BMW i5 M60: The ideal mix of sportiness and comfort?

By J.A. Ackley
Dec 6, 2023 | BMW, ev, electric cars, BMW i5 M60, i5, BMW i5, i5 M60 | Posted in Features | Never miss an article

Photography Courtesy BMW

No throaty exhaust. No stiff bucket seats. No manual. Can the all-new (and all-electric) BMW i5 M60 live up to the brand’s 50-year-old pledge of building the ultimate driving machine?

Let’s start with the power numbers: 593 horsepower and, more importantly, 549 lb.-ft. of instant EV torque. The i5 M60 produces a zero-to-60 time of 3.7 seconds.

The i5 makes the Mini JCW and M3 feel sluggish. Yes, you read that right, sluggish

So, what? It can go fast, but can it handle?

The M60 trim adds a bunch of electronic aids with fancy names to the standard i5 to help the handling. Adaptive M Suspension Professional is what they call the electronically controlled dampers. The Integral Active Steering allows rear wheels to turn, up to 2.5 degrees, and lowers right height by 0.3 inches. There’s Active Roll Stabilization and Active Roll Comfort, too.

BMW improved the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) on the 5 Series to speed up DSC interactions by 10 times. Engineers achieved this by moving the slip controller functions from the DSC module to the engine controller module. This becomes especially helpful with a torquey EV such as this i5 M60.

The i5 also offers additional hydraulic damping, which is spring-travel dependent. This helps absorb minor road vibrations and large bumps alike. BMW also says the added hydraulic damping “calms the body” under “cornering, thus enhancing the sporty and confident handling of the vehicle.”

This might sound like the antithesis of an analog car. But if you can get beyond wanting to purely be a human mated with a machine, you can appreciate what all that wizardry does.

The first thing we noticed is that the suspension smooths the roughest South Carolina roads (and they are rough), but not to the degree that it completely mutes feedback. In fact, it pleasantly delivers that feedback like a suited private carrier presenting a fancy envelope with a wax seal.

On the track, it handles confidently and predictably. The 245mm-wide tires up front and 275mm-wide tires in the rear provide plenty of grip. But let’s address the elephant in the room.

The BMW i5 M60 weighs 5247 pounds. A 1974 Cadillac Eldorado weighs about 5100 pounds. How’s that for perspective?

While the M60 seems to move its weight quite eloquently, it’s still heavy. You might not feel that on the road, but you will feel it on the track. However, let’s remember the purpose of the 5 Series: It seeks to deliver both comfort and sportiness in a stylish, premium package. Does it do it? Yes. Does it err to one side over the either? Definitely, with more emphasis on the comfort than sportiness. But, it’s not by much.

So, in the end, let’s answer that question we posed earlier. Can the 5 Series in an M-level trim still be fun without a throaty exhaust, racing-inspired bucket seats and a manual?

Yes, but for reasons that will probably resonate with the future BMW offerings coming down the pike.

Incredible torque. Comfortable, yet still responsive feel. And, electronic aids that help you forget some of that weight of today’s cars.

If that doesn’t get you going, maybe this will, especially if you have kids or daily commutes. There’s the ability to stream games from your phone on the BMW Curved Display. There’s also the new Highway Assistant that lets you take your hands off the wheel while on the highway. With it, you can use Active Lane Change, where the system detects the need to make passes of slower cars and you confirm that by looking at the side mirrors, thanks to a camera pointed at the driver. Wild.

If love spirited driving as much as comfort, the BMW i5 M60 might be worth considering. It’ll cost you, though. Pricing starts at $84,100.

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J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
12/7/23 8:51 p.m.

Update: the more I think of this, the more I look forward to future offerings with a hybrid (like the XM) or a fully electric version. Stay tuned. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/7/23 10:59 p.m.

The key to EV adoption is to make affordable EVs. Focus on a bunch of stuff near $100k, and the masses will just stick with their ICE. 

LMK when the i1 and i2 get here (my guess: they'll just sell them overseas...), then I'll be interested in electric BMWs. 


J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
12/8/23 6:05 a.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

Good observation. The cheapest U.S. all-electric offering is the i4, which starts at $52,200.

APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
12/8/23 10:18 a.m.

I don't see myself ever spending that kind of coin on a road car but if I did I'd this would be exactly what I'd be looking for.  I want something that can seat four, eat interstate miles and not be annoying when I'm on secondary roads.


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