Will a BMW i5 take on Tesla Model 3?

Rumors | February 20th, 2017 by 66
bmw i5 rendering 2 750x500

According to AutoExpress, BMW has not given up on their plans to bring a Tesla competitor to market by 2021. The BMW i5 topic has …

According to AutoExpress, BMW has not given up on their plans to bring a Tesla competitor to market by 2021. The BMW i5 topic has been a hot subject in the press for quite some time now and its launch has been seen as inevitable by many journalists, including us. But a shift in strategy has seem to put the iNext project at the forefront, while the third expected i model took a backseat.

Now, the UK publication says the i5, along with iNext, will arrive in 2021 “with a level of autonomous tech that’s never been seen before.” Yet, their information and renderings contradict the last year’s reports which hinted at the i5 as being a crossover/SUV model, rather than a sporty, four door car. The renderings below show an i5 with design cues from the Vision NEXT 100 Concept unveiled last year, with a fully electric drivetrain.

bmw i5 render 2017 front

However, early designs are understood to have included the possibility of hydrogen fuel-cell power for the electric motors, too.

Speaking exclusively to Auto Express, BMW’s member of the board responsible for sales and marketing, Ian Robertson, said: “Having recently had the final design review, you can assume that it’s a bigger car rather than a smaller one, and you can assume that the packaging for the next generation of batteries has to be accommodated in such a way that gives the car a certain proportion.”

bmw i5 render 2017 rear

“With the i products, we’ve established a few new icons, so we’re bringing these forward. You’ll see this as an i product from BMW, without seeing that it’s the iNext.”

Basically, the chief of marketing and sales hints at a car which will sit between the i3 and i8, with enough oomph and goodies to take on the Tesla Model 3.

“That’s always a telling sign for me in design reviews – that we can see that it’s a BMW. The proportions, the short overhangs are BMW positioning; you’ll see that in the iNext.” The i5 is expected to bring a new approach to interior design and space, thanks to new battery tech. As Robertson explained: “I think the iNext phase will have much stronger volume proportions behind it. If the next generation of batteries are smaller, thinner and with no wet and sticky stuff inside them – they’re solid state – then they can be packaged much easier.”

BMW is also expected to include a Level 3 autonomous technology in the i5, a significant step forward from what’s currently being previewed in the 5 and 7 Series. Eventually the i5 is said to be capable of level four and five autonomous driving, where occupants have hardly any input.

66 responses to “Will a BMW i5 take on Tesla Model 3?”

  1. Crux says:

    It better look good and handle like a proper bimmer. #HateTeslas

  2. Pictor says:

    Asking a human to take over autonomous control in an instant will not be easy in a car traveling at speed. Humans are terrible at multitasking and will lose situational awareness that will be needed to quickly take over control of the vehicle. Ford has already said it would skip Level3 and move directly to Level4. BMW seems to be further ahead than Ford but I would be surprised if BMW doesn’t take the same approach and move from Level 2 directly to level 4.

  3. hinu7ycfgr5e says:

    Am I the only one that think the yellow rendering looks hideous?

    I think the Vision Next 100 Concept looks hideous as well.

  4. Mandy says:

    Are you kidding me? 2021??? Tesla has really kicked BMW’s butt. If they wait another four years they’ll be hopelessly behind. And level 3 autonomy in 2021? By then Teslas will be self-driving across the country. The Germans really missed it this time around.

    • Guillaume Perret says:

      As CDspeed says below, it probably doesn’t exist yet …
      2021 is in 4 years, design cycle for a brand new platform is over 5 years, that confirms my opinion about BMW that cancelled the i brand for a while.

      • guest says:

        They can do with i3 what they did with the original 6er for over a decade, i.e., produce the same body with evolving engineering. Their interviews indicate battery tech is moving so quickly they don’t know what the platforms will be in 5 years. In the interim, they can evolve an i5 from the i3 when EV’s are in greater demand.

    • guest says:

      BMW are a full range manufacturer who are hybridizing their fleet, how do Tesla’s 2 low volume models compete, let alone kick butt?

    • Kaisuke971 says:

      Behind what, where, in what measurement ? In a month the BMW Group sells twice as much cars as Tesla in a Year so i can’t see how they’d be “behind” in four years.

      Four years in nothing, if you expect Tesla to suddenly be as big as Toyota in less than a decade that’s not gonna happen. You’re really underestimating how well established the current big boys are.

  5. CDspeed says:

    Because it doesn’t exist not even in concept form, who can say…..

    • guest says:

      How do you know?

      • CDspeed says:

        Have you seen any spy shots published? It may exist in secret BMW development, but as far as the public is concerned you can’t confirm its existence at this time. Tesla has shown the design, and given some clues to its final specs. The i5 could turn out to be the i4 no one knows.

        • guest says:

          If the new i is like its predecessors, it will be unlike anything else in the marketplace. Tesla go after existing product with alternative drivetrain.

          • CDspeed says:

            BMW is famous for their sport sedans, yet Tesla is making electric sport sedans, while BMW builds a hatchback that couldn’t compete with a Volkswagen Golf. The i3’s design is futuristic while having almost none of the luxury features to even compete with a well equipped 3-Series. If the new i car is like its predecessors, it’ll be poorly equipped, hard to get in or out of, and out of date before the end of its lifecycle

          • guest says:

            Apart from 0-60, how is a Tesla a sport sedan?!

          • CDspeed says:

            It is fun to drive, I keep the steering on “Sport” mode in my Model X. The S and X feel like any great sport sedan or SUV on the market. Test drive one……

          • guest says:

            Thanx, bigger than I need (or can afford!).

          • CDspeed says:

            It would just be a test drive, you could wait to try the Model 3, it’s supposed to be similar in size to the BMW 3-Series. Or if you like Hyundai try the Ioniq electric.

  6. Tomas says:

    Why do BMW have to wait 4 years?
    The Chinese are skipping the fossil cars and go directly on to build cheap electric cars. In a few years you will be sitting in your fossil BMW and be overtaken by a BYD that cost 1/3 of the price of the BMW.

    • guest says:

      The Chinese haven’t even been able to produce ICE competition for the world market, just domestic knock-offs, how do you figure they leap to the fore in new technology?

  7. Morten Krogh says:

    2021?? That’s 10 years too late…

    • guest says:

      Do you not remember what EV’s were in 2011?? At least BMW weren’t stuffing batteries in a Lotus. So much for “add lightness”.

        • Kaisuke971 says:

          The Model S started being commercialised in 2012 in NA and 2013 in Europe…

          • Morten Krogh says:

            I was 1 year wrong….you really got me there….

          • guest says:

            It’s also a 5,000 lb. luxury sedan, aside from the drivetrain there is nothing alternative about it. Across the board, design, production, sustainability, the i3 is the more Innovative product. The more I read, the more I think the premise of this article is wrong, Model 3 is in pursuit of 3 owners. i5 will be something new, like the i3 & i8 before it.

          • Morten Krogh says:

            Nothing? How bout 0-60 in 2.27 sec, 7-seats, only car with 100% autopilot HW, OTA SW updates, up to 630km range, an UI that makes all other look like something from 1980, zero emissions, integrated Spotify (how hard can it be??), an enormous Supercharger network that will make u able to travel from North Cape to Moscow to Istanbul to London to you name it. I have both the Tesla and the 94amp i3. The i3 is a joke in comparison, but an OK comute car….

          • guest says:

            Of those features you list, how many factor into a daily drive? I would still take the i3 as commuter & still probably be home before you, size & congestion alone. Also prefer the i3 on design, thought the S was a Jag XF 1st two months my neighbor had one. Now it looks like a big Elantra.

          • Morten Krogh says:

            With your question you show really how little clue you got…I got both cars and know what I talking about. You have never had any of them so you are pretty ignorant…

          • guest says:

            I’ve been following BMW since 1970, I’ve watched them earn their success. Tesla? Not so much. Maybe if the Model 3 rolls out as hyped, nothing more fun in old age than realizing you’re wrong about something. In the meantime, as far as ignorance goes, do you know what site you’re on? Why would I be a Tesla apologist? MANY other pages for that!

          • Morten Krogh says:

            As I said, I have both cars you got none of them….

          • guest says:

            True, & good for you! Have not owned a BMW since my e9. These days I drive an inherited beater ’09 Accent (automatic!) which I bet would get me thru my Toronto commute faster (while also being lifetime greener) than your battery tank. 0 emissions cannot defy physics & are no guarantee of green manufacture, grid power or landfill. One reason BMW keep winning sustainability awards over Tesla.

          • CDspeed says:

            You drive a Hyundai! And your telling us how superior BMW is over Tesla Lol! See my user photo, that’s my BMW i3, and Tesla Model X. My Tesla is equivalent to the X5/X6, and your telling me that the i lineup is superior 😂

          • guest says:

            No, I took issue with “Tesla has really kicked BMW’s butt” & that a 2021 debut for the next i was “10 years too late…” As far as manufacturers go, BMW are undoubtedly superior. Tesla are a boutique manufacturer of 2 models on 1 platform. Given their history of government support, are Tesla even viable under the present administration? As far as Hyundai, throw in Kia & I’d say they’re a superior manufacturer, also. Can we possibly debate this in 2021, if Tesla are still around, based on the market & tech that actually exist then? Rather than on your avatar now?

          • CDspeed says:

            Typically when people say another manufacturer is ten years behind Tesla, all they mean is 10 years in electric car technology. Not anything else, BMW has the benefit of 100 years experience, Tesla is doing really good, and continually evolving. Also I merely pointed out my avatar, because I have experience living with a BMW i car, and a Tesla. Driving a Tesla feels very similar to driving a big BMW, and despite being high tech the i3 is more like an expensive Mini then a real BMW. Go drive a Tesla, it wouldn’t hurt…

          • guest says:

            Too big. One reason I like the i3, your Mini analogy.

          • guest says:

            p.s. I loved you in A-ha.

    • Mandy says:

      I agree. It’s unbelievable that BMW is this far behind. 2021 is laughable.

  8. TheBelltower says:

    2021? Good grief… way to stay relevant.

  9. christian_707 says:

    That sporty design is one of the most beautiful and original concept I’ve seen coming out of BMW in many years. So different from their latest uninspired cookie cutter cars.

  10. Robin says:

    Auto Express are always way off the mark. Their sources tell them complete lies or Auto Express make it up themselves….

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