Is this what’s going to end up being the BMW i5?

Much has been said about the BMW i5 and its place in the German automaker’s i sub-brand. Many expect it to be BMW’s answer to the Tesla Model S but those assertions were hardly backed up by anything concrete. Now it appears that the first piece of the i5’s puzzle has been revealed in the form of patent drawings filed in Japan revealing a vehicle that looks a lot similar to the BMW i3, albeit with the sedan configuration that may tie it up to the long-reported i5.

Multiple reports have even placed this patent as the first sign that the i5 is drawing closer to becoming a reality. Granted, no details were given about the car’s design, but the characteristics do make it seem like the i5. For one, it’s longer than the i3 and has the four-door configuration that makes it a sedan. The front section looks subdued, but that could just be because of the flat gray shade of the patent imagery.

The angular headlights bear similarities with the BMW i8 while the kidney grille looks layered in some respects. Move to the side and there are a few things worth noting, including the body lines that rise up towards the rear, the somewhat tame wheel arches, and the somewhat surprising use of suicide doors. The rear is without question the busiest part about the patent design. Similarities to the i3 are evident here, including the stocky rear quarter panels and the taillight configuration that sits a lot higher from the ground compared to the smaller i3.

To be fair, it’s not the design we imagined the BMW i5 would look like when we made renderings of the car in 2015. But these patents, if accurate, could be the first look we have of the actual i5. Let’s hope that BMW sheds some light on this because the hype surrounding the car is already bubbling to the surface.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Side-by-side with our rendering

2018 BMW i5 Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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2018 BMW i5
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We never claimed to have 100-percent accuracy on our renderings, and when you compare what we did in 2015 to these new patent images that were reportedly filed in Japan back in April 2016, there are some hits and misses, but mostly misses on our part. The most noticeable difference is the actual length and shape of the car. While the patent does show the profile of a sedan, it’s not as long as we expected it to be. Notice the distinct difference in the length of the hood?

We also rendered the i5 thinking that it would look like a traditional sedan in the vein of the BMW 5 Series. Reports that the i5 would share the 5er’s Cluster Architecture (CLAR) also played a part in how we visually interpreted the sedan. The renderings, on the other hand, show a shorter hood and a stockier, high-riding rear section. It’s as if the patent images show the i5 to have a more sportback configuration than that of a traditional sedan.

On the bright side, we did accurately guess that some of the design characteristics from both the i3 and i8 would be adopted into the i5. The headlights are straight out of the i8, as is the hood scoop. The rear section, on the other hand, features some noticeable similarities to the i3, except that in this case, the profile is much higher and a lot more bloated.

Read our speculative review on the 2018 BMW I5 here.


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