BMW plays it safe with design of new electric sedan, the 2024 i5
COMO, ITALY--BMW has earned a reputation for challenging car designs. It's not a new thing, either. People mocked the Z1's disappearing doors. The Z3 coupe's "clown shoe" nickname was not at all affectionate. And few could find a kind word about the infamous "Bangle butt" on the fourth-gen 7 Series. But it doesn't take those kinds of risks with every model, particularly not the latest 5 Series, which now includes a fully electric i5.
The 5 Series is BMW's midsize sedan, and until the advent of the luxury SUV--a category that BMW basically invented--it was the company's bread and butter. There's a new 5 Series out this October, the eighth generation to bear the nameplate. Like other recent BMWs, it uses the manufacturer's latest flexible architecture that supports battery-electric, plug-in hybrid, and conventional powertrains, something we've seen to good effect with the 4 Series and particularly with last year's 7 Series and i7.
The sedan is not dead
"We're particularly happy with how it turned out proportion-wise. I think it is a long, elegant, sporty sedan, and that, for me, is the essence of any BMW anyway. And the 5 series, of course, is the core of the brand in many, many markets," said Adrian van Hooydonk, design director at BMW Group.
"It is the car for customers that like to drive longer distances and like to drive it a bit faster. So it's for people that know very well what BMW is all about. And we managed to electrify that car within that silhouette," he said.
It's a little larger than the model it replaces--about 2 percent larger in every dimension. The length is noticeable in the car's front overhang, but the added height required to package a slab of lithium-ion batteries--a useable 84.3 kWh in the case of the i5--isn't that noticeable. Some of that is the car's shape and proportions, some is the still-effective design trick of using black panels to hide the bits they don't want you to see.
"The battery is between the wheels, in the floor," van Hooydonk explained. "So initially, that's a challenge, but we got a bigger wheel diameter as well. And I think the overall silhouette, the whole roofline, came out rather elegant."