The BMW 5 Series has been their flagship model since it's inception way back in 1972. It’s continuous innovation and drivability have made it the car to beat in the executive saloon standings, and also led it to be one of the best selling cars in it’s class. But the 5 Series could have some competition on the horizon, and it’s coming from the BMW i division. At the recent IAA Frankfurt Motor Show BMW unveiled a concept car that is designed to show where the i brand is heading.
Called the i Vision Dynamics Concept, it’s a radically styled all electric 4-door saloon capable of 0-62 in 4 seconds and a range of 373 miles. The car is expected to be an early concept for the BMW i5, which will enter into the market between the BMW i3 and i8 in 2020. BMW’s i division is a reaction to the growing pressures to increase the amount of electrified cars in production with BMW stating in early August: “We are driving the transition as hard and as fast as possible and have launched more electrified vehicles than any of our established competitors.” BMW expect their sales of their electrified vehicles to exceed 100,000 for the first time this year.
BMW’s increased push towards electric and hybrid vehicles could spell trouble for the faithful 5 Series which after its refresh in February this year saw the introduction only one hybrid variant, the 530e iPerformance, a plug in hybrid version of the new G30 5 Series. The i Vision Dynamics concept already looks much more futuristic than the rather mundane 5 Series, and if the previous i division concept cars are to be believed the final production version of the i5 will look strikingly similar.
Given the extreme measures some governments are taking to stop the sale of non hybrid vehicles, buyers of cars may be forced to make a decision, buy the exciting futuristic looking electric i5 or stick with the mundane humdrum 5 Series hybrid. BMW’s introduction of hybrid models will likely increase between now and when the i5 hits the streets, but I fear the 5 Series will be overshadowed by its much more exciting younger sibling.
Given the lifecycle of the 5 Series is 6-8 years the current G30 generation of 5 Series will be the car to compete against the i5. Whilst it is a spectacular machine and leads its class, without the introduction of full electric and hybrid options the 5 Series may appear old fashioned and out of touch and the new BMW driver is likely to go for the much fresher exciting i5.
Maybe this is ok though, there is no progress with out change. The BMW 5 Series E12 replaced the much-loved New Class saloon cars and changed the game forever. Change is good for the industry it forces competition between manufacturers, its almost certain that without Tesla pushing the electric car forward we wouldn’t have seen the i3 or i8 let alone the i5. BMW have been forced to make a change and if that means the death of the 5 Series, then I guess we’ll have to find a way to accept that.