BMW i5 decision ‘in final stages’

BMW i3 in London Stablemate to the i3 and i8 is tipped to appear in 2016 – as board member confirms verdict on body style is imminent

BMW is in “the final stages” of deciding which type of model it will add to its line-up of i electric vehicles, according to the company’s board member for sales and marketing, Ian Robertson.

The German manufacturer is said to have been weighing up the merits of two different vehicle configurations for the next car, which is widely tipped to be badged i5. One car is a lengthened version of the i3 – almost a mini-MPV – while the other is said to be a saloon that could rival Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3.

“You will see more i products,” said Robertson, “and we are in the final stages of deciding what the next car will be and when you’ll see it.” An unveiling to coincide with BMW’s centenary celebrations next spring seems likely – and Robertson said, “We will look back 100 years at that point, but mainly into the future.”

Robertson also admitted that the i3’s modest sales figures are being governed by demand, rather than the industrialisation and production issues that troubled the vehicle at the start of its life. “We see lots of outside factors involved,” he said, “including range anxiety, incentives in some countries but not in others, and the price of fuel [in the United States]. But sales of the i3 are up 60% year on year and it’s the third best-selling EV in the world. We’re convinced the i steps have been right.”

The i8 sports car is considered more of a retail success than its smaller brother, with a healthy waiting list of orders.

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