Fleet Review: BMW i5 Electric Sedan

A three-quarter of a white sedan with a modern building in the background.

The latest version of the 5 Series has grown in every dimension from the previous model years. 

The all-electric BMW i5 is a “choose your adventure” machine. Is it a tech-laden spaceship or a premium family driver? Is it a performance vehicle or a business sedan with executive presence? Check all four boxes.

At the same time, the i5 is an electric extension of the iconic 5 Series — same platform, same athletic skin, new guts. For fleet drivers familiar with the gas version, which has been on selector lists since the luxury brand entered the North American fleet market in 2011, the i5 will help ease the transition to electric.

BMW i5 Dimensions, Performance, Battery & Charging

The i5 is a rear-wheel-drive, midsize luxury electric sedan that, on BMW’s electric spectrum, slots between the i4 and i7 models. Now in its eighth generation, the 5 Series grew in length, width, height, and wheelbase, with the biggest benefactor being added head and leg room in the rear seats. 

The interior volumes of the gas and electric versions are nearly identical, though the ICE models have 18.4 cu. ft. of cargo volume compared to 17.3 cu. ft. for the i5 — which is still pretty good for the segment.

The heart of the i5 is its rear-mounted 81.2-kWh battery, which is good for a top range of 295 miles in the single-motor eDrive40. That compares to the average top range of electric luxury sedans, which is about 300 miles.

My test model had larger 20-inch wheels, which knocked the range down to 278 miles. (Yes, wheel size matters when spec’ing EVs for range.) In my month-long test I averaged 3.2 miles per kWh without “hypermiling,” which delivered a real-world range of 270 miles.

The BMW i5 charger has a maximum AC charging rate of 11 kW. That will charge the battery from 0% to 100% on AC in about 8.25 hours, allowing fleet drivers to plug in at night and access the car’s full range by the morning.

The i5 accommodates a top speed of 205 kW when DC fast charging, which can juice the i5 from 10% to 80% in about 30 minutes.

The i5 eDrive40 generates 335 hp and 295 lb.-ft of torque. The 0-60 time for the single-motor model is 5.7 seconds, which is on the slow end of the luxury car speed spectrum.

From a pure cost perspective, trade speed for range and a lower price — and the peace of mind that your drivers won’t feel the need to challenge a Tesla Model X Plaid on the highway. For power on the fly, drivers can pull the boost paddle by the steering wheel to maximize torque for up to 10 seconds.

If you’re at least curious about the i5 M60’s performance, it does 0 to 60 in the three-second range. However, the range is dampened to about 240 miles, and you’ll spend an extra $18,000 for the privilege.

A side-view of a white sedan with a modern building in the background.

The i5 is a rear-wheel-drive, midsize luxury electric sedan that slots between the i4 and i7 models.

BMW i5 Interior & Controls

Settling behind the wheel evokes a techy spaceship vibe compared to BMW’s luxury competitors, which set a more subdued interior tone.

Drivers will immediately notice the interior light show, courtesy of the thin “interaction bar” of ambient lighting that runs the length of the front interior and is also found in the doors.

The car’s digital world is accessed through the now-famous BMW Curved Display, which starts behind the steering wheel and extends across the dashboard to the passenger side.

System functions such as audio, navigation, ambient temperature, and numerous apps (Bundesliga, anyone?) can be accessed by touching the 14.9-inch main screen, using the iDrive controller wheel in the center stack or steering wheel controls, or via voice.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

BMW’s voice-activated controls are managed by the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. It’s not yet AI, but you can get deep with questions such as “defrost windshield,” “open the rear window halfway,” “find parking,” and “search for a café along the route.”

Figuring out the controls the first time can be intimidating, partly because they’re endlessly configurable, from the ambient lighting to the synthetic acceleration soundtrack. Don’t need the dubious “uneven road surface” in the head-up display? Get rid of it.

Once trained, drivers can create and wrap themselves in their own environment.

BMW i5 Pricing & Economics

The i5 starts at $66,800 MSRP, while gas-powered 503i models start at $57,900. Some of that $8,900 differential can be made up in operating cost savings for the i5.

My test model costs $75,945, which includes the Driving Assistance Pro Package ($2,000), the Premium Package ($2,350), and the M Sport Package ($3,000).

Fleet buyers could manage without any of the packages. Driving Assistance adds BMW’s Active Driving Assistant Pro, a suite of semi-autonomous driving aids. The system can also perform automatic lane changes that can be initiated by looking in the side mirror (!).

The Premium Package adds a heated steering wheel, interior camera, LED lights with cornering ability, and Parking Assistant Plus.

Fleets should avoid the M Sport Package, which mostly includes appearance upgrades. The M Sport package lowers ground clearance to 5.4 inches, which isn’t much more than the supercars that need to baby a speed bump.

The EPA calculates a total electricity expense of $750 annually for the i5 when driven 15,000 miles. Compared to a gas expense of $2,150 to $2,300 for the ICE version, the i5 will conserve up to $1,500 annually.

Three lube, oil, and filter changes per year will run about $450 total on a 5 Series. (“I like taking time out of my day for oil changes,” said no one, ever.)

On paper, the i5 could return $6,000 of that $8,900 gap compared to the gas version after a 36-month lease. Depreciation on any EV is still the biggest unknown.

Interior of BMW i5 electric sedan.

The centerpiece of the BMW i5’s interior is the Curved Display. 

BMW i5 Final Thoughts for Fleets

While the 5 Series traditionally balances sport and luxury at the midsize luxury sedan level, the model line now electrifies that equation.

While much attention in the EV space has gone to crossovers — like the gas-powered market overall — the i5 sits proudly in the sedan category. It’s a good choice as an award vehicle and for executive fleets and should appeal to a younger management-level demographic.

Corporate fleets are pushing ahead to satisfy their self-imposed ESG mandates and sustainability goals despite the present disruption in the EV market. The i5 offers an easy transition in that regard.

Many Flavors of BMW 5 Series for 2025-MY

  • 530i:ICE engine, 4-cylinder, $57,900 base MSRP
  • 530i xDrive:  ICE engine, 4-cylinder, AWD, $60,200
  • 540i xDrive:  ICE engine, 6-cylinder, AWD, $71,095
  • M5:  ICE engine, 8-cylinder, PHEV, $119,500
  • i5:  eDrive40 electric, single motor, $66,800
  • i5:  M60 xDrive, electric, dual motor, $84,100
  • i5 xDrive40:  electric, single motor AWD (new for 2025)
  • 550 e xDrive:  PHEV (new for 2025)

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