The BMW world has been witnessing a significant shift towards electric vehicles in the last few years and the BMW i5 Touring is a testament to this transformation. With its recent release in Europe, the i5 Touring has garnered attention for its blend of luxury, performance, and versatility. However, the question remains: will the BMW i5 Touring make sense for the American market?

Popular in Europe

The BMW i5 Touring (review here and here), the first fully electric addition to the BMW 5 Series family, brings a fresh perspective to the upper mid-size premium segment. It boasts a range of 483–560 km (WLTP), combining driving pleasure with electric efficiency. Of course, versatility has always been the name of the game with BMW tourings.

But despite their appeal in Europe, where touring sales beat sedans’, sports wagons/tourings faces a unique challenge in the U.S. Historically, American consumers have shown a preference for SUVs and trucks over station wagons. This trend has clearly influenced BMW’s decision to skip the American market with its i5 Touring.

Plenty of Hurdles in America

There are other hurdles as well. The infrastructure for EVs, while improving, still requires expansion to support long-distance travel comfortably, a key consideration for the touring model designed for longer journeys. Another factor to consider is the competitive landscape. The U.S. market has seen a surge in EV offerings from various manufacturers, each vying for a share of the burgeoning segment. The BMW i5 Touring would need to distinguish itself amidst this competition, not only through its features but also through its value proposition.

How About a V8-Powered 5 Series Touring?

However, BMW’s recent engagement with U.S. dealers revealed a desire for a high-end 5 Series Touring. According to the dealers, it’s only premium versions of a touring that might make sense to an American customer: think a V8 with lots of power, unique packages and high-end features. The U.S. market’s preference for “bigger is better” suggests that a V8-powered 5 Series Touring might have a higher chance of success. This option would cater to American tastes for performance and luxury without fully transitioning to electric power.

Should BMW Bring the i5 Touring to United States?

In my opinion, the decision to bring the BMW i5 Touring to America should be approached with caution. While there is niche appeal for high-end Touring models (and other automakers proved that theory), broader market trends favor SUVs and performance vehicles. BMW must carefully weigh whether an i5 Touring can secure a sustainable market share or if focusing on conventional powertrains would be wiser. As the automotive landscape evolves, BMW’s strategy in the U.S. must be both innovative and adaptive to meet consumer expectations while staying true to its brand ethos.

So what do you think? Does the BMW i5 Touring have a place in America, or should BMW pivot towards models that better align with American preferences? Your feedback is welcome.