BMW patented images of what look to be the production version of the i5
BMW chairman Harald Krüger ahead of the covered i5
BMW has revealed a new, electrically powered four-door concept at the Frankfurt motor show, confirming that it will see production as the third model in its i brand line-up. Called the i Vision Dynamics, the new saloon is claimed to possess a 0-62mph time of less than four seconds, a top speed in excess of 120mph and a zero-emission range of up 372 miles.
Due to reach showrooms in 2021, the production version of the i Vision Dynamics is set to take the i5 name, bridging a gap in the i brand line-up between the smaller electrically powered i3 and the petrol-electric hybrid i8.
“With the BMW i Vision Dynamics we are showcasing how we envisage future electric mobility between the i3 and i8: a dynamic and progressive, four-door gran coupé,” said BMW chairman Harald Krüger. "We are electrifying the heart of the BMW brand."
Various design cues are borrowed from the early Vision Next concept revealed in 2016 as part of the German car maker’s 100th anniversary celebrations, including a bold kidney grille and distinctive hockey stick shaped headlamp graphics, and heavily contoured bonnet at the front.
The glasshouse features a heavily angled windscreen and reaches well back towards the rear, giving the i Vision a short boot deck typical of BMW saloon models that is bookmarked by heavily sculptured tail lamps with a flowing signature look. The sizeable wheel wells houses 22-inch wheels.
At 4800mm in length, 1933mm in width and 1387mm in height, the i Vision Dynamics is 167mm longer, 122mm wider and 42mm lower than today’s sixth-generation 3-series. A long wheelbase also provides for short overhangs aimed at maximising interior space.
“With the i3 and i8 we have designed a city car and a sports car,” says BMW design boss, Adrian van Hooydonk. “Now we are therefore demonstrating how the product range and the design language of BMW i can be evolved further into other concepts.”
Although the new car is very conceptual in nature, BMW says early engineering work on the production version of the i Vision Dynamics has already begun.
BMW’s new electric saloon has a low and sporting silhouette with an overall length similar to that of today’s 3-Series saloon. Various design cues are borrowed from the early Vision Next 100 concept revealed in 2016 as part of the German car maker’s 100th anniversary celebrations, including a bold kidney grille, distinctive hockey stick-shaped headlight graphics and a heavily contoured bonnet.
“With the i3 and i8 we have designed a city car and a sports car,” said BMW design boss Adrian van Hooydonk. “Now we are therefore demonstrating how the product range and the design language of BMW i can be evolved further into other concepts.”
Commenting on the technical aspects of the new i model, BMW R&D boss Klaus Fröhlich said: “The i model we have planned for launch in 2021 will incorporate our fifth-generation battery electric system – a step that will take us to the next level.”
BMW’s next-generation electric power system has been conceived around a new generation of battery cells and electric motors, providing what Fröhlich describes as “a big leap in energy density and overall range” over that of the existing i3.
Autocar can also confirm plans by BMW to provide the new i brand model with advanced new autonomous driving technology. Details remain scarce, although Fröhlich said future i models will be differentiated from BMW’s more mainstream electrically powered models planned for introduction by 2025, including the upcoming Mini Electric and X3 Electric, by innovative technology such as Level 3 and Level 4 autonomous driving systems.
“We’re going for a top-down approach on autonomous driving technology'" Frölich added. "We want to understand Level 5 first. It will likely arrive in 2025.
“By 2025, we will offer 25 electrified vehicles - 12 will be fully electric."
The i Vision Dyanmcis lands alongside other new BMW models in Frankfurt, including an electric-powered Mini. Also under development at BMW is an electric-powered version of the new third-generation X3 and a range-topping i brand model known under the working title iNext.
At the presentation of the new i brand concept, Fröhlich said it was separate to the iNext: “They are two completely different models.”
The iNext builds off the Vision Next 100 and is set to take the form of a high-riding crossover-style SUV, according to BMW sources who also suggest it will receive the i7 name.
Development boss Fröhlich said the brand's shift to electric comes at a time when public opinion of car makers is low. In an apparent nod to the Volkswagen dieselgate scandal, he said: "The actions of some have severely compromised the credibility and trustworthiness of our industry. As a result, we now face tighter – and sometimes irrational – approaches to legislation. Around the world, regulations on fuel consumption, emissions and safety are changing faster than ever before".
BMW is investing €200 million (£181m) into a battery research and development facility so it can control the production and supply of its batteries in-house.
— BMW (@BMW) September 12, 2017