BMW’s third model under its electrified i sub-brand has been revealed in patent images released in Japan, after BMW filed patents for i-cars, bearing the badges i1 through i9

A new car under the BMW i sub-brand has been revealed in patent images, and takes the form of a large hatchback.

BMW’s unmistakable styling of its i sub-brand features on the car, which takes the form of a four-door hatchback. Like the i3, the car uses rear ‘suicide’ doors which are hinged at the back, although are fully-functioning doors, unlike the secondary rear doors on the i3 which can only open when the front doors are open.

The patent images were first picked up by a Canadian car news website, after being filed for patent in Japan.

It’s expected, given the recent news of BMW’s broadening planned electric vehicle lineup, that the car will be a pure electric vehicle, rather than a range-extended EV like the i3, or a petrol-electric hybrid, like the i8.

The images aren't alone in their patenting though; although no further patent images have surfaced, BMW has in recent months trademarked a full range of i car badges, with i-cars from i1 to i9 being trademarked.

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Not all of these are likely to reach production and the filing of some of these names is likely a protective exercise to stop others from using them, but the size of the car, along with the range of badges used means i4 is the most likely. It's also expected that there will be at least one SUV produced under the BMW i sub-brand, as SUVs' growth in the automotive industry continues. Sources at BMW have always maintained that the first i-badged SUV would carry the i5 name.

No word has been given on the standout features of the car, but with the i sub-brand’s focus upon autonomous technology, it’s likely that the planned models will bring BMW one step closer to a fully autonomous vehicle, and will directly rival the Tesla Model 3.

BMW’s rival Mercedes-Benz recently launched its EQ sub-brand, a rival to BMW’s i sub-brand, at the Paris motor show.

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4 October 2016
How uninspiringly boring looking. Looks like an inflated i8.

4 October 2016
The shape of cars to come - Short bonnet, spacious cabin, relatively small footprint. Well done. Now let's see what Mercedes's EV solution will be ( the 6-metre long Maybach EV concept coupe does not inspire confidence)

4 October 2016
Another model naming convention I don't get. Why is i3 B segment sized, 3 series D segment and X3 the size above that? This will probably be called i5 but be a C segment car. Why? Also while we are on it, why can't the two digits after the model number acutally mean something? It could easily be abbreviated bhp. So a 3 series with a 220bhp engine becomes a 322i, a 5 series with 335bhp diesel engine a 533d etc.

4 October 2016
I think this car will look great. Same language as i8 but watered down to suit the masses and be drivable without garnering attention. People here contantly put down plain looking cars, when the truth is the majority would feel very self conscious in something that looked really stylish. The majority of people wear plain clothes that blend in, live in plain houses that blend in, yet want a stylish car that stands out? Nope, not how it works.

4 October 2016
BMW has stolen a march over its compatriot car makers with the i sub brand.

4 October 2016

The only good thing with the future BMW, it's that they can drive you when you will be drunk.

Freude am fahren.

5 October 2016
Looks just like any other upcoming EV. Especially that D-pilar, ugh!

5 October 2016
BMW has been known for a car with luxury and horsepower\power features, this car has neither. Not sure how this impacts their brand.

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