Is this the i5 we've been waiting for or something else entirely?
Images of BMW's newest i vehicle have surfaced online, straight from Japan's patent offices. Maybe BMW leaked these images intentionally as it didn't want Mercedes and its EQ sub-brand to steal all of its eco-car thunder? Regardless of who they were leaked, Auto Guide was the outlet that got them first, and the result is that we now have a pretty good idea as to what the next BMW from the future will look like. We've been waiting for a new BMW i to drop sometime soon, and this is probably the next one we'll see.
As Autocar pointed out, BMW has also patented every moniker between i1 and i9, meaning that the German automaker is likely readying a full-on assault of electric and hybrid cars. We're not too sure which of the i vehicles this car will be, but it could be the i4 or i5. The i5 may be an SUV-like EV that will go against the Tesla Model X, and with the tall roofline and strange looking (by that we mean ugly) lifted rear, this could be the Model X-fighter we're all expecting. Alternatively, it could be the i4, expected to be a car that brings more space and practicality to the i3. Given that we don't know its dimensions, the design also appears to be aimed at the Tesla Model 3 as it looks like it could be small enough to compete with the automaker's entry-level model.
It also looks like this car gets the suicide doors off of the i3 since the rear door handle is at the front of the door. Luckily it appears that buyers will be able to open the rear doors without first opening the front, something that is impossible on the i3. We can easily see BMW turning this into an electric car with a gasoline range extender like the i3 or even using a hybrid setup like was done on the i8, but given that customers will probably want a more direct competitor to Tesla, the automaker could go ahead and make this run off of pure battery juice. We'll probably have to wait until sometime in 2020 to buy one, but a reveal should happen a bit sooner than that. If the rumors are correct, then it may even drive itself. Images via Auto Express.