BMW adds EVs to new 5 Series, Ford to keep AM radio, CA wants EPA approval to ban engines

BMW | Daniel Kraus

BMW’s eighth-gen 5 Series brings two new EVs

Intake: BMW has revealed the new eighth-generation 5 Series, and part of the package is the premiere of two all-electric models, each dubbed i5. There are two variants: the i5 M60 xDrive model has 590 hp and can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, with an estimated 256-mile range. The i5 eDrive 40 has 335 hp, and an estimated 295-mile range. The i5 M60 xDrive starts at $85,095 including shipping. The i5 eDrive 40 starts at $67,795. There are three other gas-powered 5 Series models: The 530i, the 530i xDrive, both four-cylinder models, and the straight-six-powered 540i xDrive. Coming to the U.S. in 2024 will be a plug-in hybrid system.

Exhaust: New features for these 2023 model year BMWs include the Highway Assistant, which allows “attentive hands-free driving at up to 85 mph.” And there’s the “World-first Active Lane Change with eye activation.” The global market launch of BMW’s new 5 Series will begin in October 2023. The new model has grown in length by 3.4 inches, in width by 1.3, and in height by 1.4. The wheelbase has been increased by nearly an inch to 117.9, a change which should improve passenger comfort, especially in the rear. —Steven Cole Smith

new bmw 5 series electric models i5
Left, BMW i5 eDrive 40. Right, BMW i5 M60 xDrive. BMW | Daniel Kraus


Aston Martin will get Honda power in new F1 deal

Intake: Honda will return to the Formula 1 grid in full strength as of 2026, when the Japanese company will supply powertrains for Aston Martin’s race cars. F1’s new engine regulations have tempted Honda back again, even though it could be argued that the firm never really left. Honda officially pulled out at the end of 2021, despite Max Verstappen winning the Drivers’ World Championship for Red Bull, and is still involved in supporting the energy drinks-driven team through 2025. From 2026, however, Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) will again offer full factory support to an F1 team. “In this project, HRC will design, develop, and manufacture the power unit and supply it to Aston. Aston will design, develop, and manufacture the chassis and other components,” said HRC President Koji Watanabe.

Exhaust: Why the U-turn? It’s all down to the more sustainable racing regulations that come into force in 2026. These rules shift the balance of F1’s hybrid setup, mandating an even 50:50 split between the power produced by the internal combustion engine (ICE) and the electric motors. The ICE unit will also be powered by 100 percent sustainable fuel. “This decision was made largely in pursuit of Honda’s goal of carbon neutrality, as the 2026 F1 regulations will demand the usage of electric power and other [sustainable sources] more than three times than the current regulations,” explains Watanabe. Nik Berg

Ford backtracks, won’t kill AM radio

ford 2024 mustang leak v8 convertible manual interior touchscreen

Intake: In a tweet, Ford CEO Jim Farley announced that the company will keep AM radio in all 2024 Ford and Lincoln models and restore it on two electric vehicles via a software update. Farley said the decision was made after speaking with “policy leaders” about the need for AM radio “as a part of the emergency alert system.” The company removed AM radio from the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning and planned to discontinue it on future products. “Customers can currently listen to AM radio content in a variety of ways in our vehicles—including via streaming—and we will continue to innovate to deliver even better in-vehicle entertainment and emergency notification options in the future,” he said.

Exhaust: Farley’s move comes a week after a group of bipartisan federal legislators introduced a bill to bar carmakers from eliminating AM broadcast radio on new cars and light trucks, citing safety concerns. The bill would direct NHTSA to issue regulations to mandate AM radio in new vehicles without additional charge. U.S. Senator Edward Markey, one of the sponsors of the bill, on praised Ford’s reversal. “AM radio is more than just an essential safety feature—it’s a free, accessible source for anyone to listen to music, news, sports and entertainment.” —SCS

Designed by F1 champ, new electric superbike will cost $87,000

Mika-hakkinen verge electric motorcycle

Intake: Two-time Formula 1 champion Mika Häkkinen has partnered with Verge to create an electric luxury superbike that will be limited to just 100 units. A motor is located in the very futuristic-looking, hubless rear wheel, an arrangement that all but eliminates the drivetrain. Power is held in a 20-kWh battery that can be fast-charged in just 35 minutes and provides almost 220 miles of range. A full suite of riders aids include ABS, traction control, and customizable rider modes. Verge has a U.S. base of operations in San Francisco, California, but has yet to open a dealer location.

Exhaust: New electric motorcycles seem to be popping up from just about everywhere, and are currently targeted at well-heeled buyers. A startup with this price tag likely won’t have trouble finding buyers with a name like Häkkinen on board. Even with the bikes impressive specs, Verge may find this bike a tough to sell without a single U.S. dealer. Kyle Smith 

Mercedes-Maybach goes dark with Night Series design package

Intake: Mercedes-Maybach has announced a new design package for its high-end models called the Night Series. The Night Series package is available on the 2024 Maybach S-Class, the GLS SUV, and the EQS electric SUV. It brings dark chrome styling elements with rose gold details, as well as an extravagant new wheel design and plenty of herringbone interior accents. The cars will still wear Maybach’s distinctive two-tone paint job, with silver up top. The double-M emblem is shot-gunned all over the vehicles, from the grilles to the fancy wheels. The Night Series package will be made available later this year immediately following the debut of the 2024 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class and the EQS electric SUV. The package will be made available for the GLS SUV early next year.

Exhaust: Once a relatively quiet form of ultra-luxury, Maybach is becoming quite shouty. It’s not our cup of tea, but the Maybach folks wouldn’t release a bold package like this without some data suggesting customers will love it. — Nathan Petroelje

NHTSA proposes pedestrian crash tests

pedestrian crash standard nhtsa new
Unsplash | Scott Webb

Intake: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed updates to its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) to include pedestrian crashworthiness tests, according to Automotive News. The updates would add tests to measure pedestrian protection in a vehicle collision, plus test the ability of advanced driver-assistance systems to prevent such a collision, according to NHTSA’s request for public comment issued Monday. “These proposed updates to NCAP are an important step in addressing the crisis of roadway deaths in America,” NHTSA chief counsel Ann Carlson said in a statement. “Vehicles must be designed to protect their occupants while increasing safety for those outside the vehicle, too.”

Exhaust: Pedestrian deaths have been on the rise in the U.S. in recent years, a trend blamed on worsening driving behaviors since the pandemic. Drivers struck and killed 3434 people in the first six months of 2022, the most recent data available. That amounted to an average of 19 fatalities per day. —SCS

California seeks EPA approval for ICE ban

Car Exhaust Pipe emissions
Getty Images | EyeEm

Intake: According to an exclusive by Reuters, California is asking the Biden administration for permission to implement limits on ICE engine emissions, ending with a complete ban on gas-powered cars and trucks by 2035, “a landmark move that could speed the end of gasoline-powered vehicles, according to a letter seen by Reuters.” The California Air Resources Board, which approved the plan in August, asked the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday to approve a waiver under the Clean Air Act to implement its new rules that set yearly rising zero emission vehicle rules starting in 2026 and would end the sales of vehicles only powered by gasoline by 2035.

Exhaust: If California gets its way, only electric and hybrid vehicles could be sold in the state starting in 2035. The Biden administration has repeatedly refused to endorse setting a date to phase out the sale of gasoline-only vehicles. In the EPA approves the request, it’s likely that other states—including Rhode Island, Washington, Virginia, Vermont, Oregon, New York, and Massachusetts—may follow suit. —SCS



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    I believe Ford has even stated that they will enable AM radio on existing cars which don’t have it via a software update. This implies that the AM radio tuner *AND* the antenna are already present and that not having AM radio was simply a software toggle. So any previous statements about cost savings by disabling AM radio were not speaking of current vehicles but only of possible changes to be made in the future.

    Ah, California. Your representatives don’t represent you but do you care? California should not be allowed to set policy like this but I could see the EPA allowing it. Activists are in charge everywhere.

    Someday, the more sensible residents of California may wake up and wonder how their State became a dystopian nightmare. You voted for it, folks.

    Sad to see that Hagerty has become as bad as all the other sites…my initial comment has been deleted…obviously because someone didn’t like my personal thoughts/opinions.

    Don’t worry about getting deleted because what really counts to most is the dollar .If one more of our club members gets deleted all 123 of us will cancel our insurance with them .Then we get others to join us

    The 5 series looks like they designed it more for drag coefficient than style like MB did with the EQS no? But why even waste your time diluting the design, the very soul of a BMW sedan when the estimated range is under 300 miles?? Over 300, you want to extend range even more, fine, do that, make it look like a Nissan Sentra, Honda Accord from the rear quarter shot, whatever, but its not… The M5 comp models are going to need a LOT of add-on attitude adjustment body panels to bolster it’s look to come anywhere near the feeling the out-going M5 Comp gives out. Soul-less, brand nose dive of a design days after the Concept Touring Coupé debuted showcasing that the very opposite may be happening behind the design team doors. All for not.

    Since no one can force drivers to pay attention to the things and people they’re running down, let’s get the manufacturers to design cars to be less fatal to pedestrians. Can’t wait to see the new breed of sustainable, economical, four-door, short-bed motorized pillows!

    The new 5-series looks better than I might have expected. The rear probably looks better than the current model, and the front “kidneys” have at least not been made monstrous, although they are still a bit large. As long as there is still an L6 version (540i), things are not too terrible at BMW.

    Cell phone use other than hands free voice conversttions should be switched off by car manufacturers/ iphone/ samsung whatever. If you’re in the drivers seat/ envelope/ force-field, your cell phone will only make voice calls. I can’t believe how many people text, facetime, facebook, tweet- whatever while driving. Some never look up and just use their peripheral vision to drive.

    Don’t worry about getting deleted because what really counts to most is the dollar .If one more of our club members gets deleted all 123 of us will cancel our insurance with them .Then we get others to join us

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