When it comes to BMW’s new i car, alternately dubbed the i5 and i7, there’s been plenty of speculation but very few facts. Now it appears as though more kindling will be added to the rumor bonfires surrounding the Bavarian’s next alternative fuel vehicle. This latest prediction places an i5 badge on the long-wheelbase 5 Series sedan chassis, with a 640-horsepower hybrid drivetrain shoehorned underneath. The new model could arrive as early as 2018, with pricing set in the ballpark of 100,000 euros ($106,570).

Citing a report from the German magazine Autoblid, BMW Blog says the new i5 might come equipped with plug-in hybrid eDrive technology, combining a 218-horsepower ICE with two electric motors, rated at 150 horsepower up front and 272 horsepower in the rear. That means the i5 will be AWD, just like the i8, and should have enough muscle to post some serious performance figures. Not only that, the report states the i5 will have up to 125 km (78 miles) of electric-only driving, while the gas engine can be switched over at speeds where road noise is louder than the exhaust note.

Based on the LWB 5 Series sedan built specifically for the Chinese market, the i5 will draw design cues from the future 7 Series and have proportions similar to the 6 Series Gran Coupe. North America and China are supposedly the target markets, and 30,000 units per year will be built.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW i5.

Why it matters

Most of the talk around the i5 has been pretty vague, but the specificity of this new report suggests it may have some grounding in reality. While 640 horsepower sounds like a complete shot in the dark, the AWD layout has to be pretty accurate. The LWB chassis also makes sense, given the extra room required for all those bulky hybrid components. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long to see what BMW is cooking up, as a concept version of the i5 may appear as early as this September at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

BMW i5

2018 BMW i5 Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Situated between the commute-friendly i3 and performance-oriented i8, the i5 is designed to compete directly with the venerable Tesla Model S, which means it certainly has its work cut out for it. We expect the exterior to combine the latest Bimmer four-door language with a splash of i8 futurism, plus all the right technology, like laser headlights and OLED taillights. At six-figures, that tech theme will continue into the interior, where renewable materials like synthetic leather and recycled plastics will promote the idea of sustainable luxury. And if the i5 wants to take on Tesla, it’s probably going to need at least 600 horsepower just to keep pace.

Read our full review here.

Source: BMW Blog

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