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2024 BMW i5 eDrive40 Sedan, front view

Too many EVs on the road nowadays trade off engineering and functionality against comfort, leaving EV fans with fairly austere vehicles that replace a physical interface with the far cheaper touch panel. A few years ago, that was just the state of the automotive industry, with upstarts selling many more EVs than traditional manufacturers. This has begun to change and some of the very best electric vehicles are now built and sold by luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz and Genesis. More to the point, BMW has also stepped up its game after dipping its proverbial toe in the EV market with the cute little i4.

As a big BMW fan, I was quite enthused to get behind the wheel of the 2024 BMW i5 Drive40 Sedan, and I have to say, the company did not disappoint. The i5 is one of the very best EVs I've ever driven, with a wonderful drive experience, oodles of creature comforts, and a beautiful curb appearance. My loaner was in Cape York Green Metallic with Veganza perforated, quilted Smoke White leather seats:

2024 bmw i5 edrive40 - exterior front

With its classic BMW front grill design, there's nothing that clues you into the fact that it's an EV. For some owners, that's a big plus and a visual reminder that BMW started with its classic sedan design, then figured out how to get all the EV circuitry into an existing vehicle. The interior design is also very much modern BMW:

2024 bmw i5 edrive40 - dashboard

The i5 includes a lot of M5 series refinements too, from the M-series steering wheel to the sport suspension and both interior and exterior elements borrowed from the M lineup too. The bright blue accent stripe in the above? That's user adjustable and you can choose from about 20 different colors to have it match your favorite or even just your current mood.

The main gauge display was suitably futuristic to remind you this isn't your mother's BMW either:

2024 bmw i5 edrive40 - main gauge display (night)

Notice that on the lower left corner is the battery percentage, while the range is all the way on the other side: 125 miles. Fully charged, the 2024 BMW i5 is rated for a max range of 270 miles. If you're trying to do a road trip, that means you'll need to stop and charge about every three hours @ 80mph. If you have a 35-mile commute, first off, I feel for you, but hey, at least you'd be in a super comfortable vehicle. You'd also be able to easily charge it up each night for the next day's drive.

The center console is busy with controls and features too:

2024 bmw i5 edrive40 - center console

I really appreciate vehicles that have infotainment control systems on the center console because it makes it really easy to use while driving (and keeping your eyes on the road). The vehicle had a clean, bright heads-up display too, making it even easier to access the wide range of drive features without glancing away. I particularly liked the roller wheel volume control which felt quite intuitive.

Switching to the steering wheel controls, you can see that the roller's replaced by a volume up/down bar (top right) that turns out be a slider: drag your finger left-to-right and it allows a refined volume control with a different UI:

2024 bmw i5 edrive40 - steering wheel crossbar controls

Looking behind the center console, there's a feature I thought was great and one of the very few interface elements I didn't much like:

2024 bmw i5 edrive40 - charging pad, a/c controls

See how the left side of that flat storage area looks a bit different? It's a Qi wireless charger, but it includes a tiny air conditioning vent because the vehicle keeps your phone cool while it's charging. The result: Faster charging. Smart! The very top two controls in the picture, however, are climate control air vent adjustment controls and I found that to be quite annoying. Then again, the air actually comes out of a slot in the dashboard (look at the earlier photo: no vents!) so the control had to be disassociated from the vent itself. In practice it was okay, but it takes some work to get the airflow positioned "just so" with this sort of control.

Did you notice that the blue detail lighting appears in the cup holder area too? That'll change color if you choose a different interior accent color through the infotainment system!

Stepping out of the car, there was acceptable, but not enormous amounts of legroom for the rear passengers:

2024 bmw i5 edrive40 - rear legroom

Two other things to note in this photo: The cool metal speaker grill (which people commented on when they rode in the vehicle) and the strange triangular black portion of the seat back. That turns out to be a 45W USB-C charging port with a special recessed mechanism that you can use to hang tablets and other devices, for an in-car entertainment system for the little ones. 45W is also enough power that you can top up your laptop on the way to your next meeting. As with so much in this vehicle, it's these small refinements that really add up to reinforce the luxury experience.

2024 bmw i5 edrive40 - ev charge plug ports

It's an EV so, of course, no gas. Instead this is quite typical, supporting what's known as a CCS Combo Type 1 charger. The included 110V/220V home charger just uses the top portion, the "Type 1 J1772" plug, while higher power chargers like the 150kWh units I utilized from Electrify America used both the top and bottom.

To give you a sense of charge speed, the high power chargers gave me about a 60% charge in 20 minutes. Since most of the EA chargers in my area are in Walmart parking lots, I plug the vehicle in, lock it, do a lap around Walmart, come out, and drive off. Easy enough. Electrify America is expensive if you're not a subscriber, however, charging me the max rate of $0.56/kWh, meaning that a 40kWh charge cost me about $22. This BMW i5 is rated at 32 kWh/100 mi so I got about 125mi of range for $22.34, a cost of $0.17/mi. Before you crow about how your fuel efficient internal combustion engine is cheaper per mile, keep in mind that home fast chargers are typically $0.11/kWh - $0.15/kWh, an enormous saving over the public units. If you have the dream setup of a solar powered system you could theoretically lower your electric costs to $0.00/kWh, vehicular charging nirvana.

While we're talking about it being an EV, I will say that this is a joy to drive. Like most EVs, it has enormous power and can leap from a stop with such acceleration that you might even feel a bit queasy. On my test road, it got up to 75mph in just a few seconds (though my passenger complained and kindly requested I not do that again!). With its classic BMW handling and tight suspension, this was one of the most fun cars I've ever driven.

All that and it has plenty of trunk space too:

2024 bmw i5 edrive40 - trunk room

The center portion lifts up and reveals the charging cable, which included both a 110V and 220V adapter. If you have a charger installed in your garage - as most owners would - it can safely stay in the vehicle for emergency use, along with the roadside emergency kit you can see on the left side of the trunk. The two white bars? There's a rectangle that can be opened to allow longer items like skis to be slipped into the trunk. My guess is that most owners never utilize this, however.

2024 bmw i5 edrive40 - exterior rear

There are some vehicles that I enjoy driving and then am happy to have go back to the manufacturer as I slip into my own more humble, but sometimes more comfortable little SUV. This BMW, however, was a joy to drive and I did not want to return it. This is a vehicle I could easily see myself buying or, at least, the X5, the SUV form factor version that's a bit more suited for my lifestyle. BMW has created an electric vehicle that has it all, luxury, a great drive experience, and a beautiful appearance. If you're in the market for an EV, you owe it to yourself to take one of these on a test drive.

2024 BMW i5 eDrive40 Sedan with 21" Wheels, in Cape York Green Metallic. MSRP: $66,800.00. Options Included: Premium Package, M Sport Package, Sky Lounge Roof, Bowers and Wilkins Surround Sound System. AS DRIVEN: $77,645.00.

Disclosure: BMW loaned me the 2024 i5 for a week of driving in return for this candid review. This article originally appeared on PlanetDave with the title 2024 BMW I5 EDRIVE40 SEDAN: FUN, COMFY, BEAUTIFUL.