Advertisement

New BMW i model previewed by patent images

BMW’s next i model could be a five-door hatchback rather than an SUV, after patent drawings leaked online

A new electrified BMW i model has been leaked online via a series of patent images, hinting that the eco sub-brand’s next model could be a practical hatchback, rather than a trendy SUV.

While the i5 nameplate had previously been speculated for the new SUV, patents have been filed for all badges ranging i1 to i9. It’s difficult to say which this new car would use, though in terms of size, it looks to fit neatly above the existing i3.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Last year, board member for sales and marketing Ian Robertson insisted no decision had been made on the next i model’s body style: “Legislation means we’ll inevitably have more zero emissions cars,” he said. “We’re exploring more i models, although no firm decisions have been made yet.”

BMW i5 SUV: exclusive pics show 'i' brand's future potential

However, these pictures confirm a final judgement is edging ever closer. They show a familiar BMW face - similar to that found on the brand’s i3 hatchback and i8 sports car, while the headlights are almost identical. The steeply raked windscreen and sloping roofline should help with aerodynamics, too.

The five-door body is clear to see, though the rear doors look compromised in terms of ingress and egress. It looks like this could be rectified by a rear-hinge system like that seen on the i3. Reinforcing both the front and rear doors would also remove the need for a structural B-pillar.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Best electric cars

The floating C-pillar is reminiscent of the i8, likely designed to channel air past the rear flanks. Its rear lights are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, with the squared off tail similar to that found on eco rivals such as the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Ioniq. Big wheels with skinny tyres will help reduce rolling resistance – and thus boost fuel economy – too.

It’s unclear whether BMW will choose to offer the new model as an EV or utilise other green technologies brewing within the brand. It could lift the i3’s recently upgraded battery pack unchanged – offering a range of around 200 miles – or use a system similar to that found on the i8, which uses a small petrol engine boosted by a plug-in motor. There’s a good chance this new model could debut a host of semi-autonomous driving technologies.

Robertson was keen to stress that the i brand isn’t just about electric power, telling Auto Express: “i is about all technologies. We have advanced technologies feeding into our other products, such as the carbon fibre used throughout the new 7 Series.”

What do you think about BMW's plans? Let us know in the comments section below...

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

BMW to make extras like heated seats subscription based options
News

BMW to make extras like heated seats subscription based options

New software update for models with iDrive 7 also includes automatic switching to electric power in city centres for plug-in hybrid models
2 Jul 2020
New 2021 BMW i4: prices, specs and release date
BMW

New 2021 BMW i4: prices, specs and release date

The BMW Concept i4 previewed the German brand’s forthcoming rival for the Tesla Model 3
29 Jun 2020
Apple CarKey launched in new BMWs: drivers can use their iPhone as a key
BMW

Apple CarKey launched in new BMWs: drivers can use their iPhone as a key

BMW will be the first carmaker to allow drivers to unlock their cars using just their iPhone with new Apple CarKey technology
23 Jun 2020
BMW and Mercedes pause autonomous car partnership
BMW and Mercedes
BMW

BMW and Mercedes pause autonomous car partnership

German firms had previously agreed to work together on Level 4 self-driving systems, plans that have been paused following a "mutual and amicable agre…
19 Jun 2020

Most Popular

New Peugeot 3008 could morph into a coupe-SUV in 2022
Peugeot 3008

New Peugeot 3008 could morph into a coupe-SUV in 2022

Peugeot’s next-generation 3008 looks set to receive a radical redesign in two years’ time, evolving into a style-focussed coupe-SUV
13 Jul 2020
SEAT Leon vs Volkswagen Golf vs Ford Focus
Family hatchbacks

SEAT Leon vs Volkswagen Golf vs Ford Focus

The Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and SEAT Leon are all long established hatchbacks - we find out which is best among the latest crop
11 Jul 2020
New 2021 BMW iX3 SUV plugs in with 285 miles of electric power
BMW iX3

New 2021 BMW iX3 SUV plugs in with 285 miles of electric power

Electric version of popular X3 SUV lands next year with 150kW charging and long-distance efficiency promised
14 Jul 2020