The eighth-generation "G60" BMW 5 Series is here, and it brings with it more power, a hands-free driving assistant, BMW's newest generation of iDrive, and—for the first time—an electric variant.

The all-electric i5 will be offered in rear-wheel-drive eDrive40 and all-wheel-drive M60 xDrive variations. The former starts at $67,795 and makes 335 hp with its rear-mounted electric drive unit. Torque is rated at 295 lb-ft, but a "Sport Boost" function can provide brief spurts of up to 317 lb-ft. Zero to 60 takes 5.7 seconds, and using launch control also accesses that temporary reserve of extra torque. Top speed is limited to 120 mph.

For more power, you'll have to step up to the i5 M60 xDrive, now the range topper of the 5 series lineup. It pairs that 335-hp rear motor with a 257-hp motor on the front axle. Total torque output rises to 549 lb-ft, with a temporary boost function bringing 605 lb-ft to bear. It'll hit 60 in 3.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 143 mph on summer tires, or 130 mph on all-season rubber.

The conventional 5 Series isn't gone, though. Like the previous model, the 5 series offers a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a 3.0-liter straight-six. The V-8, however, is no more. We'll have to see if it returns when the next-generation M5 is unveiled. For now, internal-combustion 5-series customers get 255hp and 295 lb-ft (up 7 hp and 38 lb-ft) from the carryover four-cylinder. The next-gen straight six sees bigger improvements, thanks to a new VANOS variable valve timing and lift system that tweaks the cam phasing electronically, rather than mechanically. It now makes 375 hp and 385 lb-ft of torque, up 40 hp and 52 lb-ft of torque from last year's 54oi. The mild hybrid system allows a temporary torque boost up to 398 lb-ft.

The 'six is offered exclusively in all-wheel-drive guise, allowing it to sprint to 60 in 4.5 seconds. The rear-wheel drive 530i takes 5.9 seconds to do the deed, but upgrading to the all-wheel-drive version notches that figure down to 5.8 seconds.

All 5 Series come with BMW's latest operating system, version 8.5. It has a persistent map view and buttons for the home menu, apps, navigation, media, communication, and Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The 5 Series also gets BMW's newest version of Highway Assistant, which now functions hands-free, a la GM Super Cruise. Driver attention is still monitored using eye-tracking, which enables a weird feature: The car will suggest lane changes when it wants to overtake or move out of the way, and the driver can confirm these suggested actions purely by looking at the corresponding mirror.

Electric versions of the G60 get standard rear-axle air springs for auto load leveling and adjustable stiffness. For even greater control over the ride/handling balance, the i5 M60 xDrive offers optional Active Roll Stabilization. This replaces the traditional anti-roll bars with those with an electric motor, allowing the car to resist body roll without requiring an ultra-stiff fixed bar that ruins the ride on straight pavement.

That extra body control will be useful, as the battery pack is heavy. The M60 weighs in at 5247 lbs before options, thanks to a pack with 84.3 kWh of usable energy. But the whole 5 series range has grown bigger. The new model is 3.4 inches longer (199.2 inches total, longer than my 2001 Chevy Tahoe), 1.3 inches wider (74.8 inches), and 1.4 inches taller (59.6 inches). The wheelbase has grown 0.8 inches to 117.9 inches, which BMW claims pays off mainly in rear seat room.

The company claims the all-electric eDrive40 and M60 xDrive can go 295 miles and 256 miles on the EPA cycle, respectively, though those numbers are not official yet. If you're worried about making it to the charging station, both i5 variants offer a Max Range mode. Enabling it disables climate control, seat heating, seat cooling, steering wheel cooling, and limits the car's top speed to 56 mph. Fully depressing the accelerator into the kickdown switch automatically cancels Max Range mode, so you won't be stuck without emergency grunt. Both models support 205-kW fast charging, allowing them to go from 10 to 80 percent charged in roughly 30 minutes.

During that time, BMW says you can play video games on the infotainment system's "AirConsole" software. Using your phone as a controller, you can play casual games supported by the system. There are about 20 launch titles, including "Go Kart Go", "Golazo", "Music Guess," and "Overcooked." Or you could just play games on your phone, even if that would mean missing out the adrenaline rush of a good game of Music Guess.

BMW says the G60 will roll out to global markets beginning in October of 2023, though production of the new six-cylinder will not begin until November. A plug-in hybrid will be available in the U.S. in 2024, and an M5 at some point, but we'll update you when we get details on those cars. Until then, please feel free to entertain yourself with as many games of Music Guess as your heart desires.

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2023-05-24T12:14:41Z dg43tfdfdgfd