Much speculation has been bandied about regarding what form the next member of the BMW Project “i” family will take. Right off the top, logic and market conditions will dictate if the car will split the difference between the current i3 and the i8. Further, many of the cognoscenti anticipate it will be a direct competitor to the Tesla Model S.
Given the high-end, near exotic status of the i8, and the polarizing “shuttlecraft from Star Trek” look of the i3, it’s a safe bet that, if the car is built, the i5 will clothe the hardware underpinning the current BMW “i” models in a shape a bit more mainstream in appearance. With that said, it should still be outré enough to attract attention, while sufficiently differentiating it from the rest of the BMW lineup. BMW has officially denied any such plans for a middle ground "i" sibling, but our friends at Automobile magazine have engaged in a bit of creative speculation, the result of which can be seen here.
Looking just enough like the current “i” models to have a familial resemblance, while retaining the three-box four-door silhouette everyone has come to associate with BMW products, Automobile's i5 presents a formidable foe for the reigning electric car champ, Tesla Model S.
The perpetually churning rumor mill expects the BMW i5 to come to fruition somewhere around 2019, in both plug-in hybrid and pure battery electric variants. Surprisingly specific speculations further assert that the plug-in is anticipated to use a 275-horsepower electric motor for the rear wheels, and a 135 horsepower motor for the front wheels—along with a three or a four-cylinder internal combustion engine. A total system output of approximately 400 horsepower is expected. The EV is expected to run a 135 horsepower motor up front like the plug-in, but a 225 horsepower motor at the rear.
Regardless of validty, though, it's still a fun rendering to ogle.