Over the last two decades, practically every new BMW has become larger than the model it replaces. Take the latest 7-Series, for example, a car whose dimensions almost perfectly mirror those of a Rolls-Royce Ghost. The all-new 5-Series is no different. What was once a mid-size luxury four-door has now ballooned into a proper full-size offering. And while this added size allows for roomier cabins, bigger cars create bigger problems for BMW’s M division.
How do you make a large, heavy sedan accelerate, stop, and steer like a sports car? Cars like the M8 Competition tell us the answer lies in powerful engines, stiff suspension components, and sticky tires. However, while this approach makes even luxury barges tackle twisty roads like proper lightweights, it often comes at the cost of comfort. Those looking for a thoroughbred M car are increasingly left to pick between backroad performance or daily comfort.
It’s now up to cars like the 2024 BMW i5 M60 xDrive to fill this growing performance gap. With a 593 horsepower output from two electric motors, it rips to 60 MPH in an M-appropriate 3.7 seconds while retaining luxury sedan plushness thanks to its standard air suspension, near-silent cabin, and light control inputs. Despite the badge on its rear trunk, the M60 doesn’t offer the all-out supercar fighting performance you’d come to expect from an M5, but you wouldn’t want it to.
The elephant in the room is the BMW i5 M60 itself. As the 5-Series enters its eighth generation, it’s now 3.4 inches longer, 1.3 inches wider, and 1.4 inches taller than the car it replaces. For context, it’s about the same size as a fifth-generation 7-Series from a decade ago. Despite its larger footprint, the M60 wears its size well thanks to a nicely proportioned front grille, a tall shoulder line, bigger wheels, and long horizontal tail lights.
Given some of the carmaker’s recent styling missteps, the 2024 BMW i5 M60 xDrive contrasts as it’s a genuinely good-looking four-door, primarily because it employs a more traditional approach to its design. It’s simple yet sporty and, most importantly, instantly recognizable as a BMW.
Being the sportiest model currently available, the M60 benefits from sharper front and rear bumpers, gloss black extended rocker panels, and five wheel designs. My tester wears the largest available, an $1,800 set of 21s wrapped in non-run-flat performance tires. An optional $1,050 M Sport Professional package adds darkened headlights, gloss black exterior trim, and a rear spoiler. Inside, the i5 M60 gets a standard three-spoke steering wheel and sport seats.
In keeping with the car’s overall theme, none of the above options significantly affect how the quickest 5-Series drives. You can make it look more aggressive, but its standard air suspension remains untouched. Even its mandatory sports seats are plush and roomy.
The BMW i5 M60 xDrive’s 593 horsepower figure is impressive, even as high-power EVs flood the market. Given this its $85,095 base price, you’d need to step up to either a $108,050 Mercedes-AMG EQE Sedan or a $96,500 Lucid Air Touring to beat its output and 3.7-second 0-60 time. Only the $83,900 Lucid Air Pure AWD comes close, but it’s slower to 60 and less powerful.
The i5 features two electric motors, one in each axle, which send power to all four wheels and produce 549 pound-feet of torque. However, a tug of the M60’s boost paddle engages M Sport Boost, temporarily increasing that figure to 605 LB-FT. Flat out, the i5 tops out at an electronically limited 143 MPH top speed when equipped with performance tires or 130 MPH riding on all seasons.
Setting all of its performance figures aside, all you need to know about the i5 M60 xDrive’s performance is that it feels rapid in any scenario. Whether you tug the boost paddle or not, the i5’s instant torque delivery means it feels quicker than its stats suggest and not too dissimilar from the outgoing M5. However, its competitors feel just as quick between lights. Tremendous straight-line performance has become ubiquitous amongst high-power EVs, so it alone isn’t enough to distinguish the M60.
Instead, what sets the range-topping i5 aside is its suspension setup. Chuck it into a corner at a reasonable speed, and the M60 turns in quickly but understeers sooner than expected while its steering offers little feedback. Its brakes, which feature four pistons up front and one in the rear, bite well initially but require a firm pedal press to slow this speedy 5,324-pound sedan. But, despite the relative softness of its air dampers, the M60 only leans slightly in the bends, remaining fairly balanced even through tight turns.
As such, the BMW i5 M60 xDrive wouldn’t be the electric sedan I’d pick for a spirited drive. However, the softness that limits the i5’s backroad athleticism makes it a phenomenal daily. I doubt its owners will care about its handling limits inching in stop-and-go traffic, nor will the vagueness of its steering detract from the experience of moving at high speed on the left lane or traversing busy city streets. Instead, they’ll appreciate how well it absorbs road imperfections and how little unwanted noise permeates the cabin.
Its interior perfectly aligns with this driving character, implementing a shrunken version of the layout that debuted in the latest 7 Series. It has plenty of mood lighting, two curved displays, and crystal-style controls in its center console. And while this cabin tries to wow you with its bright lights and the library of sounds that play as you accelerate, the quality of its materials impresses most. Whether you sit in the front or the rear row, you get a strong sense that BMW invested heavily in interior quality. All of its materials not only look nice but are great to interact with, and thanks to a lengthy list of available textures and colors, they’re extensively customizable.
Whether you spring for the range-topping BMW i5 M60 or the standard model, you’ll get the same battery pack with a net usable capacity of 81.2 kilowatt-hours. Given the variety of available wheel designs and sizes mentioned above, the i5’s range varies significantly, and thankfully, BMW lists all of its varying range stats within its configurator. The most efficient i5 is the eDrive40 fitted with 19-inch wheels, which can travel up to 295 miles on a charge. However, the M60 offers a decreased estimate of as little as 240 miles or as much as 256 miles depending on your selected wheel and tire package. Plugged into a DC fast charger, it’ll replenish its pack at a rate of up to 205 kilowatts, allowing it to charge from 10 to 80 percent in about 30 minutes.
In many ways, the 2024 i5 M60 xDrive is very un-BMW BMW. It’s a big, plush, and near-silent sedan with a driving experience akin to what you’d expect from a full-size luxury sedan. However, despite the i5’s overall softness and general vagueness in the bends, the M60’s increased power output delivers straight-line acceleration that feels on par with comparable machines from Mercedes-Benz and Lucid.
It’s this combination of plushness and power that gives the BMW i5 M60 its distinct character. Nestled below the upcoming M5 but above the base i5, this range-topping 5-Series fills the gap for those looking for an occasional straight-line monster that’s otherwise a nicely appointed calm cruiser.