Next BMW i-Series May Arrive As Early As 2018

BMW recently said the next i-series was only in the early stages of development – with deliveries set for 2020 – but a new report says consumers may see its appearance two years earlier.

Rumors and snippets surrounding BMW’s i-series have generated plenty of speculation in recent weeks. A clearer image of the sedan may be starting to emerge, according to an article in the German magazine Autobild.

The magazine reports that BMW plans to release its new hybrid by 2018, two years ahead of schedule. The i5, as it’s tentatively being called, will be a plug-in hybrid sedan priced around 100,000 euros ($106,000).

The new BMW i5 may have similar proportions to the Gran Coupe pictured here.

The new BMW i5 may have similar proportions to the Gran Coupe pictured here.

Proportions will be similar to a 6-series Gran Coupe, with tech elements from the 5-series sedan and a design that draws on the 7-series.

It doesn’t sound as though BMW will be pulling a powertrain from either the battery-electric i3 or the plug-in sports car i8 (pictured above), the carmakers two other i-series models. Instead, BMW may be trying to create a sedan powerful enough to compete with electric sports cars like the high-performance Tesla Model S P85D.

The hybrid setup on the i5, said Autobild, will include a 218 horsepower gasoline engine that kicks in when the car accelerates over 37 mph. A 150 horsepower electric motor will mount at the front of the car, with a second 272 horsepower electric motor in the rear.

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The i5’s total system output of 640 horsepower has the potential to outpace BMW’s i8 (rated at 357 horsepower) but will come in under the P85D’s 691 horsepower.

The all-electric range for the i5 is estimated around 78 miles, similar to the i3’s 81-mile range.

BMW is planning on building 30,000 i5s per year, according to Autobild, with deliveries set only for U.S. and Chinese markets.