If you’ve ever wondered why BMW’s upcoming 2014 all-electric i3 mini car and 2014 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car are numbered the way they are, it’s because BMW plans to fill in the gaps with other plug-in models in future years.
We all know that the BMW i3 and i8 are due in less than twelve months, but after that, no-one knows for sure what BMW plans to launch next.
Except German auto magazine Autobild, which claims BMW’s next plug-in car will be a range-extended MPV known as the 2015 BMW i5.
According to Autobild, the rear-wheel drive i5 would be powered primarily by a 170 horsepower (126 kW) electric motor, with a small three-cylinder, 90 horsepower engine providing range-extended capabilities.
Designed to be an up-market luxury MPV, the 2015 BMW i5 would combine the practicality of a range-extended plug-in hybrid with the premium feel of a BMW.
BMW i3 and i8 preview, New York City, November 2011, photo by Tom Moloughney
BMW i3 and i8 preview, New York City, November 2011, photo by Tom MoloughneyEnlarge Photo
As Motorauthority explains, Autobild’s claims contradict everything we’d previous heard about the BMW i5. Specifically, that it would be a premium four-door coupe similar in size to the current generation BMW 5-Series.
If true, the rumor would also prove that BMW’s 5-Series Plug-in Hybrid Prototype -- which debuted at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show and is destined exclusively for the Chinese market -- won’t share any design similarities with the 2015 BMW i5.
Other unconfirmed rumors indicate that BMW is working on other i-range vehicles, with a view to launch both a lightweight sports car, and an all-electric city scooter in coming years.