Test Drive: BMW i5 M60x

By Jeremy Taylor & Jessica Talbot-Ponsonby

3 weeks ago

How does this EV fare on country roads?

Love the TV series All Creatures Great and Small? Jeremy Taylor and Jessica Talbot-Ponsonby discover Darrowby in the BMW i5 M60x.

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Discovering Darrowby In The BMW i5 M60x

JT: Remember the first book you read? Mine was James Herriot’s classic about life as a young vet in Yorkshire during the 1930 and ’40s. His tales of treating Mrs Pumphrey’s pet pooch Tricki Woo and pursuing feisty Helen were set in the fictional village of Darrowby, or real-life Grassington.

J-TP: Who doesn’t love a pampered Pekingese? I adored those books and Channel Five is making a new series, too. That explains why you chose a trip to the Yorkshire Dales in the new BMW i5. And we found a pretty special place to stay.

JT: Interestingly, Hartlington Hall was a centre for evacuees during the War. It’s now a family home again with a small group of self-catering properties, including the delightful Lodge – a three-bed house with spectacular views over Wharfedale.

J-TP: And a haven for wildlife too. There aren’t many properties where you can sit in front of a roaring fire, watch a woodpecker feeding and see a barn owl swooping down from the trees, without leaving the armchair.

Hartlington Hall

Hartlington Hall

JT: Yes, and owner Penny also goes out of her way to make you feel welcome. A farmhouse kitchen with a range cooker is the focal point but the lounge is the best spot to curl up with a novel and enjoy a vista of stone walls and rolling hills.

J-TP: The area isn’t well-served with car-chargers, but The Lodge has one on-site. We charged the i5 overnight, but then found so many amazing walks from our doorstep, we hardly used the BMW. Probably a good thing as the legendary Dales inn the Craven Arms is temptingly close.

JT: Who can refuse bubble and squeak, or a crumble of the day? What a pub. The road sign even says ‘the gateway to the ales’! Lanes are narrow here, so not the best place to enjoy the i5 to the max – it will cover 320 miles between charges, too.

J-TP: No, it may be electric, but this is the hot M60x version – the fastest saloon in the new i5 line-up. Performance is staggering being an ‘M’ model, with 84.4 kWh twin motors offering all-wheel drive grip for vets in a hurry, the only model in the i5 range to do so.

The BMW i5 M60x at dusk

JT: M models were often powered by a V8 petrol engine but this 601bhp battery version is hardly lacking in thrills, racing to 60mph in 3.8 seconds. Admittedly, there is no exhaust pipe roar and it’s eerily quiet in the cabin, but this still doesn’t feel like a car that costs £98,000.

J-TP: Battery technology isn’t cheap and the luxurious interior is swathed in leather, with a high-tech information system at the heart of the controls. The BMW is a little soulless compared to an old-school petrol, but it’s still a thrilling drive.

JT: Well, let sleeping dogs lie because, like it or not, battery power is very much the future.

The BMW i5 M60x on a country road


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Discover more about the BMW i5 M60x at bmw.co.uk

Jessica Talbot-Ponsonby is Director of Programmes at London College of Fashion, studying for a PhD in sustainable e-textile design.