Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

WATCH: BMW i5 M60 a showcase for electric technology [video]

This thunderbolt of a family sedan sprints from 0 to 100km/h in just 3.78 seconds.

Based on the rationale that sedans are close to extinction and all-electric cars are too expensive and impractical, the BMW i5 M60 is doomed.

But like any success story that had to navigate through adversity, this superb car disproves all pre-conceived misconceptions around its body style and means of propulsion.

Watch BMW i5 M60 video

After spending a week in the BMW i5 M60 xDrive, The Citizen Motoring is absolutely smitten with it. It offers everything you can possibly need in a performance car while being a comfortable and technologically advanced and connected family car at the same time. And probably most importantly, it yet again proves that a proper sedan still beats any SUV in terms of offering a more dynamic ride any day of the week.

Apart from their lofty price tags and charging concerns, electric cars are seen as soulless. Some claim they are nothing more than a phone with wheels. Not the BMW i5 M60.

If you can get your head around the fact that there is no engine roar to match the thrill when you are having fun, an old school petrolhead swearing on his mother’s grave that electricity can’t match combustion will be pleasantly surprise.

ALSO READ: Sit back and let the new BMW 5 Series do the driving for you

Sheer driving pleasure

Acceleration, handling, balance and suspension is as good as you’d come to expect from a performance BMW 5 Series. This is made possible by intelligent lightweight construction, increased track widths at the front and rear, a 50/50 balanced ratio axle load distribution and increased body and chassis connection rigidity.

BMW i5 M60
The BMW i5 M60 is a proper electric sedan. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

The BMW i5 M60 is powered by a pair of electric motors attached to the rear axle hooked up to an 81.2kWh battery. This lethal combination sends 442kW of power and 795Nm of torque to all four wheels. If these numbers sound lekker already, it gets even better.

Pulling the paddle behind the steering wheel unleashes a neck-snapping 820Nm of torque for 10 seconds. And allowing you to plan just how many cars you’ll be able to overtake during these 10 seconds of bliss, is a timer in the head-up display counting down to zero.

ALSO READ: New 5 Series and M3 Touring headlining BMW’s 2024 model roll-out

Low running costs

And speaking of batteries, charging it at a 60kW DC charging station was a breeze. In little more than an hour the i5 charged from 12% to 90%.

While BMW claims that a range of 400km is possible, the real-world consumption number of 28kWh/100km we achieved will give you a range of just under 300km. And even if you charge at the expensive rate of R7.35/kWh at a DC charger from completely flat to 100%, the 300km will cost you just about R600.

BMW i5 M60
The state-of-the-art cabin is a tech feast. Picture: Jaco van der Merwe

Charging it overnight from an installed home charger will be less than half, making its running costs much more attractive compared to that of than an internal combustion engine performance car.

To see how the BMW i5 M60 stacks up against one of those, the previous generation F90 M5 in particular, we ran it against the clock at Gerotek. Here Road Test Editor Mark Jones managed to clock a 0 to 100km/h sprint time of 3.78 seconds, with the quarter mile coming up in 11.89 seconds.

ALSO READ: BMW M2 an old school adrenaline rush for purists

What about M5?

Back in 2018, the 4.4-litre V8 biturbo 441kW/750Nm F90 M5 took 3.31 seconds to reach 100km/h from a standstill, with the quarter mile coming up in 11.15 seconds. While the M5 does hold a slight advantage, it’s important to note that the i5 at 2 205kg is quite astonishingly 355kg heavier than the M5!

Even wilder is the fact the listed price for the outgoing M5 in Competition guise is R2 525 000, making the i5’s starting price of R2 190 000 suddenly seem like a bargain.

On the inside, the BMW i5 M60 features a superb 12.3-inch digital cluster and a 14.9-inch infotainment screen featuring BMW’s iDrive 8.5 operating system.

There is enough leg and headroom in the rear to keep adults comfortable on long trips, with a 490-litre boot to swallow their luggage.

Even if the superb BMW i5 M60 can’t lure petrolheads from exhaust fumes, it at least shows us that sheer driving pleasure is indeed possible in a greener future. And like all good trailblazers, it excels it breaking boundaries. And more importantly, it separates truth from myth.

BMW i5 M60 road test data

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