This is the new BMW 5 Series. We see the arrival of the new G60 generation in electric guise first (there will be petrol hybrid versions to follow). The 5 Series has often received the accolade of ‘best car’, not just the best car in BMW’s line-up, not only the best car in the executive segment, but in fact the best overall car you can buy.

Within the family range, if the 4 Series (formerly 3 Series) should be a tad small, and the big 7 Series a little too ostentatious, the 5 strikes the perfect balance of comfort, practicality and style. And with the right spec, it can even be a performance brute.
We reviewed not one but two versions. The 335bhp £76,000 eDrive40 M Sport Pro and the current performance and model range-topper, the 593bhp £97,000 M60 xDrive.

Considering the intriguing and sometimes challenging design directions that BMW has been taking lately with some of its models, the 5 Series is refreshingly and pleasingly conventional. The kidney grille doesn’t polarise, while the sleek lines present a handsome and elegant saloon. While the design doesn’t challenge, and you don’t want it to, it still captivates with its road presence and perceived prestige. The M60 tested, in a dark matte finish looked extra mean and enigmatic hinting at its formidable demeanour.

There’s an averaged sized boot, underfloor compartment to store charging cables and the rear is as comfortable and spacious as you’d expect. There are touch controls to work the climate control in the back and mounts in the back of the front seat rests to hold tablets, for work or watching movies etc.
In the front there is a large screen that sweeps across about a third of the dashboard. And you have ‘MyMode’ options which can alter the style and look of the infotainment and instrument displays. There is crystal-like glass switchgear for the gear selector and infotainment controller, and similar treatment for strips along the dashboard, which not only present selectable ambient lighting, but also further controls. It feels special, but not quite as overtly glittery as a 7 Series.

I drove the i5 eDrive40 M Sport Pro first, it’s virtually as well-equipped as the range-topper thanks to the M Sport Pro trim specification. Without listing everything, it’s fair to say, you’ll want for nothing.

With 400Nm it can accelerate to 60mph in 6 seconds and the city range is claimed to be 390 miles (remember EVs perform far better in an urban environment than on longer trips). Top speed is only 120mph – more than you’ll ever need, but way less that you’d typically expect from a high spec BMW.

Oddly while there’s a sensation of sitting low inside the car, as is normally the case with BMWs, in overall terms you’re sitting higher than traditional saloons. The car is 15mm taller, as well as being 67mm longer and fractionally wider, than the previous 5 Series.

On the move, your ears pick up on some unusual sounds – no, it’s not the suspension rattling or the axles making an odd whining sound. In fact, it’s the orchestral accompaniment to your motive power, whether it’s accelerating or just zipping along.

Like any BMW, you could choose to chill, turn up the sensational sound system and just cruise, conserving the electrons. However, you really want to revel in that considerable performance on tap, especially if you engage the superboost paddle for 10-seconds of extra oomph. Along with the superb response and incredibly composed handling. It’s not quite as chuckable as an i4, but it handles its mass and magnificence with aplomb. The only criticism you could level at this is the firm ride.

Same goes when we step up to the even more ferocious M60 all-wheel drive version. A thumping 795Nm of torque, giving it a staggering 0-62mph time of just 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 143mph with a city driving range of 342 miles.

It instantly feels a little sharper, meatier and well… more menacing. Deploy the full force, flipping on superboost and you might well need a neck brace, and some counselling. This is not the sort of performance to be trifled with. ‘Handle with care,’ should be standard instructions with this car. Nonetheless the performance is intoxicating, and grip is reassuring.

So, you’ll want the M60, but you know the eDrive40 is already way more than merely adequate. The only problem is money. After being specced-up, as these cars inevitably are, the latter, as tested, weighs in at £92,570, while the M60 was a jaw-dropping £115k! In comparison the outgoing BMW M5 was £110k. The i5 is an exquisite electric car, highly desirable and unquestionably satisfying to ultimately own and drive, but make sure you have an extremely good credit rating.