Electric Cars Reviewed

BMW i5 M60 review: extreme executive excellence

Is the electric version of BMW’s new 5 Series deserving of an M badge?

The BMW 5 Series has been a stalwart of the executive saloon class for a staggering 52 years, launched back in the days when 215bhp from a straight six was considered worthy of a M badge.

Things have moved on since then, not least with BMW’s rapid shift towards electrification. But the 5 Series hasn’t been left behind. While you can still have a petrol or plug-in hybrid version, BMW also has two fully electric versions of the eighth-generation 5 Series.

There’s the sensible, entry-level i5 eDrive40, and the car I’ve been driving – the i5 M60 xDrive, which acts as the all-electric alternative to the inbound V8 M5.

Design, interior and technology

We live in a world where the SUV is king so the mere presence of this traditional saloon is something to celebrate. Even more so since the i5 is probably the best looking BMW on sale right now.

The grille is perhaps a bit plasticky and it certainly doesn’t need to be illuminated but it’s a more cohesive look than something like an i7 or iX. Behind it is a classic three-box shape that echoes previous 5 Series while also moving them on with touches such as flush-fit door handles and sharp but simple feature lines. The M60 gets a deeper front apron and side sills as well as a pronounced rear diffuser and bootlid spoiler just to emphasise its performance focus, along with unique 20-inch alloys.

The interior borrows heavily from the more exclusive i7, which is a good thing. There’s showy tech such as the light-up touch-sensitive Interaction Bar and virtually invisible ‘seam’ air vents. But away from such fancy party pieces there’s a sense of BMW’s usual brilliant ergonomics, design and rock solid build. And despite some high-tech flourishes it feels more subtle than anything from Mercedes or Audi.

BMW i5 M60 interior

I still wish they’d bring back physical heating controls but the crystal-effect iDrive controller does a good job of helping navigate the 14.9-inch main screen. That sits alongside a 12.3-inch digital instrument display as part of the giant ‘Curved Glass’ array that stands proud of the dashboard.

I could fill pages with a breakdown of all the fancy tech in the i5 but, basically, it has the newest and bestest version of everything – from the latest BMW OS 9 and adaptive LED lights to to driver assist that will suggest lane changes for you, and a massive head-up display.

Battery, motor and performance

Most of that stuff is the same whichever version of the i5 you go for. The real difference is under the skin. In this i5 M60, the eDrive40’s rear-drive setup is replaced with a two-motor all-wheel-drive arrangement.

In total that produces 593bhp and 586lb ft which, if it doesn’t rip the Tarmac off the road, will get the i5 M60 from 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds. All 5s in the UK get M sport suspension and the M60 has self-levelling air suspension at the rear plus two-piston ‘stroke-dependent’ dampers to stop excessive bouncing over bad surfaces.

In tandem, that setup results in a car that is shockingly rapid and staggeringly composed. Pull the boost paddle to unlock all the power, sink the throttle and you’re hurled down the road at breathtaking pace accompanied by a weirdly appealing electro-mechanical growl. Of course, lots of EVs can accelerate fast in a straight line but it’s in the corners that the M60 proves BMW’s engineers know their stuff.

You’re aware of the mass of the thing – it’s nearly 2.4 tonnes – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t corner keenly and accurately. There’s a sharpness and deftness to the handling, aided by well calibrated steering, clever adaptive suspension and seemingly endless grip, which allows the i5 to carve along the road with surprisingly liveliness for such a large car.

It maybe isn’t as ferocious as previous generations of M5s but it is wonderfully competent. And when you’ve had enough hooliganism you can calm things down and waft along serenely thanks to an absolutely impeccable ride, limo-levels of noise insulation and deep, supportive seats.

BMW i5 M60 battery, motor and performance

Of course, the breathtaking performance comes at the expense of efficiency. The M60’s maximum range is pegged at 315 miles rather than the 356 miles the eDrive offers from the same 81.2kWh battery. The M60 does offer 22kW AC charging as standard – a step up from the 11kW on the eDrive – and accepts up to 205kW DC charging, which will add almost 100 miles of range in as little as 10 minutes.

Price and specification

Are you sitting down? Good, because the i5 M60 is what those in the business call ‘punchy’.

EVs traditionally aren’t cheap, nor are BMWs, especially those with an M badge. But the i5 M60 starts at £96,840.

Yes, you get four-zone climate control, adaptive LED headlights, a wealth of connected services and a Bowers and Wilkins sound system. But features that are a few hundred quid in a Kia – I’m thinking heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and powered bootlid – are bundled up in options packs costing nearly £4,000. Leather upholstery is £2,100, and the M Adaptive Suspension Pro is £4,000 extra. If you want the same spec as the car I drove be prepared to part with £117,345.


The whole point of the i5 M60 is, of course, that it’s not for the mainstream. It’s the fastest, flashiest version of an already fairly exclusive car. It might not have the hooligan edge of a fully-fledged M car but it is nonetheless a staggeringly rapid and sharp machine that can swallow up cross-country routes with aplomb. The fact it does so while offering the same luxurious refinement and comfort as any other 5 Series is all the more impressive.

BMW i5 M60 review

BMW i5 M60 xDrive

  • Price: £96,840 (£117,345 as tested)
  • Powertrain: dual-motor, all-wheel-drive
  • Battery: 81.2kWh usable
  • Power: 593bhp
  • Torque: 586lb ft
  • Top speed: 143mph
  • 0-62mph: 3.8 seconds
  • Range: 315 miles
  • Consumption: 3m/kWh
  • Charging: up to 205kW
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Matt Allan

Matt is Editor of EV Powered. He has worked in journalism for more than 20 years and been an automotive journalist for the last decade, covering every aspect of the industry, from new model reveals and reviews to consumer and driving advice. The former motoring editor of inews.co.uk, The Scotsman and National World, Matt has watched the EV landscape transform beyond recognition over the last 10 years and developed a passion for electric vehicles and what they mean for the future of transport - from the smallest city cars to the biggest battery-powered trucks. When he’s not driving or writing about electric cars, he’s figuring out how to convert his classic VW camper to electric power.