Since the launch of the 5-series in 1972, the mid-size executive saloon has become a bit of an institution for BMW. Even today, in a world dominated by SUV sales, the 5-series remains BMW’s second best-selling model ever, behind the 3-series.

Arriving in 2024, the BMW 5-series has entered into its 8th generation and gained an electrified variant – the BMW i5. The spec-sheet of the i5 M60 appears promising, with plentiful performance, tonnes of tech, and a lavish interior.

So, does combining the 5-series recipe, with an electrified powertrain create the ultimate driving machine? Or, does electrification make the 5-series lose its identity?

What We Like and Dislike About The 2024 BMW i5 M60

What we likeWhat we don’t like
Some of the best tech in the industry
Interior quality
Build quality
Brilliant Bowers & Wilkins stereo
Ride quality not quite of the standard we’d expect
Polarising front grille
Experience modes, instead of Drive modes. 

What’s In the 2024 BMW i5 M60 Range?

The BMW i5 M60 is the only fully-electric 5 series offered in New Zealand. Overseas, the BMW i5 has different specs, but New Zealand only gets the M60 – which also happens to be the highest-spec i5 of them all. 

Although we’ve got one spec to choose from, New Zealand still gets to choose whether to have their i5 M60 as a saloon or a touring (station wagon).

ModelStarting price
BMW i5 M60$201,600
BMW i5 M60 Touring$206,600

2024 BMW i5 M60 Standard Equipment Highlights

Some highlights of the i5 M60’s extensive equipment list include:

  • 12.3’’ LED instrument cluster
  • 14.9’’ LED infotainment
  • 17-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system, with 655 Watt amplifier.
  • Adaptive M Suspension
  • Ambient Interior Lighting
  • BMW Iconic sounds
  • BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant with Vehicle apps
  • Boost Paddle
  • Comfort access system
  • Connected Package Professional*
    • BMW Natural Interaction
    • Connected Drive eDrive Services
    • Interior Camera, includes video anti-theft recording
    • Real-Time Traffic Information
  • Driving Assistant Professional*
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Change Warning
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Rear Crossing-Traffic warning
  • Rear Collision Prevention
  • Head-Up Display
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Illuminated kidney grille surround
  • Intelligent Emergency Call
  • M Rear Spoiler
  • M Sport drivetrain and chassis tuning
  • Panorama Glass Sunroof
  • Parking Assistant Professional
  • Sports Seats
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Wireless Smartphone charging

The M-Sport Plus Package adds (+$4,700)

  • 21’’ Alloys – BMW Individual aerodynamic bi-colour Jet Black (954)
  • M Carbon exterior package
  • M Carbon Exterior Mirror Caps
  • M Carbon Rear Spoiler
  • M Lights Shadowline
  • M Seatbelts
  • M Sport Pro Package
  • M High gloss Shadowline with extended contents
  • Gloss Black Radiator Grille frame
  • Gloss Black Radiator Grille struts
  • Rear tail lights trim strip
  • M Red Brake Calipers

The Comfort package adds (+$2,700)

  • Comfort seats (front)
  • Roller sun blinds for rear windows
  • Rear heated seats
  • Steering wheel heating 

There are 13 standard colours available for the BMW i5 M60. There’s also BMW Individual colour – a paint-to-sample colour programme – which gives you a huge list of potential options, if you’re prepared to shell out for it. Of the standard colours, there is:

  • Mineral White
  • Alpine White
  • Black Sapphire
  • M Carbon Black
  • M Brooklyn Grey (light grey)
  • Sophisto Grey (brown grey)
  • Oxide Grey (gold grey)
  • Fire Red
  • Cape York Green
  • Phytonic Blue
  • BMW Individual Tanzanite Blue (+$2,400)
  • BMW Individual Frozen Grey (silver) (+$5,000)
  • BMW Individual Frozen Deep Grey (+$5,000)

There’s 3 choices of upholstery trims, available at no additional cost:

  • Black/Atlas Grey
  • Copper Brown/Atlas Grey
  • Silverstone/Atlas Grey

There are 4 choices of alloys, available at no additional cost:

  • 20’’ Alloys – M aerodynamic – Jet Black (940)
  • 20’’ Alloys – M light alloy – star spoke (938)
  • 20’’ Alloys – M aerodynamic – Black grey (939)
  • 21’’ Alloys – BMW Individual aerodynamic bi-colour Jet Black (954)

For more information on BMW i5 M60, check out the BMW New Zealand website.

How Does The 2024 BMW i5 M60 Compare To Its Competition?

We live in an SUV world, meaning choices for high-performance electric saloons in New Zealand are thin. Although for the few choices you do have, many of them are good. 

Make/ModelBattery capacity
Range (WLTP)Boot space (litres)Price (excl CCP)
Porsche Taycan (base)104.9320/4204.8444366$215,000
Mercedes-AMG EQE 5390.5460/9503.5500430$214,499
Audi E-Tron GT Quattro83.7350/6304.1487491$207,590
BMW i5 M6084422/8203.8445 – 516490$196,900

First Impressions Of The 2024 BMW i5 M60

There’s a handful of new BMWs in their line-up, which could be described as aesthetically challenged. I needn’t say which models, because several of you will already know.

By comparison, the i5 sits on the more conservative end of the design spectrum. I’ll admit, the front nose and apron are a little messy, but the rest is quite pleasing to the eye. In particular, the rear three-quarters is sharp and muscular, reinforced by the block-style rear LED lights and lower diffuser. It also conceals its mass relatively well, because the i5 is virtually the same size as a previous-gen 7-series.

I also ought to give BMW credit for their good alloy design, as opposed to opting for stupid aero covers like plenty of others. 

So, if you can get past the nose, the i5 does present itself well in the flesh. Yes, I know the internet will disagree, but BMW does have a habit of proving us wrong in the long term. Remember the Chris Bangle era? It was polarising at the time, but many of those designs improved substantially with age. Maybe BMW is ahead of the curve again? Time will tell. 

What’s The Interior Like In The 2024 BMW i5 M60?

While the exterior styling of modern BMW’s are a mixed bag, BMW still gets their interiors spot-on.

Inside, the i5 is no different. Climbing in, you’re greeted with a cabin laden with high-quality materials and a Germanic fit and finish, which is no better demonstrated than through the satisfying acoustic clunk when you close the door.

In the front, you’re perched in an ultra-plush seat, upholstered with multiple-tone (vegan) leathers and a seemingly infinite number of adjustable settings. Affixed to the dash is a massive curved LED display, combining a 14.9’’ infotainment and a 12.3’’ instrument cluster.

The dashboard, along with the doors, are dressed in more leather, carbon fibre inlays (which can be substituted for wood), inlays for LED lighting and polished metal grilles to showcase the ultra-crisp Bowers and Wilkins sound system – more on this later. 

Despite the darker interior hues, the cabin doesn’t feel cramped inside. This is owed to the i5’s sheer dimensions and mid-level belt line, which provides the i5 with a decent glasshouse, and therefore good external visibility. The large panoramic sunroof also introduces plenty of light.  

The centre console is BMW’s latest generation design, which uses glass and hollow haptic controls. It provides a clean aesthetic, but those haptic controls have an awkward dexterity to them. The whole plastic panel moves when you touch them, which feels a bit naff.

Short of this, and some cheaper hidden plastics (such as those surrounding the window switches), the i5’s cabin delivers a proper luxury car experience. It mightn’t be a $200,000 dollar luxury car experience – but when you consider what you’re getting all together, you shouldn’t feel short-changed. And, what you are getting all together, is a complete technobus.

Returning to that massive curved LED display, the i5’s infotainment utilises BMW’s latest version of iDrive, which is iDrive 8.5. BMW’s early start with infotainment systems in 2001 (when the first version of iDrive launched) has paid it serious dividends. Through years of development and user data collection, BMW has arguably developed iDrive into one of the best infotainment systems available in the industry.  

iDrive 8 is fast, responsive and has a good tile-based UI. I say good, but not great, because iDrive 8 has so many features packed in that it can take a while to navigate through it all. It’s a similar experience to a smartphone, where the owner has downloaded a few too many apps from the app store.  

Fortunately, there are multiple ways of navigating the infotainment, which is either via the touchscreen, using the iDrive control wheel (underrated, in my view) or using voice command.

Of course, it doesn’t come without a few gimmicks. Gesture control is the standout, where you can turn up the audio volume, by spiralling your finger in front of the screen.

The infotainment is paired with a 17-speaker, 655W Bowers and Wilkins audio system, which is superb. It’s an option you’ll definitely want to tick, as it’s easily one of the best sound systems I’ve experienced in any vehicle.

The instrument screen offers plenty of configurable screens and displays. Among the options is an augmented reality (AR View) display, which superimposes navigation instructions onto a forward-facing camera. Even the heads-up display is configurable – told ya this is a technobus.  

Even though all the technology is mostly experienced from the front seats, the i5 still delivers a pleasant experience for those in the rear. There’s plenty of space to spread out (and up, for you taller folk), along with plenty of amenities so you needn’t feel like you’re missing out.

There are 4-USB-C ports, a trick touch-screen climate control panel, and integrated sunshades in the side windows and for the rear window too (the driver can still see fine). There are also plugs in the back of front seats, for which BMW will sell compatible accessories, such as tablet holders and coat hangers – among others.

The boot is also a decent volume at 490 litres with the rear seats in place, meaning there’s plenty of room for suitcases, golf bags, or other strictly non-incriminating cargo (it’s flour, I swear).

What’s The 2024 BMW i5 M60 Like To Drive?

Between the BMW 5-series, the Mercedes E-Class and the Audi A6, the BMW was traditionally for the person who not only wanted to commute home in comfort but occasionally took the off-ramp, to take the longer, windier route home.  

The 5-series is (or was) the driver’s choice of the three, particularly so in higher-spec models. On paper, the i5 M60 seems to fit the brief of being the driver’s choice, but it is quite a different formula from its predecessors.  

So, what are the attributes of the i5 M60, exactly?

For starters, it’s a blimin rocketship. 

Between two electric motors, the i5 M60 outputs 442kW of power and 820Nm of torque – only 18kW shy, but with 70NM more than the generation-gone BMW M5. These performance figures will shift the i5’s 2,380 kg frame from 0-100kph in a mighty quick 3.8 seconds, pushing onto a top speed of 231kph. 

The i5 M60 certainly isn’t wanting for performance, that’s for sure.

If the straight-line performance doesn’t convince you, the engineering underneath the i5 M60 will also have you believe it was built by rocket scientists.

The i5’s electric motors are electro-synchronous, and so do not use permanent magnets. The advantages of this approach include the ability to control the motor with a metered supply of electrical energy, allowing the i5 to mitigate wheel slip using the motor itself, instead of fully relying on the i5’s ABS or stability control. The motors also use fewer rare-earth metals, which is another plus for the environment. 

The i5’s 84kWh battery (81.2kWh usable) is a unit co-developed between BMW and battery manufacturer ACTL. It integrates with an older 400V architecture – which is on par with everything else in the BMW electric line-up.

BMW claims a WLTP driving range of between 445 – 516kms from a full charge, with an energy consumption rate of between 19.6 – 20.4kWh per 100kms. We weren’t too far from these figures during our test, we achieved an overall energy consumption figure of 21.4kWh per 100kms. An 80% charge would deliver approximately 380kms of range, and a projected full charge at approximately 435kms. 

The i5 M60 is far from the most energy-efficient EV out there, but I suppose that’s the price of performance and luxury. However, a car with GT roots could benefit from having a slightly longer real-world range.

So, the i5 M60 is quick, technical, and luxurious – hardly surprising, really. But, how does it drive? Surely that M60 badge has got to mean something?

Let’s manage expectations from the start, the i5 M60 doesn’t have the same athleticism as an M5. Although don’t mistake it for being a slouch, because the M60 is a capable corner clinger. Its adaptive dampers, litany of software, and 4-wheel steering all assist the M60 in maintaining its composure on faster sections of the road. 

Punching the throttle also produces an acceleration ‘noise’ – a feature known as BMW’s iconic sounds. That ‘noise’ was actually produced by Hans Zimmer, or the guy who composed the soundtrack for Interstellar, Inception and Gladiator. It’s one of those features you expect you’d hate, but I actually rather enjoyed it – probably because BMW has the sense to do it well. 

Overall, the i5 M60’s capabilities are impressive, particularly for its size and weight. Otherwise, the whole handling experience feels fairly inert. The chassis doesn’t feel overly enthusiastic about fast corners (on account of its weight), and the steering, while direct, feels pretty dead feedback-wise.

For these reasons, the i5 M60 is much happier cruising at 7/10ths, as opposed to testing the edge of its abilities, and for this reason, it’s better to consider the i5 M60 as an electric 550i as opposed to an M5. More GT and less muscle, in other words. 

As a GT, out on the open road, the i5 M60 does a mostly excellent job. Wafts of power, decent range, a quiet and comfortable interior, along with an absolutely banging sound system – what’s not to like?

Well, you know how I said “mostly”? The i5 M60’s ride quality is generally good, but not quite as great as I was anticipating. Its adaptive dampers do change their personality, in comfort settings, but they’re still somewhat underdamped. This can make the ride a bit bumpy over poorer-quality surfaces.

I had hoped to find on the i5’s options list the dual-axle air suspension used in the BMW iX, which has exceptional ride quality – easily one of the best I’ve experienced in a modern car.  However, it’s nowhere to be found in New Zealand spec cars. It’s a tad disappointing, really.

So, the i5 M60 may leave a bit on the table dynamically, but it does go all-out on technology – which includes the driver’s assistance technology. Beginning with the essentials, the i5’s adaptive cruise control is excellent. It even incorporates a lane-changing feature, which also functions well (as long as you’re holding the steering wheel).

The lane keep assistance is also very good. it’s perhaps half a step behind the equivalent system in a Mercedes or a Tesla, but it’s still one of the best available.

Between both systems, the aspect which impressed me the most was how they seemed to work, regardless of the driving conditions. I was returning home late one evening in stormy conditions – torrential rain, gale-force winds and surface water in places. I’ve been in plenty of vehicles where these systems would have given up under these conditions, yet they worked flawlessly in the i5 – that’s German engineering for you. 

Like other modern BMWs, the i5 also features an array of cameras and BMW’s parking assistance technology – which BMW calls Park Assistant Professional. Notably, the i5 has a “reversing assistant”, which stores a ‘memory’ of how you parked the car. When activated, that assistant will replay your actions backwards (and avoid obstacles), to drive you out of the parking spot. It’s surprisingly effective… most of the time.

Another piece of tech which I’m less keen on is BMW’s new approach to its drive modes. Instead of conventional modes, such as Comfort, Sport, etc, BMW has developed experience modes. Among the modes are Personal, Sport, Efficient, Expressive, Relax, and Digital Art.

These modes combine different interior settings and drivetrain settings. For example, Relax mode will change the interior lighting to softer colours, soften the suspension, steering and throttle, and close the roof and rear window blinds.  

I suspect most owners won’t use many of these modes outside of Personal unless they’re showing off? And yes, I still don’t know what the Digital Art mode is meant to be (aside from a load of pretentious guff). Anyway, I think I prefer conventional drive modes. 

2024 BMW i5 M60 – Specifications

Vehicle Type4-door large saloon EV
Starting Price$196,900
Price as Tested$206,500
Engine84kWh battery (81.2kWh useable) with electro-synchronous dual electric motors
Power, Torque (kW/Nm)422/820 (Peak)
TransmissionSingle speed fixed gear
Spare WheelTyre repair kit
Kerb Weight (Kg)2,380
Length x Width x Height (mm)5,060 x 1,900 x 1,505
Boot space/Cargo capacity (Litres)490
Energy economy (kWh/100km)Advertised Spec – Combined – 19.6 – 20.4
Real-World Test – Combined – 21.6

Low Usage: 6-10 / Medium Usage 11-19 / High Usage 19+
Towing capacity
(Kg, unbraked/braked)
Turning circle (metres)11.9

Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
Warranty3-year free servicing
5-year/100,000km new vehicle warranty
5-year roadside assist
8-year/160,000Km battery warranty
Safety informationANCAP Rating – 5 stars – 5 Stars – QEW578

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Alistair Weekes
A millennial who prefers driving cars to having avocado on toast.
2024-bmw-i5-m60-electric-car-reviewThe BMW i5 M60 is many things. It’s massive, high-tech, luxurious, uber-expensive and an absolute rocketship of an executive saloon. <br> <br> It's a technically brilliant vehicle, with some of the best interior technology available on the market. Beyond the technology, the i5 M60 is an excellent open-road tourer. It’s quiet, the interior is comfortable and well-built, the Bowers & Wilkins stereo is superb, and it goes like the clappers when you put your foot down. <br><br> That said, the M60’s performance and dynamics are more on par with the BMW 550i, as opposed to the supercar-scaring BMW M5. Of course, the more laid-back approach is not a detraction for the i5 M60. Instead, it’s better suited to its executive car character. <br><br> Of course, even the technically brilliant have their flaws. In particular, the i5 M60’s ride quality could be better, as could its energy efficiency. Because of the latter, its real-world driving range is on the lower end of 400kms, which isn’t exactly continent-crossing. <br><br> Although, the bigger flaw is its price. Sure, the i5 M60 is ‘cheap’ amongst rivals, but the whole segment is rather expensive for what it's offering. <br><br> Although if you have the cash to burn, the i5 M60 makes for an excellent luxury car. As a sports saloon, though? Perhaps not. So maybe the meaning of “ultimate driving machine” has changed for 2024. Yet, however you look at it – and preferably not from the front end – the i5 M60 is a properly impressive machine.


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