The expansion of the BMW i family will continue in the next decade. BMW has already registered the trademark for the i1 through i9 models, with the next variant to emerge under the electric sub-brand by 2015.
The BMW i5 is rumored to be more family friendly, with extra cabin and trunk space. Autocar UK says that BMW engineers think that by adding just 100mm of extra legroom and another 150mm of rear overhang, they can create a spacious family EV hardly longer than a MINI Countryman.
Creating the i5 is potentially a much cheaper and simpler operation than stretching a conventional steel monocoque car, as the i3 uses a separate chassis. Lengthening it is mostly a matter of extending the chassis’s longitudinal aluminum extrusions. Also extending the pillarless passenger cell is mainly a case of stretching the roof and floor sections. Only the rear door structure would have to be completely re-engineered, although the hinge and clamp systems would be unchanged.
It remains unknown at the moment whether the BMW i5 will come with a more powerful electric engine, but it will most likely feature a range-extender unit as well.
The car is scheduled to debut in 2015.