The ET5 Touring is expected to be one of the first cars Nio brings to the UK
New BMW i5 Touring rival has been developed with a strong focus on driver involvement
The Nio ET5 Touring has launched as the nascent Chinese firm’s first electric estate and one of only a handful on the market. It is aimed at bringing more space, a strong focus on driver enjoyment and more advanced interior technology, the firm said.
With European deliveries starting by the end of this summer, the ET5 Touring is expected to be one of the first cars Nio brings to the UK – although not yet officially confirmed, the brand is expected to launch here in 2024 – along with the ET5 saloon.
However, the BMW i5 Touring will be a more direct rival, given that one of the Nio estate’s key development goals was to retain the levels of driver involvement that customers have come to expect from established brands, such as BMW. To achieve this, it gets a 50:50 weight distribution, four-wheel drive, a low centre of gravity and a 2888mm wheelbase – 107mm shorter than the i5 Touring.
Driver involvement also comes from powerful motors, with the hottest variant packing a 201bhp motor on the front axle and a 281bhp motor at the rear. The result is a combined 482bhp, 520lb ft and a 0-62mph time of 4.0sec.
This makes it slower than the BMW i50 M60, but faster than the base 402bhp Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo. Stopping power comes from four-piston calipers, allowing it to come to rest from 62mph in 33.9m.
Power is drawn from a 100kWh battery, which gives the car a top-end range of 347 miles. A 75kWh battery pack is also available in cheaper models for a 270-mile range.
Nio will also introduce battery-swap stations in the UK to allow owners to change their batteries in around five minutes, giving the brand a useful unique selling point if it can install a decent-sized network.
Based on the ET5 saloon, the estate offers 64 more litres of boot space, at 450 litres with the seats up and 1300 litres with the 40/20/40-split folding seats down. A further 42 litres of underfloor storage is available. This makes it larger than the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo, but smaller than the current BMW 5 Series Touring on which the i5 Touring is based.
Inside, it gets a dimming and lengthened panoramic sunroof, which, the firm says, protects occupants against 99.99% of UV rays and blocks 80% of the sun’s heat. A 23-speaker Dolby sound system and 14-way ventilated and massaging front seats are optional extras. Over-the-air updates also feature, which allow safety and driver assistance systems (of which there are 23 as standard) to be bought and downloaded.
Nio’s second-generation NT2.0 infotainment system brings a digital cockpit with a 10.2in display for the instrument cluster and 12.8in central display. Incorporated into it is Nomi, the firm’s AI-based virtual assistant, which also features on the ES8 SUV.
Elsewhere inside, the firm has included “thoughtful solutions” to increase the car’s storage and practicality, including magnetic straps from which occupants can hang bags, easy-to-clean fabrics and a removable torch.
“It’s a very beautiful car. It has a lot of interior space, including rear head room,” Nio CEO William Li told Autocar ahead of the Shanghai motor show in April this year.
In mainland Europe, its cars are exclusively leased, either for a fixed period or via a more flexible subscription model that will enable customers to hand back their vehicles with as little as a month’s notice.
Nio launched its brand globally in 2016 at an event in London but restricted sales initially to China. The brand moved to Europe in 2021 starting in Norway, before expanding last year to Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark.
Nio will also launch a second car brand aimed at European consumers starting next year. Codenamed Firefly, it will sell smaller, more affordable cars built in China but sold in Europe first.