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BMW i5 M60 xDrive review

4 months ago

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Writer:

Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder

Date:

2 November 2023

An electric M5? To be fair to BMW, it stops short of ever calling the i5 M60 xDrive one of those. But it has around 600bhp, a bucketload of torque, four-wheel drive and little M badges everywhere you look, just like a real M5, so perhaps it’s not such a daft question to ask.

Nevertheless, it’s a very simple question to answer – in fact, I can do it with two letters, and there are no prizes for guessing which ones.

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The i5 is the battery-electric version of the new 5 Series, petrol and hybrid versions of which will follow in due course, and the M60 xDrive is the daddy of them all. Certainly for now. We’re quite used to high-performance EVs producing outrageous amounts of power, so much so that this car’s 593bhp doesn’t seem particularly impressive. Less so when you learn it has 2380kg to shunt about the place. But in truth, it feels more like 800bhp.

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There’s a little paddle tucked behind the left-hand horizontal spar of the steering wheel – just like a downshift paddle, but there’s no counterpart opposite. It’s labelled Boost, and when you tug it, the screen before you turns red and a countdown from 10 commences. For that many seconds you have the full force of the M60’s dual motors at your disposal. Not that you’ll last that long – your neck will give in after two or three.

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So it has the straight-line speed of an M5 – more, in fact – and there’s stacks of grip, plus quite astonishing body control for something so heavy. But there’s none of the adjustability that makes the very best M5s so thrilling to drive. This is a far blunter instrument than something like a previous-generation M5 CS. Again, though, BMW doesn’t claim this is a true M5, and maybe the M Division has something up its sleeve…

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Ultimately, we shouldn’t be surprised the i5 M60 has its dynamic limitations. What’s probably not forgivable, or at least harder to overlook, is that the single motor i5 eDrive40 is actually more pleasant to drive. It doesn’t have this car’s crushing performance and if that’s what you want, look no further. But if you’d rather save a stack of money, still drive a very brisk car and enjoy a more satisfying handling balance, choose the i5 that nobody will mistake for an M5.

BMW i5 M60 xDrive
Powertrain: dual electric motors, 81.2kWh battery
Transmission: single-speed, 4WD
Power: 593bhp
Torque: 586lb ft
Weight: 2380kg
Power-to-weight: 249bhp/tonne
0-62mph: 3.8sec
Top speed: 143mph
Range: 284-315 miles (WLTP)
Price: £96,840
Ti rating 7/10

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