Going through as many spy photos as we have, you develop a sense of what the manufacturer is doing in a given situation. We believe BMW was not testing the i5, spied here in top M60 trim, and in fact it was using the covered vehicle either for a photo or a commercial shoot.
We know this by the fact that the vehicle doesn’t have any of the camouflage that we’re used to seeing on prototypes undergoing testing. That type of camouflage often reveals design details, giving hints as to what the finished vehicle might look like. However, this type of car cover is just used when moving a vehicle from one shooting location to another so as not to reveal anything to lurking spy photographers.
This means work on the i5 is probably complete and we should expect a reveal very soon. And while it is expected to go on sale in 2023, we would definitely not be surprised to see it revealed before 2022 concludes, possibly at a major motor show like the one in Paris, which is set to take start on October 17 and which will play host to several important EV debuts.
What do we know about the BMW i5, the all-electric version of the next-gen 5 Series, codenamed G60? Well, it will share its underpinnings with the upcoming gas-burning 5 Series, so it will mirror the formula used when creating the i4 (which is an electric 4 Series Gran Coupe), and it won’t feature a bespoke EV platform.
Gallery: 2023 BMW i5 M60 spy photos
This means it will probably be quite heavy - the i4 in M50 guise weighs nearly 2.4 tons (around 5,200 pounds) - so a dual-motor i5 will probably exceed 2.5 tons (5,500 pounds), or maybe more. Our spies also note that the vehicle they spotted was most likely the top of the range i5 M60 model, which will get the same powertrain as the iX M60, so a dual-motor setup with over 600 horsepower and 811 pound feet (1,100 Nm) of torque.
In the larger iX with that powertrain, the vehicle is capable of sprinting to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under 4 seconds and it has a limited top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). It should provide similar performance in the i5, since the two will weigh about the same (the iX uses a bespoke EV platform and carbon-reinforced plastic in its construction, so it’s lighter than if BMW would have converted one of its ICE SUVs to run on electrons, and it is possibly around the same weight as the upcoming i5).
In the same set of photos, our spies also caught a camouflaged prototype of the i5, which is clearly designated M60 as per a visible window sticker. It also reveals more of the finished vehicle’s design, like its single-piece headlights, the closed off grille (which appears to have an M badge), as well as its entire body shape and proportions - we expect its design to be far less polarizing than that of the larger i7.
We also noticed how wide the rear flanks look compared to the rest of the vehicle. This almost looks like a proper M car, even though it will still technically be an M Performance variant. This means the wide haunches will be present on all 5 Series and i5 variants, giving them a sporty and planted look from the back.