SUV

BMW Has Secretly Approved What Its Next i Model Will Be

And yet it won't arrive until 2021.

We’ve been hearing a lot of rumors these days regarding what BMW’s next i-branded model is going to be. What we do know is that the i8 Roadster is due to arrive in 2018, but what’s after that? Yes, chances are it’ll be the i5, but what kind of technology will it have? Better yet, what kind of body style? Autocar has learned that BMW management has quietly approved this vehicle, currently dubbed "i Next," and it’ll be good to go for 2021. Not so surprisingly, it’s going to be an SUV.

BMW decided on the SUV approach for obvious reasons, according to the report, based on the segment’s current global appeal and high profit margins. Also, the recent arrival of the Tesla Model X probably had something to do with the decision. But 2021 is quite some time away; so why the long wait? Because the German automaker wants to take full advantage of technologies currently in development that aren’t ready for production just yet. Specifically, these technologies include advancements in electric motors, batteries, and autonomous tech. BMW already has its carbon fiber production relatively nailed down, so that’s not so much an issue.

Both the i3 and i8 have been quite successful as well, and BMW is still analyzing lessons learned from both models in order to properly navigate the i brand going forward. Point being is that BMW i is very much here to stay and the automaker is meticulously planning for the long haul.

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