The current G30 BMW 5 Series is quite an old car now, having made its debut back in 2016. With five years out of the usual seven-year lifecycle under its belt, we can expect it to make way for a new generation, codenamed G60, sometime in 2023.
Even though we are still a ways away from the next 5 Series’ introduction, quite a bit of information has already surfaced. According to Autocar, the new model will be powered by a wide variety of power sources, including petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid and electric variants.
Built on a revised version of the G30’s Cluster Architecture (CLAR), the G60 will be one of the last all-new models to be built before BMW transitions to its third phase of electrification in 2025. Dubbed “Neue Klasse” to refer to the brand defining range of sports sedans introduced in the 1960s and 1970s, this new era will put even greater emphasis on electric powertrains, sustainability and new technologies.
This means that while the G60 will be continuously updated to keep pace with BMW’s evolving strategy, it is still expected to be offered with the familiar 2.0 litre four-cylinder and 3.0 litre straight-six turbocharged engines, plus an expanded range of plug-in hybrid models. For the first time, however, there will be an all-electric i5 variant, following in the footsteps of the iX3 and i4.
As per the i4, the i5 will likely be offered in rear- and all-wheel drive variants, with the lineup ranging from a 340 PS eDrive40 to a 543 PS M50 xDrive dual-motor model. The 80.7 kWh battery, shared with the i4, should also provide a range of up to 560 km on the WLTP cycle.
There are bigger changes further up the range. The M550i could ditch the now 13-year-old 4.4 litre N63 twin-turbo V8, which will probably fall foul of new Euro 7 emissions regulations and would be prohibitively expensive to reengineer. Instead, the M Performance model may receive a version of the 545e‘s 3.0 litre plug-in hybrid straight-six, boosted with up to 204 PS from its electric motor to produce around 500 PS.
Also set to be electrified is the M5, which is expected to match the next Mercedes-AMG E 63 in adopting plug-in hybrid power. Thankfully, unlike that car, the BMW won’t be downsizing to a four-cylinder mill, instead retaining the 4.4 litre S63 V8 from the current model.
Combined with the aforementioned 204 PS electric motor (the same setup tipped to be found in the forthcoming X8 M), this should result in a power output of around 760 PS. This would be enough to offset the weight penalty of a plug-in hybrid powertrain and enable the car to challenge the soon-to-be-revealed AMG GT 73 E Performance – the latter is set to deliver “at least” 800 PS.
Fully electric M models have been ruled out until at least 2025, possibly because current technologies are still too heavy for such a dynamic application. “Until then, we will have normally aspirated, turbo and ‘powered’ PHEV applications that deliver what we want to achieve,” said former development boss Klaus Fröhlich.
Still, Autocar has theorised an M version of the i5 with even more power than the M5. The publication said that the CLAR platform can be fitted with up to three electric motors – one at the front, two at the rear – and push out an astonishing 800 PS. Even with the extra weight, this would still be enough to out-drag the current 625 PS M5 Competition in a straight line.
The easily configurable electric motors would also provide the agility and responsiveness needed for an M car, enabling individual control of each wheel. “The control can be 100% faster than on an M4 today, so it is easy to have a more responsive car,” Frölich said. “If you want a drift mode that slips to five or 10 degrees – even 45 – then it is easy.”
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