BMW plans to make a big electric show at next week’s Monterey events. The automaker plans to use the all-German Legends of the Autobahn event Aug. 17, at the Pacific Grove Golf Links to display an assembly of the latest electrified vehicles.
BMW has been riding high with the success of the all-electric i4 M50 and the i4 eDrive40 liftback coupes and the iX M60 midsize SUV. Now the automaker will use Monterey Car Week to unveil the 590-horsepower 2024 BMW i5 M60 xDrive. The car will also be revealed simultaneously at the BMW Championship PGA golf tournament in Illinois.
An electric 5 Series
Now in its eighth generation, the BMW 5 Series is a core product line for BMW. The midsize sedan is among the brand’s most popular vehicles, and is in its eighth generation of development. The BMW i5 M60 xDrive will sit at the top of the 5 Series range and combines a 590-hp electric drivetrain with hallmark M performance driving characteristics, according to BMW.
This power enables the new BMW i5 M60 to rush from 0-60 mph in only 3.7 seconds, and the power is delivered continuously as speeds increase. The maximum speed of the BMW i5 M60 xDrive is electronically limited to 143 mph when equipped with performance tires, or 130 mph with all-season tires. Presumably the dealer will change that setting as appropriate.
The optional Driving Assistance Professional now includes a new feature called Highway Assistant, which enables attentive hands-free driving at speeds up to 85 mph where conditions and speed limits allow. This should provide automatic steering similar to GM’s Super Cruise or Ford’s BlueCruise.
The automated driving functions of the Driving Assistance Professional package also include the new version of the Active Lane Change. In a world first, the Active Lane Change in the new BMW 5 Series can be controlled by eye activation. The vehicle suggests a lane change, and the driver can confirm the lane change simply by looking in the corresponding outside rearview mirror. The Active Lane Change performs the necessary steering movements automatically up to a speed of 85 mph, traffic conditions and speed limits permitting.
The introduction of the new 5 Series also sees the premier of in-car gaming. In a cooperation with the gaming platform AirConsole, driver and passengers can play casual games while the vehicle is stationary, for example to occupy waiting times while charging.
The i5 M60 xDrive will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2023 with a base MSRP of $81,400 plus $995 destination and handling fee.
Concept BMW iX5 Hydrogen also to be displayed
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen SUV was first unveiled as a concept in 2019, and it will be brought to Monterey for display at Legends of the Autobahn. This is a prototype vehicle and is not currently for sale, nor have any production plans been announced.
The hydrogen fuel cell system powers an all-electric driveline, conferring the benefits of purely electric driving with the convenience of conventional refueling if a hydrogen station is available.
In a fuel cell vehicle, gaseous hydrogen is stored onboard under very high pressure in two tanks: one under the rear seat and one under the center console. The hydrogen is drawn into the fuel cell, where its atoms are split into protons and electrons. The electrons are routed through a circuit to produce a flow of electricity that powers the BMW GEN5 electric motor at the rear axle. The protons and electrons are then reunited and combined with oxygen in the air to form distilled water.
The 168-hp fuel cell is supported by a compact high-voltage battery under the cargo floor for quick boosts of power when needed. Together, they make up the world’s most powerful passenger vehicle fuel cell system: producing up to 396 hp and allowing the iX5 to accelerate from 0-60 in about six seconds.
Refueling the iX5 Hydrogen is similar to the process of refueling a gasoline-powered vehicle and requires only a few minutes; a fraction of the time currently required to fully charge a large high-voltage battery. And because the HV battery in the iX5 Hydrogen is significantly smaller than those used in conventional battery electric vehicles, much smaller amounts of raw materials like lithium and cobalt are used in its construction.
The vehicle that will be on display at Legends of the Autobahn is one of a small fleet of prototype vehicles in the US. The fleet is touring the country to demonstrate the feasibility of hydrogen as an integral part of an electrification strategy as well as for field testing and collecting impressions from various target groups.
Legends of the Autobahn runs Aug. 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pacific Grove Golf Links. Admission is free.