BMW has recently unveiled a special version of its 5 Series Sedan and the all-electric BMW i5 for the Chinese market. The new models are designed to cater to the preferences and needs of Chinese customers, who value spaciousness, luxury, and technology in their cars. The BMW i5 is also part of the German carmaker's ambitious plan to electrify its entire portfolio and compete with Tesla in the world's largest EV market.
What makes the BMW i5 different from other 5 Series models?
The BMW i5 electric sedan is based on the same platform as the regular 5 Series but has some distinctive features that set it apart. The most obvious one is the powertrain: the i5 is powered by a battery-electric drivetrain that delivers up to 536 hp and 795 Nm of torque. The battery capacity is not disclosed, but BMW claims that the i5 can travel up to 600 km on a single charge, according to the WLTP cycle.
The BMW i5 also has a different design language than its combustion-engine siblings. The front fascia features a closed-off kidney grille outlined in gold accents, slim LED headlights, and a sculpted bumper. The side profile is sleek and aerodynamic, with flush door handles and a distinctive character line that runs along the lower part of the doors. The rear end is dominated by a full-width LED light bar connecting the taillights and a diffuser integrating the charging port.
The interior of the BMW i5 is also unique, with a minimalist and futuristic dashboard that houses the BMW Curved Display. This consists of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system that are seamlessly integrated into one curved screen. The i5 also comes with a host of advanced features, such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, head-up display, gesture control, voice assistant, ambient lighting, and a Bowers & Wilkins sound system.
How does the BMW i5 cater to the Chinese market?
The BMW i5 is not only an electric sedan but also a long-wheelbase sedan. This means that it has an extended wheelbase of 3,125 mm, which is 130 mm longer than the standard-wheelbase model and identical to the current 7 Series and BMW i7. The longer wheelbase translates into more legroom and comfort for the rear passengers, who are often chauffeured in China.
The rear seats also get some exclusive features, such as embossed headrests with attached pillows, four-zone automatic climate control, and an illuminated number '5' in the area of the Hofmeister kink on the C-pillar. The number lights up in white on variants with a combustion engine, while it pulsates in blue on the i5 when charging.
But the most impressive feature for the rear passengers is the BMW Theatre Screen, which is adopted directly from the 7 Series. This is a 31.3-inch widescreen display with 8K resolution and 5G connectivity that allows rear passengers to enjoy a high-quality video streaming experience during travel. The screen can also be used for navigation, entertainment, productivity, and gaming purposes.
What are BMW's plans for the electric vehicle market?
The BMW i5 electric sedan is part of BMW's strategy to electrify its entire portfolio by 2030. The company aims to have at least 50% of its global sales come from fully electric vehicles by then and to offer at least one electric option for every model series. The i5 joins other electric models such as the BMW i3, BMW i4, BMW iX, and BMW iX3.
The company also plans to expand its production capacity and battery supply chain to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles. The i5 will be produced at the Dadong plant operated in Shenyang by the joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive, along with other 5 Series models. The plant will also produce high-voltage batteries for the i5 using locally sourced materials.
BMW also faces stiff competition from Tesla, which has been dominating the Chinese EV market with its Model 3 and Model Y . Tesla has also established a Gigafactory in Shanghai, where it produces its vehicles for local and export markets. To challenge Tesla's leadership, BMW will have to offer Chinese customers more attractive products, prices, and services.
When will the BMW i5 be available in China?
The BMW i5 will be launched in China in early 2024, along with other versions of the BMW 5 Series Sedan. The pricing and specifications will be announced closer to the launch date. There is no word yet on whether the BMW i5 will be available in other markets outside China.
The BMW i5 electric sedan is an exciting addition to BMW's electric vehicle portfolio, as it combines performance, luxury, and technology in a spacious and elegant sedan. The i5 also shows how BMW is adapting to the preferences and needs of the Chinese market, which is crucial for its success in the EV segment. The BMW i5 will likely attract a lot of attention and interest from Chinese customers, who are increasingly opting for electric vehicles over conventional ones.
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