BMW’s goal for the next-gen 5 Series is to keep it simple. So rather than the radical styling of the 7 Series and XM, the 5er—and its all-electric sibling, the BMW i5—will get traditional BMW styling. That traditional styling can be seen in some new spy photos of the upcoming i5, which were taken on public roads in Germany.
So what does traditional styling mean, exactly? It means normal grilles, dual-halo(ish) headlights, and no interior gimmicks. While these spy photos don’t show off the latter (we’ve seen it before), they do show off the former two. The test mule in these photos is heavily covered in camouflage but there’s enough of its design peaking through that you can see the grille, the headlights, a bit of its taillights, and its wheels.
The grilles couldn’t look more normal. Rather than the gargantuan nostrils of the 7 Series or the beaver teeth of the M3, the BMW i5 has grilles that look like they could be from any other 5er. They’re sized appropriately, shaped normally, and even feature vertical grille slats. They’re as simple as simple gets, these days, which is incredibly refreshing. As for the headlights, they look a bit swoopy but they’re sharp and seem to feature dual lighting elements, as all proper BMWs should. Out back, the taillights are mostly covered by camouflage but you can see that each one gets dual slim LEDs.
This specific car doesn’t seem to be an M Performance model, due to the normal side mirrors. M Performance cars get the same side mirrors as proper M cars, so this isn’t the upcoming i5 M60. However, it does seem to have some sort of M Sport package, as its front bumper looks a bit sportier than a typical 5er. It also has red brake calipers, adding to the M Sport image.
Interestingly, the test badging changed. Typically, electric test vehicles in Germany have badges that read… “Electric Test Vehicle.” Now, it just says “Electrified Vehicle” but there’s also a new sign, one that says “Connected Test Vehicle.” The latter of which also has video camera logo and a scannable barcode. I’m not sure what that’s all about but it will be interesting to see what sort of connected services the i5 has when it debuts.
The BMW i5 is going to be a big car for the brand. Being essentially an electric 5 Series, the i5 will appeal to a much larger market than any of BMW’s other EVs. And because it will clearly be styled properly, it might also be very attractive to traditional BMW customers.