The BMW i5 project has been shrouded in secrecy, but some details about its development have surfaced. According to BMWblog’s translation of a report ran by German publication Autobild, the i5 will launch in 2018, not 2020 as some have speculated.
There’s also a question of whether or not the car will even be named the i5, considering it won’t have a body made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) like the two existing i models, or an aluminum chassis. The car’s architecture is supposed to come from the long-wheelbase version of the 5 Series Sedan, which is made for the Chinese market. It will borrow some of its design lines from the soon-to-be-revealed next-generation 7 Series, while borrowing the overall proportions of the 6 Series Gran Coupe.
According to Autobild, the i5, or whatever it’ll be called, will use BMW’s Power eDrive second-gen plug-in hybrid powertrain tech, which the automaker revealed during its Technology Days in the fall of 2014. The whole concept flip-flops how plug-in hybrids operate today. Instead of the electric motors assisting the gasoline engine, it’s the opposite. The car’s electric-only range is said to be somewhere around 50 miles, meaning most trips would burn zero gas. BMW supposedly estimates that about two-thirds of the time the car would combust no fuel.
Performance enthusiasts have reason to cheer, because the BMW i5 could be a real Tesla Model S P85D killer. The gasoline engine’s output is pegged at 218 horsepower, while a front motor puts out 150 horsepower and the rear makes 272 horsepower. The total system output tops out at 640 horsepower.
Autobild also featured some interesting sketches of the BMW i5. If they’re accurate, there will be no B-pillar like in the i3, while the doors could be of the falcon-wing variety, or dual scissor-types, or the front being a scissor door and the rear a suicide door.
Like the Tesla Model S, the BMW i5 will still be out of the average consumer’s reach with a price that would be over $100,000. Still, the company reportedly is setting an annual sales target of 30,000 units.