5 Stand-Out Tech Features on the 2024 BMW I5

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

We recently drove the latest BMW 5 Series in both i5 eDrive40 and i5 M60 guises. Both offer a thoroughly modern take on BMW’s classic mid-sized four-door, what with being all-electric and all. Beyond the switch to an EV powertrain, the i5 debuts a raft of new tech features. From advanced hands-free highway driving to charging quality improvements, here in no order are the five stand-out tech features of the 2024 BMW i5.

Drive with your eyes

Look where you want to go: it applies to horses, and now to BMW’s Highway Assistant. In a dedicated test car, we put the i5’s new Active Lane Change Assistant through its paces. At speeds of up to 85 mph (130 km/h) on pre-mapped highway sections, the system allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel. ALCA goes one step further: if the adaptive cruise speed is set higher than what the current lane is doing, the system will chime to offer a lane change. Glance over at the proper side mirror for a little more than a half-second—and there’s nothing coming up from behind—and the i5 smoothly and calmly switches lanes.

It sounds unnatural at first, but works well. BMW is proud of the confirmation step: it wants drivers to remain engaged, which is why it avoided automatic lane changes.

iDrive 8.5 updates

We generally like iDrive 8.0, because it offers a lot of features on an easy-to-read, high-definition screen. But that’s the thing: there’s a lot of options, and that means scrolling around to all the icons and digging in subsequent sub-menus. BMW has addressed some of these criticisms with a rejigged infotainment screen. Now, navigation is the default, taking up much of the main screen. New icons along the driver’s side of the screen offer up plenty of the most-common features, making it easier to get the info you need, quickly. Of course, BMW has kept the iDrive rotary controller if you don’t want to poke the screen. There is also an optional augmented reality display for even clearer navigation directions.

A new definition of mobile gaming

The i5 ships with AirConsole, the German online video game startup. This allows you and up to six of your friends—for the three-row SUVs, presumably—to play games via your mobile phones. The system ships with around 10 games, and they’re all off-brand redos of popular titles, like a general kart racer. This feature, along with a handful of video streaming apps, is only available while the car is parked.

Did we feel we needed games in our cars? Nope. But we didn’t say good features, we said stand-out ones!

Better charging means better performance

One feature we’re sure we all agree on is better charging. BMW has tweaked the i5’s 81.2-kWh battery pack to accept up to 205 kW of DC fast-charge, making it one of the quicker rechargers on the road. More than that, the charge rates have been improved across the board, so the taper towards 80-percent state of charge (SoC) is more gradual, and maintains above 50 kW. This means less time spent sitting.

The battery pack’s flexibility also improves the drive experience. Regenerative braking can hit up to 198 kW, resulting in strong deceleration to give drivers a feeling similar to downshifting a few gears in an ICE vehicle.

Proactive Care

BMW’s Proactive Care package is included with its ConnectedDrive app. This feature tracks the car’s performance over its life cycle, letting the driver know about service needs before they happen. Messages via the My BMW app, email, or directly in the car simplify the process.

Discuss this story on our BMW i5 forum.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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