Currently reading: BMW i3 to spawn new family car
Stretched version of the electric BMW i3, most likely called the i5, to become new family car

The BMW i3 platform will be stretched to create a new family car, probably called the i5, according to insiders.

The new model would be notably more family friendly, with extra legroom in the rear cabin and a bigger boot. BMW admits that it has already trademarked the monikers i1 through to i8, making it clear that it intends to expand its new ‘i’ sub-brand.

The i3 is just four metres long and Autocar understands that BMW engineers think that by adding just 100mm of extra legroom and another 150mm of rear overhang, they can create a spacious family EV hardly longer than a Mini Countryman.

Creating the i5 is potentially a much cheaper and simpler operation than stretching a conventional steel monocoque car, as the i3 uses a separate chassis. Lengthening it is mostly a matter of extending the chassis’s longitudinal aluminium extrusions. 

Likewise, because the body is made of carbonfibre-reinforced plastics, extending the pillarless passenger cell is mainly a case of stretching the roof and floor sections. Only the rear door structure would have to be completely re-engineered, although the hinge and clamp systems would be unchanged.

It’s not clear yet whether the i5 would need a more powerful range extender unit because of the car’s greater load-carrying capability. The model is unlikely to appear before mid-2015. 

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Walking 26 November 2013

Electric plunge

She doesn't know it yet but the wife might be going electric at the next change 6 miles to her place of work then mainly used locally running the children round. Two car family, off road parking and solar panels on house roof quickly becoming a no brainer. I wonder if I can get her into an EV without realising! How do they compare on car insurance?
Paul Dalgarno 26 November 2013

My i3 in April

I've taken the plunge and ordered one for April next year. Full electric version, to be used as our main commuting car, with an old Picasso as back up for longer journeys and load carrying. Test drive was great fun, very quick car, and despite me using all its performance I got 62 miles from it on a Baltically cold day (and it was the lower range REX version). So the 80 miles seems reasonable. My commute is 46 miles in total, and I'll probably get to charge it at work, so range anxiety will not come into play. Fast charger for home is £315 installed for a 3 to 4 hour full charge. I'll have it as a company car, but economics are hugely favourable vs running my 5 series privately (OK, I know it's not a like for like car, but it is only for getting to and from work in the main). It'll go back at the end of 4 years, so I'm not worried by residuals, and battery life. Cost to power it will be £60 per month vs £240 for the 5 series. It falls in a pretty low company car group in our scale, so I get the difference added to my salary, it's 0% benefit in kind for now, and even when that changes it'll maybe cost £90/month. Overall I'll be £550 better off vs the 5 series that I fund and run myself when all is taken into account. Needed a major think about what I use cars for, and 99% of the time it's commuting or driving to and from Aberdeen, so what did I really need, and what value did I put on that. Peter - the i3 is more than just a box for getting from A to B. Styling is subjective, but I like it in the flesh, although think it might date as it's a bit concept car looking. It's genuinely different and good to drive, seamless torque, quite rapid, and handles well within its grip limitations (better with esp system off). The regenerative braking becomes natural pretty quickly, and I like the challenge to master a new type of throttle control. It's very roomy up front, and OK for medium sized adults or kids in the back, and with a 21 month old rug rat it's easier for me to put him into the child seat. Not a car for everyone, but on a lease that takes future risks out of play then it makes a lot of sense. I won't even try to justify it on environmental grounds because I honestly don't give a fig myself about that, it's about meeting my needs at a low cost and being something that's interesting.
chandrew 26 November 2013

Rear doors like that without a B pillar

I'm sure when you made this image up you weren't thinking of practicality or realism, but the reason that the i3 has rear coach doors is that it has no B pillar. Where do you think conventional doors would hang from if you just stretched the chassis?