According to Automobile Magazine, BMW is preparing two additional models for the i sub-brand: BMW i1 and BMW i5.
Last year, a test mule was spotted equipped with electric wheel-hub motors at the front, and was running, on very narrow tires without electric motors at the rear. At the time, we assumed that BMW is secretly testing a range-extended electric drivetrain and our first thought went to a BMW i5 model. Just a month ago, a report from German magazine Autobild brought more supporting evidence that the i5 is indeed in works.
Automobile Magazine is the last publication to bring up the BMW i5 subject, along with a surprise: BMW i1. The U.S. magazine says that the i1 will be a two-plus-two-seat, short-wheelbase city car coming in 2016. The i5′s characteristics will be a high-roof, long-wheelbase five-seater wagon/MPV hybrid set for launch in 2015. Insiders label the i5 as a stretched i3 with a longer rear overhang for added cargo capacity. The car will compete in the marketplace with the upcoming Toyota Prius PHEV MPV.
The i1, i3, and i5 will be available will be available in battery-electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle forms. Sources say the i1 is slightly quicker during initial sprint, but not faster overall. The i5 needs three tenths longer to get going.
Both the i1 and i5, as well as the i3, use single-speed transmission mated directly to the electric motor.
First BMW i vehicles will come to market in 2013, in the form of the i3 and i8.