Company insiders have hinted at the four-door EV’s existence since 2014, only for rumours to be killed off in recent times. Then last week, an official statement from company CEO Harold Kruger confirmed the attendance of a concept car at Frankfurt fitting the i5’s description.
Kruger said, “At this year’s IAA, we will unveil another significant milestone in our roadmap for e-mobility. It is a vision of how we imagine a four-door, fully-electric vehicle between the i3 and i8. It is a vision we want to realize in the foreseeable future. And a further step in our commitment to sustainable mobility.”
Following that news, BMW’s press site published and deleted a video about the expansion of its electric vehicle program, which previewed a vehicle looking like a stylised version of i5 patent images filed some months ago, accompanied by a 2019 production date.
We won’t see the i5 concept in full until the show gets underway in the coming days, but from the images available to us there is quite a bit we can learn. From a visual standpoint, the i5 balances distinct i brand details with a design that’s a little more closely aligned with BMW’s regular series production vehicles than the overly futuristic i3 and i8.
The i5 concept’s elevated roofline is borrowed from the i3 hatch and incorporated into a longer, liftback body style, not dissimilar to those of the 5 and 6 Series GT models.
From the placement of its handles, it appears the rear doors will hinge from their trailing edges. BMW uses this ‘suicide’ door configuration in the i3, and by removing the B pillar, it opens up a larger aperture for easier rear seat access.
Reports suggest the i5 concept will boast an electric range of between 500 and 700km on a single charge, though no information regarding technical detail has been released so far.
BMW expanded on the i5 news with the announcement of a strategy called “Number One > Next”, which promises to launch 25 electrified vehicles by 2025, including 12 fully electric models. At this point only a few of those models are known, including all-electric Mini and X3 models, and the BMW iNext, which is rumoured to be a range-topping, fully autonomous SUV for the electric sub-brand.