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In recent years, it seems like BMW has been searching for something. The ethos of “The Ultimate Driving Machine” is largely in the rearview, save for the M2 and M5 CS. What’s left is a menagerie of odd designs, luxury features, and tech for tech’s sake. But with the EV revolution well under way, could the electric BMW 5 Series help the brand find its way? The BMW i5 M60 certainly looks good, so there may be hope yet that BMW can find its soul again.

Genuine M-level performance in the BMW i5 M60 EV

Despite not having the complete BMW M treatment, the BMW i5 M60 is an EV fitting of the M Performance moniker. With a claimed zero to 60 mph time of just 3.8 seconds, the 5 Series EV delivers pulse-raising acceleration from its electric powertrain.

Suspension settings are sharper as well, to improve response. That, along with a lower ride height, give the i5 M60 the athleticism expected from something with an M badge. This new BMW EV also includes active anti-roll bars and rear-steer, making it feel much more agile than its 5 Series frame would imply. 

The bespoke M Performance xDrive system splits torque, favoring the rear wheels in keeping with ethos of the car’s sporting intentions. There is even a Sport Boost mode for an extra 18 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels on command.

Not that you’ll need it. With 590 horsepower and 586 lb-ft of torque, per Car and Driver, the BMW i5 M60 has no trouble putting the power down on demand.

Does the BMW 5 Series EV capture the M Performance essence?

2024 BMW i5 M60 in camo
2024 BMW i5 M60 | BMW

There’s no denying that for most enthusiasts, electric vehicles lack the character of gas-powered sports cars. However, if you can pack away your expectations of crackling exhaust notes and mechanical shifts, the i5 M60 is a hint that BMW’s EV era could be its most exciting since the mid-00s.

A lot of electric vehicles chuck down big performance numbers without much character. But the BMW 5 Series EV with M Performance touches flips the script. It avoids the four-figure horsepower number in favor of sharpened handling and torque-focused performance.

BMW i5 M60 from the side
BMW i5 M60 | BMW

The steering is some of the most communicative available from the Bavarian brand since the E92 M3. That’s good, and something that critics have maligned about the numb electric power steering systems in the most recent M3 and M4.

And though brake-by-wire has its critics, the system works well in the new BMW M electric car. The engineers have even dialed out the issues of traditional braking and regenerative braking that plague many EVs these days.

Even better, the BMW i5 M60 isn’t victim to the beaver-tooth grille. That alone is enough to make it a compelling product, even if only because you’ll be able to stomach seeing it in the driveway.

Overall, the i5 M60 is a sign that BMW is starting to right the ship. And if you take this alongside the newest BMW M2, it seems like Bavarian Motor Works might be ready to reclaim its place atop the sport luxury sedan podium.

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