If you had gotten to wondering when the next BMW i-branded car would arrive to join the i3 and i8 electrified vehicles, we can’t tell you. But we do know what form it will probably take.
According to Automobile, a BMW i5 is in the pipeline right now, being developed to hopefully split the gap between the pedestrian i3, and the niche sportscar i8. It will likely keep a low profile, donning a conservative sedan body style because that’s what sells in the US and China.
In other words, no “futuristic rocketship” nonsense like the styling of the i8.
The BMW i5, reports Automobile, is likely to come in both plug-in hybrid and pure-EV flavors. The latter is slated to receive a 225HP rear electric motor and a 135HP unit up front, while the former will couple a 275HP rear motor with a small internal-combustion engine driving the front-wheels. Both forms will offer AWD and torque-vectoring, and the reuse of the i8’s 220HP 1.5-liter turbo in the plug-in hybrid seems logical.
The BMW i5 will undoubtedly carry on using plenty of carbon fiber to keep the curb weight down, and the alleged target for the new PH/EV is just 3,450 lbs. It will compete directly with the Tesla Model S, and as such, should carry a similar price tag. There is, of course, some question of whether the BMW i5 will even happen; BMW AG CEO Norbert Reithofer has stepped down, and as Automobile reports, the new leadership has proven critical of every pending project proposed under his watch. So far, the BMW i5 has yet to be officially axed, but there’s still time.
But we have a feeling that the new BMW i-badged offering is safe under the new leadership. The EV market is one into which we know the automaker has an interest in expanding, and the BMW i5 seems like the right mix of conservative and trendy to take off.