Will a BMW i5 take on Tesla Model 3?

Rumors | February 20th, 2017 by 66

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.