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Report: BMW May Greenlight i5 Later This Year

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/30/2015 Megan Stewart

The BMW i5 started as an idea for a long-wheelbase version of the i3, before BMW decided to make it into a fuel-cell vehicle. The automaker changed its mind once more, when the i5 reemerged as a cross between the i3 and i8 supercar. According to our colleages at AUTOMOBILE, BMW hopes to split the difference between its two current i models by creating a new model that not only features a more classic design, but will also be cheaper to build.

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To increase structural rigidity and reduce overall weight of the vehicle, BMW will use carbon fiber, along with the new CLAR rear-wheel drive architecture. BMW will also save on cost by reinstating the B-pillars that were taken out in proposals in favor of scissor doors.

Report: BMW May Greenlight i5 Later This Year

The BMW i3 may not have been the most profitable venture, and the i8 features a hefty price tag. So for the i5, BMW will bring out a more conventional design. As important markets like the U.S. and China prefer a sedan body style, the i5 will look like a typical three-box car that is as long as the i8 but roomier than the 3 Series inside. Cargo room will be unhindered as the main electric motor is housed between the rear wheels.

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Customers will have the choice of an all-electric or Mercedes-Benz C350e Plug-In Hybrid First Drive" target="_blank">plug-in hybrid model, while a fuel-cell variant will be available down the line. Expect the EV model to produce 225 hp from the rear motor and work in tandem with the 135-hp motor up front, creating a targeted 250 mile range. The plug-in model will offer a powerful 275-mph motor, with a regular combustion engine to power the front wheels. However, it's still unclear if BMW will use a 1.5-liter three-cylinder or a 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

We don't know much in the way of pricing, but we expect the i5 will be around $5,500 more expensive than a plug-in 3 Series, which hasn't been released yet. BMW may give the green light for this model as soon as October 2015, but we may be waiting until 2019 to see the BMW i5 in dealerships.

Source: AUTOMOBILE

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