Technology

Why BMW Believes Its i Sub-Brand Is So Damn Awesome

But don't expect a new "i" model anytime soon.

It’s been an extremely interesting past few years for BMW, partially because of the launch of not one, but two technologically advanced, carbon fiber-rich models, the i3 and i8. In fact, the entire i sub-brand is new, built from the ground up. So now it’s time for BMW to starting planning its next i model. What will it build next? For one thing, it definitely won’t be a fully electric version of the X5 SUV, as some previous rumors claimed. And second, it’s not expected to arrive until 2020 at the earliest.

BMW Group R&D chief Klaus Froehlich recently told Automotive News Europe that his company is "still in the strategic research phase where we brainstorm" about the next i-branded model. "Teams start with a white sheet of paper. They talk with customers, hold workshops, then present their ideas and we decide." And because the i sub-brand is all about cutting-edge innovation that’ll eventually trickle down to the rest of the BMW lineup, there’s no way any existing model will receive an "i" badge. For example, the i8’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain will soon be available on the X5, 3 Series and 4 Series. In the meantime, BMW will concentrate on improving the i3 and i8 while simultaneously working on a third model.

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