generation 5 Series sedan in a single combustion-powered variant in Australia as it ramps up its electric offerings.

WATCH: Paul’s video review of the 520i and i5 eDrive40

The 2024 BMW i5 is the first time the 5 Series has ever been made available with an all-electric powertrain and it’s currently available locally in two sedan variants: the i5 eDrive40 and the i5 M60 xDrive – the former is on test here.

This type of vehicle is competing in the cooling sedan market as more Australian buyers look toward crossover and SUVs. The electric large sedan segment in particular was previously dominated by the Tesla Model S, which is no longer produced in right-hand drive.

The BMW i5 now goes up against the likes of the Audi e-tron GT, Genesis Electrified G80, Mercedes-Benz EQE and Porsche Taycan.

Does the 2024 BMW i5 eDrive40 form as the pick of the new 5 Series range? Read along to find out.

How does the BMW i5 fare vs its competitors?

View a detailed breakdown of the BMW i5 against similarly sized vehicles.

BMW i5 cutout image



How much does the BMW i5 cost?

BMW 5 Series/i5 pricing

  • 2024 BMW 520i: $114,900
  • 2024 BWW i5 eDrive40: $155,900
  • 2024 BMW i5 M60 xDrive: $215,900

Prices are before on-road costs

To see how the BMW i5 compares with its rivals, check out our comparison tool.

What is the BMW i5 like on the inside?

Walking up to the BMW i5 you’re presented with quite a spectacle. As standard there’s an Iconic Glow illuminated grille that slowly brightens as you approach – this makes the car feel properly special.

There’s also a hypnotising welcome sequence the headlights and tail lights produce that make the car seem like its alive.

Hopping in is made pretty easy due in part to the i5’s high-voltage battery pack lifting up the floor height. It’s not as uncomfortably high as some as EVs can be, but the slightly elevated floor makes it easier to get in and out.

Despite this the driver’s seating position can be put low like a sedan should be. This is the arguably the best way to experience the i5 as it makes you feel connected to the car.

Our tester was equipped with the $5700 Comfort Package that adds front comfort seats as standard, along with other equipment including ventilated front seats (heating is standard) and more. The full list is in the ‘What do you get?’ section below.

These front comfort seats are finished in the Black/Atlas Grey BMW Individual leather ‘Merino’ upholstery and are ultra plush.

They offer what seems like millions of different electric adjustments, so you’ll be able to dial in your perfect seating position. My favourite driver’s seat adjustment was the adjustable side bolster – it can squeeze you in quite hard if you’d like.

I found the i5’s driver seat to be incredibly supportive for the majority of the time, though some of my colleagues found it to be a little uncomfortable. This only presented itself for me on longer stints on the highway where my lower back began to ache no matter how much I fiddled with the adjustable lumbar support.

Ahead of the driver is a flat-bottomed steering wheel that’s buttery soft to the touch, yet has an incredibly thick rim. It’s arguably too thick to comfortably hold onto for longer periods of time.

There aren’t many buttons on the steering wheel and knobs on the steering wheel, which helps keep things feeling minimalist. It can take a bit to understand what each button and scroll wheel actually does, but once you do it’s intuitive.

They are also all physical buttons rather than touch-sensitive units thankfully, though frustratingly they are finished in gloss black which leaves them looking grubby very quickly.

Subtly behind the steering wheel is a singular paddle for the ‘Boost’ function. It’s a little strange to only see one paddle behind the steering wheel because typically there are two for changing gears.

As standard there’s a large curved display housing the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system running BMW Operating System 8.5.

The software theme for the instrument cluster is largely dark but it’s still high-resolution and easy to read all the critical information on it. There is also plenty of configuration to keep it looking fresh.

Moving across the 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system is huge! It’s a bit of a reach from the driver’s seat however, though BMW still offers its rotary iDrive controller in the new i5.

As part of the aforementioned optional Comfort Package it adds CraftedClarity glass interior elements, including the iDrive controller, shift-by-wire gear shifter, start/stop button and volume dial. These finishes feel properly premium.

Like the digital instrument cluster, the touchscreen infotainment system is incredibly high-resolution. It also appears to have plenty of processing power, which means it boots up quickly upon startup and new content loads snappily.

BMW’s Operating System 8.5 can take a little bit to get your head around because there aren’t any physical shortcut buttons and there are so many pages and menus. You need to use the touchscreen a lot however, including for the climate controls, so you better get used to it.

Both wired and wireless forms of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are offered in the BWM i5. For the majority of my time with the car I used wireless Apple CarPlay with my iPhone 15 Pro Max.

While CarPlay looked fantastic on the large 14.9-inch touchscreen display, there were some moments where the connection was really patchy – this included but was not limited to every time I passed under a toll booth.

I thought for the asking price of this BMW i5 there would be a better connection quality. If it really irks you however, you can always plug in via USB cable instead.

The built-in satellite navigation is really easy to use, though for the most part I reverted to using Google Maps with smartphone mirroring. It’s good to know if you ever need to use it, however.

The BMW i5 comes with smartphone app connectivity as standard, which allows you to remotely view the vehicle status and remotely control the car, among other functions. You can also use your smartphone as a digital key, which is nifty.

Looking around the cabin there are so many soft touches. It’s really hard to find any harder plastics, which is good given the car’s asking price.

Just like on the steering wheel there is an annoying amount of glossy piano black on the centre console. This got really gross after just a week because you’re constantly interacting with buttons or dials on this.

Perceived build quality in the i5 is fantastic. Everything was screwed down really tightly with no squeaks present whatsoever. If there were noticeable squeaks these would stick out even more given how silent electric vehicles typically are.

The showstopper inside the cabin is the large ambient lighting panel that runs across the entire width of dashboard and spills onto the door panels. The lighting changes with every drive mode (my favourite is Expressive), and you can also configure your own.

To ensure the drama of the ambient lighting panel isn’t interrupted by the likes of air vents, BMW conveniently hid them in crevices on the dash. You can control the direction of these air vents with cute little knobs.

Despite having largely dark interior finishes, there’s a glass panoramic roof that lets a lot of light into the cabin. It’s fixed unfortunately which means you can’t open it and get fresh air.

As standard the i5 eDrive40 comes with a 17-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system which is phenomenal. It provides thumping bass, along with soaring highs without distortion.

Moving to the second row the bench seat is incredibly comfortable – it’s just as squishy as the front seats.

At a leggy 182cm there’s oodles of leg, head, shoulder and toe space behind my own driving position. You may struggle fitted three adults width-wise, but two will be completely fine.

Second-row amenities include USB ports, a fold-down armrest with cupholders, along with four-zone climate control. The latter is part of the optional Comfort Package.

A powered boot lid is standard on the i5 eDrive40 and once it’s open it presents a claimed boot capacity of 490 litres. The boot itself is really deep, though the opening like the majority of sedans is a little narrow.

Under the boot floor there’s an extra little bit of storage space where a spare tyre would usually go. It’s big enough to fit two charging cables.

What’s under the bonnet?

Model BMW i5 eDrive40
Electric motor setup Single rear-mounted electric motor
Electric motor power 250kW
Electric motor torque 420Nm
Driven wheels Rear-wheel drive
Battery 84kWh
Weight 2130kg (kerb)
Claimed range 582km (WLTP)
Claimed energy consumption 15.9-19.5kWh/100km (WLTP)
Observed energy consumption 18.6kWh/100km

To see how the BMW i5 compares with its rivals, check out our comparison tool.

How does the BMW i5 drive?

Starting up the BMW i5 eDrive40 is a very emotional affair. Opening the doors causes an ethereal sound to play through the speakers, along with another when you press the start button.

Like a number of EVs from mainstream brands, the BMW i5 can be driven more or less like an combustion-powered car to make the transition to electric power less daunting for owners.

In the standard ‘D’ driving mode the i5 creeps forward like a combustion-powered car and you need to press the brake pedal to come to a complete stop.

If you push down on the gear selector again once you’re already in ‘D’ you’ll select ‘B’ mode which is much more EV-like in character. It’s arguably the best and most intuitive way to drive and experience the i5.

‘B’ mode in the BMW i5 allows you to essentially drive the car with the accelerator pedal only – in other words it’s a one-pedal drive mode.

Unlike some EVs with a similar one-pedal driving mode, the i5’s actually illuminated the brake lights when you come to a complete stop. In the Hyundai Ioniq 5 for example, the brake lights illuminate as you’re slowing down but then turn off once you come to a complete stop unless you put your foot on the brake pedal.

Acceleration in the i5 eDrive40 is decent but won’t blow your face off like some more performance-oriented EVs. If it’s that you’re after, take a look at the i5 M60 xDrive.

Taking off you’ll easily be keeping up or moving ahead of traffic however. This is because the full 420Nm of torque from the electric motor is available from a standstill.

The i5 eDrive40 does offer a ‘Boost’ mode if you’re that way inclined that can be activated by push a paddle behind the steering wheel. It only works for a short period of time.

In addition, there’s an ‘Expressive’ driving mode that dials up the drama to 11. When you’re driving around in this mode sounds and noises created by Hans Zimmer is pumped through the speakers. It’s bit much for me personally, but is a cool thing to show off to others.

In low-speed scenarios the BMW i5 is really easy to drive and manoeuvre. The steering is incredibly light and as standard the car has rear-wheel steering, which reduces the turning circle.

If you’ve never experienced a car with rear-wheel steering before, it’s such a strange feeling. It feels like you’re driving a tram or a forklift because the rear pushes itself around corners and isn’t just along for the ride.

As standard there are front and rear parking sensors, as well as a surround-view camera that has fantastic quality. There’s also a parking and reversing assistant that can come in handy, but they need to be operated by using the central touchscreen.

Along with the rear-wheel steering, the BMW i5 eDrive40 comes with adaptive suspension. Every single urban road imperfection is soaked up by this setup, with the car even taking speed bumps on like a champ.

Although the adaptive suspension is good at low speeds, it’s even better out on the open road. It strikes the perfect balance of control and comfort – surprising given our tester was fitted with 20-inch alloy wheels.

Building up the speed in the i5 comes really easily. If you’re not careful or paying proper attention you could be speeding, because you don’t have the typical feedback a combustion-powered engine provides.

There’s virtually no wind noise that can be heard in the cabin, which makes the car a serene space to be on long drives.

The steering is still light at higher speeds, which would typically mean it’s a little devoid of feeling, but in this case you still really feel in control and aware of what the car is doing. The i5 also feels super planted with only a small nudge of the steering wheel causing you to head in a different direction.

On the safety front, the adaptive cruise control system works really well. It’s able to deal with cars moving into your lane naturally and not slam on the brakes like some cars annoyingly do.

The lane centring function as part of the adaptive cruise control system can be switched on by a press of a button on the steering wheel and is surprisingly good at keeping the car in the middle of the lane. It’s actually something I looked to use on highways which isn’t something I would normally do with cars that have this function.

There’s a lane-change assist function as well that gets a little clunky in operation. It takes too long to initiate the lane change and then once it does it’s quite violent – I much preferred to do the lane changes myself.

Lastly, the BMW i5’s adaptive LED headlights are fantastic. At night time on rural and regional roads you’re able to keep your high beams on and instead worry about what animal might be lurking around the next bend.

What do you get?

520i highlights:

  • 19-inch M alloy wheels
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • Remote start
  • Panoramic glass roof
  • Power boot-lid
  • BMW Iconic Glow illuminated grille
  • M Sport package
  • Comfort Access (keyless entry and start)
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system with BMW Operating System 8.5
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
  • Head-up display
  • Gesture control
  • Alcantara and Veganza leatherette upholstery
  • Interior camera
  • Ambient lighting
  • Carbon-fibre interior trim
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Heated front sports seats
  • Wireless phone charger
  • 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system
  • Driving Assistant Professional
  • Parking Assistant Professional
    • Semi-autonomous parking assist
    • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Surround-view camera
  • Travel & Comfort System
  • ConnectedDrive

i5 eDrive40 adds:

  • 20-inch M alloy wheels
  • Adaptive Suspension Professional
    • Integral Active Steering
    • Adaptive suspension
  • 22kW onboard AC charger
  • Mode 2, Mode 3 charge cables
  • BMW IconicSounds Electric
  • 17-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system
  • BMW Individual Merino leather upholstery
  • 5yr Chargefox subscription
  • Metallic paint

Comfort Package ($5700) as tested adds:

  • Heated steering wheel
  • Roller sunblinds
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Front comfort seats
  • BMW CraftedClarity Glass application
  • Heated rear seats
  • Four-zone climate control

M Sport Plus Package ($4200) as tested adds:

  • 21-inch alloy wheels
  • M red or blue brake calipers
  • M lights Shadow Line
  • M seat belts
  • High-gloss black grille frame
  • High-gloss black grille struts
  • High-gloss black tail light strip
  • M Carbon side mirror caps
  • M Carbon rear spoiler

There are also different upholstery and trim finishes available as no-cost options in the i5 eDrive40.

Is the BMW i5 safe?

The BMW i5 received a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on testing conducted by Euro NCAP in 2023.

It received 89 per cent for adult occupant protection, 87 per cent for child occupant protection, 86 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 81 per cent for safety assist.

Standard safety features include:

  • Autonomous emergency braking
    • Pedestrian, Cyclist detection
    • Junction assist
    • Reverse AEB
  • Blind-spot monitoring 
  • Front, rear cross-traffic alert
  • Driving Assistant Professional
    • Lane keep assist
    • Adaptive cruise control with stop/go
  • Parking Assistant Professional
    • Semi-autonomous parking assist
    • Reversing assistant
  • Front, rear parking sensors
  • Surround-view cameras incl. 3D view
  • Tyre pressure monitoring

How much does the BMW i5 cost to run?

The 2024 BMW 5 Series and i5 range is covered by the company’s five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. The i5’s high-voltage battery is also covered by an eight-year, 160,000km warranty.

BMW offers a six-year, unlimited-kilometre Service Inclusive Basic package on the i5 which costs $2900.

CarExpert’s Take on the BMW i5

The BMW i5 eDrive40 is first of all a properly luxurious car that comes with a luxury car price tag.

Over $150,000 is a lot of money to be spending on a brand-new car so it better be very special for the asking price.

Thankfully there’s a tonne of showroom appeal, as well as plenty of glitz, glam and drama to keep you enticed. It also looks more or less like a typical sedan, unlike some EVs which are closer to looking like a jelly bean.

The i5 eDrive40 is a fantastic car to drive both around town and out on the highway, offering outstanding driving dynamics and comfort levels. Its perceived interior build quality is head and shoulders above the likes of current Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

Although the i5 eDrive40 is the ‘entry-level’ electric variant in the 5 Series range, it forms as the pick of the range if you value electric range. It also has plenty of power to boot.

If 250kW and 430Nm isn’t enough however, the i5 M60 xDrive might be a better fit. Prepare you wallet however as you’ll be spending well over $200,000 for the privilege.

Lastly, if electric power isn’t for you BMW still offers the petrol-powered 520i which is considerably cheaper than both the i5 sedan variants, looks virtually identical to the i5 eDrive40, and also offers comparable standard equipment.

Click the images for the full gallery

MORE: Everything BMW i5


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