BMW has revealed the Touring estate version of its new 5 Series executive car, which will be available in petrol and hybrid forms but launched initially as the pure-electric i5 Touring.
The big-booted version of the popular saloon promises an increase in practicality over its four-door sibling.
At the front, the 5 Series Touring looks identical to the four-door car, but the rear is dramatically different, with the sharply-styled tailgate, sloping rear window and subtle rear spoiler that hints at a double-bubble roof.
BMW claims the newcomer is designed to look much sportier than its predecessor, with sharper side windows and a “dynamically sloping” roofline.
Larger all round for more space
Compared with the old 5 Series Touring, the new model is slightly longer and wider, as well as being almost 2cm taller. BMW also claims the longest wheelbase in the class, with a 20mm increase in distance between thr front and rear wheels compared with the outgoing 5 Series Touring.
That means there’s more space inside, with increased shoulder room in the front, as well as more leg-, shoulder- and elbow room in the rear. The luggage compartment opening is wider than before, too, which should make loading easier.
But while access may be easier, boot space hasn’t grown much on paper. In fact, the new 5 Series Touring’s 570-litre boot is exactly the same size as that of the model it replaces. But that’s only half the story, because while the most capacious versions of the old 5 Series Touring had a 570-litre luggage bay, the plug-in hybrid 530e had just 430 litres of carrying capacity. In the new model, every version gets exactly the same amount of space.
In terms of design and technology, the new 5 Series Touring’s cabin is identical to that of the 5 Series saloon, with ‘vegan’ upholstery as standard and the Curved Display dominating the dashboard. That housing contains a digital instrument display and a touchscreen infotainment system, complete with BMW’s latest-generation software.
This means almost everything in the car can be operated using the screen, including climate control and drive modes. Hence, buttons on the dash are few and far between, leaving space for BMW’s Interaction Bar — a plastic panel with a “crystalline surface” that includes adaptive ambient lighting and touch-sensitive controls for the air vents and the hazard light activation switch.
Aside from that, the touchscreen is the main interface, but it works in conjunction with the iDrive rotary controller on the centre console, which helps drivers to navigate the screens. The system also includes a voice assistant, allowing occupants of the vehicle to input commands without touching a button.
In keeping with the high-tech theme, the screen is also expected to be offered with Air Console gaming capability, allowing occupants of the vehicle to use their phones as controllers and the touchscreen as a monitor, permitting head-to-head or solo gameplay while the car is stationary.
Launched with electric power
That technology is expected to be particularly popular with buyers of the electric i5 Touring, with which BMW will launch the new model. As with the i5 saloon, buyers will get a choice of two pure-electric powertrains, both of which will be sold alongside petrol and hybrid options. Diesel models will be produced by BMW in Germany but they won’t be offered here in the UK.
Those who choose the electric i5 models will get the basic eDrive40 as standard, providing 335bhp from a rear-mounted electric motor powered by a battery with 81.2kWh of usable capacity.
That rear-wheel-drive model will manage a range of between 300 and 348 miles on the official economy test — only a minor reduction on the 312-357 miles promised by the equivalent saloon — while the 0-62mph time of 6.1 seconds is only a tenth slower than that of the four-door version.
Buyers wanting more performance can opt for the M60 xDrive Touring, which uses two electric motors to provide 593bhp and all-wheel drive. That means 0-62mph takes just 3.9 seconds, but with the same battery on board the official range falls to between 277 and 314 miles.
Both versions of the i5 will be able to accept charge at up to 205kW from a suitably powerful DC charger, allowing the eDrive40 to gain 93 miles of official range in just 10 minutes at maximum charging speed.
Plug-in hybrids and petrol power to follow
Those two i5 models will be joined in the 5 Series range by the 530e plug-in hybrid, slated for arrival in the summer.
Combining a four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor that’s integrated into the eight-speed automatic gearbox, the car offers 295bhp. And thanks to new battery technology, the car is expected to manage between 52 and 60 miles on electrical power alone.
Purely petrol-powered versions of the 5 Series Touring are expected to arrive at a later date, with a high-performance M model on the cards following the reveal of the M3 Touring in 2022.
At first, however, only the i5 Touring models will be available, with prices starting at £69,040 for the eDrive40 Sport. The more upmarket eDrive40 M Sport and M Sport Pro models will come in at £75,450 and £78,450, respectively, with the M60 xDrive Touring priced at £99,090.
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