BMW has already trademarked the i1 through i8 names, so it’s clear that they are planning on expanding its new ‘i’ sub-brand. According to Autocar.co.uk, that could happen fairly soon.
In a recent article, Autocar said that BMW will stretch the i3 platform to create a new family car that will likely be labelled the i5. Autocar‘s source is some so-called insiders, so I wouldn’t say it’s something to bet your house on…yet.
The BMW i3 is a short little city car designed to thrive in densely packed urban environments. BMW engineers would add approximately 4 inches to the wheelbase for extra legroom, and another 6 inches or so of rear overhang. Overall length would be slightly longer than a Mini Countryman.
Lengthening the i3 carbon fiber chassis into an i5 shouldn’t be too much of a chore. Without B pillars in-between the front and rear doors, and with a flat bottomed chassis, BMW can stretch the chassis by simply extending the longitudinal aluminum extrusions. Some testing and re-engineering may be needed to ensure adequate roof support in a rollover (since there isn’t a B pillar to support the car on it’s roof). Or, perhaps, the i5 would have a B-pillar and a normal opening rear door rather than the suicide rear door on the BMW i3.
Either way, we’re curious to see if the larger and slightly heavier BMW i5 will need a different range extender, or perhaps a larger capacity battery pack, or both!
Photo credit: Rendering of what Autocar.co.uk thinks the BMW i5 might look like