This EV Wagon Isn’t for Us, but Another One Could Be

Jackson Wheeler
6 Min Read

  • BMW reveals range of electric i5 Touring and gas-engine 5-Series Touring models, intended to be offered in Europe and other markets.
  • The i5 Touring and 5-Series Touring models will not be offered stateside, even though the i5 sedan and its gas-engine sedan sibling will be sold here.
  • One version of the 5-Series Touring could be offered stateside at a later date, becoming the first 5-Series station wagon to be offered here in years, while promising quite a bit of performance.

BMW has held back quite a few important wagons from North America, starting with the E30 3-Series Touring model from the 1980s. Its successor, the E36-generation 3-Series wagon, also passed us by, but in fairness Mercedes-Benz thought that its W202 C-Class of the 1990s was too European to offer stateside, perhaps overlapping with the W124 E-Class.

How we got the E46 3-Series wagon here remains a mystery, but Mercedes also opted to offer the W203 C-Class longroof here around that time.

The F11-generation 5-Series Touring that arrived in 2010 was also deemed too European for US tastes, which were now firmly in the grip of SUVs and crossovers, and so was its G30 5-Series Touring successor that arrived in 2017.

Just which snub stung the most is up for debate, but we know that well-kept E39 5-Series wagons are valuable for a reason.

And we can now add the i5 Touring and its gas-engine twin to the list of BMW station wagons that we’re not getting.

“The BMW 5 Series Touring, the epitome of driving pleasure, sporty elegance and modern functionality in the premium upper mid-range segment, is entering a new era,” BMW says, as if just trying to rub it in.

The automaker reveals that even Japan will get the i5 and 5-Series wagons somehow, and that’s a much smaller market for BMW, one would think. But Japan must be doing something right, on the other hand. (Japan, give us a call).

a car parked on a road by a body of water


Diesel versions of the 5-Series Touring are alive and well with the latest redesign, with the 520d and 540d models headed on sale in Europe this year.

The absence of the i5 Touring stateside is certainly going to sting a bit, because in electric form it would have offered those of the longroof persuasion a 593-hp dual-motor layout in the M60 flavor, with power coming from an 81.2-kWh battery.

A single-motor version of the i5 Touring will also be on the menu in Europe with a 335-hp motor out back and the same battery, in case one doesn’t need the full 593 hp on the morning commute.

The 5-Series Touring, meanwhile, would have offered BMW enthusiasts something else and perhaps something far rarer in this day and age than electric station wagons: Diesel station wagons.

And not just the six-cylinder 540d, but also the four-cylinder 520d for those intent on the full European family car cosplay, complete with a towing setup to pull a disturbingly large camper.

To be sure, this is a narrow audience we’re talking about in the US, but it’s out there.

Among other things, the i5 Touring won’t even be the first instance of an electric station wagon by an automaker with a presence in the US that will not be offered here. Volkswagen’s ID.7 Touring, revealed last year, will stay on its side of the Atlantic as well even though we’ll get the ID.7 sedan here later this year, arriving in July.

the track club

However, there is one glimmer of hope on the horizon in this bleak wagon landscape for those who might want a performance longroof from Munich.

The M5, we’re hearing, could appear stateside in longroof form at some point in the model’s production cycle.

Take this bit of info with a generous helping of imported, large-grain red salt from Whole Foods for now, but BMW may eventually throw the few station wagon fanatics (with deep pockets) a bone in the near future.

Is there demand for electric or ICE station wagons in the US from the luxury European brand at the moment, or is this just too narrow of a niche? Let us know what you think.

Headshot of Jay Ramey

Jay Ramey grew up around very strange European cars, and instead of seeking out something reliable and comfortable for his own personal use he has been drawn to the more adventurous side of the dependability spectrum. Despite being followed around by French cars for the past decade, he has somehow been able to avoid Citroën ownership, judging them too commonplace, and is currently looking at cars from the former Czechoslovakia. Jay has been with Autoweek since 2013. 

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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