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Road tests

New BMW i5 Touring 2024 review: a truly impressive electric estate

The i5 Touring offers the same attractive qualities as its saloon counterpart, along with plenty of extra practicality

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

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Verdict

If you want a practical, fully-electric executive estate, then the BMW i5 is the one to have. Granted, that's because it’s also the only one you can have just now, but it'd take something very special to come close to this car’s all-round ability. Space, refinement, interior design and handling are all fantastic, and it’s backed up by decent efficiency and range figures. The eDrive40 is definitely the version to have; it’s much less expensive than the top spec M60 xDrive yet still more than quick enough.

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So far in 2024, 16 per cent of the new car market has been taken up by fully-electric vehicles. With not far shy of one in five cars sold taking their energy solely from a plug. It’s not surprising to find a wide range of EV body styles available; from superminis to luxury cars with a vast number of SUVs between, there’s plenty of choice. Given its popularity, there is one area that has been rather neglected though: the good old-fashioned estate car.

Regardless of your budget, the electric estate car pickings are slim. Stellantis recently doubled the choice on offer to buyers by releasing two in quick succession; the Peugeot e-308 and Vauxhall Astra Electric. The other two in question are the MG5 (great value but not a great boot) and at the higher end of the scale, the Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo. It’s undeniably striking, but it’s not the most practical of things; rear seat space is modest at best, and at 446 litres, the boot isn’t exactly wardrobe-friendly.

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BMW, however, looks set to address that, because its i5 mid-size exec is now available in BMW i5 Touring form, launching as part of the wider estate family for the new BMW 5 Series. And space is in very generous supply. Whether you choose a pure internal combustion engine or a fully electric powertrain, the 5 Series Touring offers a vast 570-litre boot. The opening is large, and the bumper is fairly shallow, which combined with a low load lip, makes it easy to haul even bulky items into the neat, square area.

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Fold the rear seat backs down - they don’t quite go fully flat - and that volume expands to 1,700 litres, too. One small gripe is that a previous signature of BMW’s Touring models, the opening tailgate glass, is not a feature here. It was a really useful thing to have in tight spots or if you had only a small item to drop into the boot. 

Interior space is just as impressive - especially if you’re also considering the Porsche Taycan. Thanks to generous knee room and very good head room, it’s easy for tall adults to sit in the back with absolutely no complaints, and the seats themselves are soft yet sculpted, so it’s a very comfortable place to be. 

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The same is true up front. BMW’s interior designers are on a roll at the moment, and the dashboard looks contemporary, beautifully finished and, thanks to the mix of the brilliantly sharp touchscreen, a physical clickwheel and shortcut buttons, it’s among the most intuitive digital interfaces we’ve used.

Mechanically, the i5 Touring is pretty much identical to the i5 saloon. A shade over five metres long, it’s the same length as its four-door counterpart, and the extra bodywork needed to extend that roofline has added 50 kilos in weight - not much in the grand scheme of things when the car itself weighs 2.2 tonnes. 

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We’re testing the i5 here in eDrive40 spec, but there is a more potent M60 xDrive - all 595bhp of it - available at the top of the range. For most, the lower model makes the most sense. The eDrive40 still offers up a very generous 335bhp and 430Nm of torque, all of which is sent to the rear wheels. That’s enough for a 6.1-second 0-62mph time (a single tenth of a second behind the saloon), so on the road it feels more than quick enough. A smooth power delivery and a long travel on the accelerator pedal makes it easy to manage those big numbers in everyday driving. 

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And this is a car that you’ll really appreciate driving in the daily grind, because as with the entire i5 range, refinement is superb. Below 30mph there’s little noise of any type reaching the cabin, and at a motorway cruise it’s barely any less hushed either. The ride is superbly controlled; it doesn’t filter out every single bump like a Mercedes EQE (not available as an estate) or the E-Class Estate (not available as an EV), but it keeps the car’s mass in check without throwing the occupants around over rough roads. 

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The flip side of this is that the i5 Touring is great to drive for a car of its size. The steering is light and quick, which initially gives a feeling of agility that you’re convinced will be too much for the chassis to handle. However, the rest of the car keeps pace, with low levels of body roll, decent grip, and that typical BMW feeling of a rear axle that gently pushes you around each corner. 

On a gentle long-distance drive in favourable temperatures for an EV, we were pushing an impressive 4.0 miles per kilowatt-hour, which translates into a real-world range of 325 miles from the 81.2kWh battery. While we’d say that’s a best-case scenario, more mixed driving threw up around 3.3 mi/kWh, which is still enough for 268 miles. Thanks to 205kW charging capability, it won’t take long before you’re back on the move after a top-up, either. 

Prices for the i5 Touring starts at £69,945, which is a £2,300 increase over the saloon alternative.

Model:BMW i5 Touring eDrive40
Price as tested:£76,355
Price from:£69,945
Powertrain:1x e-motor, 81.2kWh battery
Power/torque:335bhp/430Nm
Transmission:Single-speed, rear-wheel drive
0-62mph:6.1 seconds
Top speed:120mph
Range:329 miles
Charging:205kW (10-80% in 30 mins)
L/W/H:5,060/1,900/1,515mm
On sale:Now
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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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