2024 BMW 5 Series First Drive: All New, a Gleaming Princess Cut of a Luxury Car

From the electric 2024 BMW i5 to the BMW 5 Series gas-powered sedans, this redesign delivers finely crafted details and technology that will delight for the long haul

Me With The 2024 Bmw I5 Bmw 5 Series Sedan
Me with the 2024 BMW i5. Photo: Scotty Reiss

All Diamond. No Rough.

There’s something about a perfectly cut diamond. You can’t turn away. You live to polish it, to watch it gleam, to see it sparkle on a bright, sunny day or under gloomy cloud cover. It never fails to delight, and that, clearly, is was the design mission for the redesign of the 2024 BMW 5 Series. 

The idea of a perfectly faceted diamond is clear inside and out; so is the mission to continually surprise and delight at every angle. From the variety of powertrains to faceted surfaces inside and out, and with an elevated sense of luxury inherited from the recent redesign of the 7 Series sedan, BMW’s flagship sedan now even more earns its title. 

Related: 2023 BMW X7 M60i 3-row SUV Review: How Much Pampering Do You Need?

The Bmw I5 Edrive 40

The BMW i5 eDrive 40. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Gleaming Princess Cut … Of a Car

On the exterior of the 2024 BMW 5 Series you’ll see precisely cut panels on the front and rear. The iconic kidney grille is more sharply shaped, set against a faceted front face and flanked by gleaming LED headlights that are almost prong-like in how they frame the front end. 

Subtle sculpted hood lines and side panels serve the shape of the sedan, with subtle inflections of reflected light. The exterior is streamlined further with flush door handles, a sloping roof line and a simple rear end. Thin tail lights and ever so slightly tipped trunk spoiler add to the elegance.

Inside, the princess cut vision continues in quilted leather seating, a faceted light bar that surrounds the cabin, and if selected, crystal-topped controls on the gear selector and iDrive multimedia dial. Crystal controls are nothing new for BMW; the immersion into the diamond idea is, and it’s quite well done: Immersive without being obnoxious.

Related: BMW i4 M50: Yes, This Sporty BMW Sedan is Also an Electric Car

The View From The Drivers Seat In The Bmw I5

The view from the driver’s seat in the BMW i5. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Whole New Look and Feel… Anchored By This Screen

Probably the most notable thing you’ll see when you slide into the 2024 BMW 5 series sedan is the large single panel screen that spans the dashboard. This holds the 15” multimedia screen and the 12” driver display. 

The screen’s simplicity is mirrored by the dash underneath where there are simple touch-sensitive sliders for climate control and below, a phone cubby large enough to hold two phones and charge one of them. The command center holds the start/start button, gear selector, iDrive multimedia dial, radio volume dial and quick access media buttons, all in a relatively flat and elegant panel.

The dash treatment wraps from door to door with the color-customizable light bar and trim details — such as carbon fiber, leather, chrome and intricately designed speaker covers — and incorporates touch-sensitive functions like seat memory, door locks and to the left of the steering wheel, headlight controls. 

The light bar can be set for any color you like, or can reflect a pre-set mood that also plays out on the multimedia screen. The light bar is really gorgeous; the pre-set mood selections are interesting but I found them to be more of a novelty than an elegant staple like the light bar. 

Related: 2023 BMW XM: A Swanky Batcave of a Car, er, Plug-in Electric Hybrid SUV

The Front End Of The 2024 Bmw I5 With A Light Surrounding The Grille

The front end of the 2024 BMW i5 all electric sedan has a light bar surrounding the grille. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Choices, Choices, Choices

Then, pick your power. This may be the most difficult choice because for the first time, the 5 series is available in an all electric power train, but there are two very good gas-powered options and later in 2024 there will be a plug-in hybrid model. And all of them whisk you away with refined power, throaty or silent. 

For 2024, here’s what the 5 Series sedan lineup looks like: 

  • 530i, rear wheel drive 4 cylinder turbo with a mild hybrid system generating 255 HP; fuel economy estimated at 30 MPG combined; starts at $57,900
  • 530i xDrive, all wheel drive 4 cylinder turbo with a mild hybrid system generating 255 HP; fuel economy estimated at 30 MPG combined; starts at $60,200 
  • 540i xDrive, all wheel drive 6 cylinder with a mild hybrid system generating 375 HP; fuel economy not fully estimated, though its believed to get 33 MPG/highway; starts at $64,900
  • 550e plug-in hybrid, a 6 cylinder gas-powered hybrid expected to deliver 40 miles of electric driving per charge and generate 483 HP, the price expected to start at about $74,000 when it goes on sale in mid-2024
  • i5 eDrive40 all electric, single motor with rear wheel drive, a 295 mile range generating 335 HP, starts $66,800
  • i5 M60 all electric, dual motor with all wheel drive, a 256 range generating 593HP, starts at $84,100
Roomy Rear Seats In The Bmw I5

Roomy rear seats in the BMW i5. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Then, Customize Your Interior

BMW offers a wide selection of interior materials, trims and technology. You can pick sporty or plush and even within those choices there are more ways to customize your experience.

Interior upholstery starts with BMW’s new Veganza line, a vegan leather alternative that is standard on all models and quite lovely. It’s quilted, perforated and available in 5 colors: smoke white, burgundy, red, espresso brown, black and black with Alcantara microsuede. And, you probably wouldn’t notice the difference between Veganza and leather unless you carefully compare the two. 

But if real leather is important to you, BMW’s Extended Merino option, also quilted and perforated, is available in 3 color combinations: Black and gray, brown and gray or silverstone and light gray.

With either, buyers can choose an MSport package which has M badging, unique screens and drive options.

The Charge Door On The Bmw I5 Note The Debossed 5 On The Rear Window Panel Above It

The charge door on the BMW i5 and above it, the debossed ‘5’ on the rear window panel. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Driving the BMW 5 Series

I took a test drive of the i5 eDrive 40 and the M60 electric versions of the 5 series and neither disappointed. The eDrive 40 is rear wheel drive only, while the M60 is all wheel drive. Still, both are satisfyingly fast and quiet. Acceleration is swift and the ride is smooth and confident.

BMW has added Highway Assistance, which is essentially hands-free on limited access roads, such as interstate highways (although the system does require your attention, so you can’t take a nap or scroll your IG). And on certain designated highways the system will automatically change lanes, suggest a lane change when traffic ahead slows but the next lane is clear, and you can change lanes by using the system’s eye-tracking feature: look in the side mirror of the lane you want to move into and the system will take your hint. 

I haven’t had a chance to try this out yet, but look forward to it in the near future. Technology like this will be a huge part of the future of driving and it’s getting pretty good.

Other tech that buyers will find in the new system include “Hey BMW” voice activated assistance, which has been around for a few years and continues to get more responsive and and accurate. BMW has added a gaming system that allows you to play video games when the car is in park; just download a gaming app to your phone which then becomes your gaming controller.

And, there’s some fun advanced tech for the drive system. You can set your electric sounds, which are scored by Oscar and Grammy winning composer Has Zimmer. So, you can drive in silence, or create an interstellar experience. The ultimate may be invoking the sound in boost mode. Pull the left paddle and for 5 seconds the system invokes the full horsepower all at once. It’s quite a lot of fun, but be careful. It’s also quite a lot of power.   

The Front End Of The Bm I5 Edrive 40

The front end of the BMW i5 eDrive 40. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Dazzling Redesign With Facets to Keep It Interesting For Years

As with any beautifully cut diamond, it’s hard to look away, to stop finding delight in new angles, reflections, the spark of unexpected colors. In the 5 series, the details go on and on, and buyers may find that ownership is a lovely unending journey of discovery.

And, they’ll find that the choice of powertrain is a delight, too; those who prefer an old-school gas-powered car can have it; those who want to go electric can, too. And soon, those who want both will be able to have a plug-in hybrid option. All in a delightfully beautiful experience, inside and out.

Disclosure: I was a guest of BMW for this test drive. Travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own. Additionally, A Girls Guide to Cars may earn a commission from affiliate links in this story.

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss