The highly anticipated launch of BMWi signals a shift for the BMW as a brand into electric and hybrid technology. But it does not signal a shift away from BMW being a mass market automaker. Because of that BMWi needs more than the new models they will launch with in 2013. The i3 and i8 represent both ends of the market. But what about the lucrative middle? Enter the i4 and i5 and our favorite public source for insider BMW information, Scott27/Herr26 (Via GCF and the BF comment section):
Although IAA 2011 is the Preview of the Concept. IAA 2013 Will launch the Production cars and it will be around 2013 when you see the next idea for 4-wheeled mobility under BMWi.
But in the conception of the brand there is an idea of where to take the four wheel products – i3 and i8 will head the launch and when you look at the i8 in particular. It is evident that you see how the Vision Efficient Dynamics has progressed to become more “production ” like. If you take for example the front end of the car – It is very much adapted to modern standards and is acceptable for pedestrian impact regulation. The A-pillars have been more reinforced and under the skin crumple zones at the front and rear have been engineered for production and “real-life ” purpose.
The i3 is more “Concept ” but you can see the direction things are heading. The outline will remain as will the car ‘s quirky “stacked ” angel eye lights an idea which will also feature within the BMW FWD City Car. The Panoramic feel of the i3 is retained , although like the i8 the i3 will also lose the see-through sides regarding side-impact legislation , although the glasshouse will sink deeper and also like the i8 , i3 will be offered with a personalisation programme again with either body color , contrasting color or design CFRP panels.
So what comes next? well, BMW are considering as well as expansions on the i3 (extended wheelbase) and i8 (potential cabrio) initial ideas are leading two further projects the i4 and the i5.
The i4 for example is based on the i3 but uses the technology to sit under a two seater smaller i8 like Sports car, smaller than the i8 but possibly more reachable for some than the i8. i4 would offer a plug-in electric or range-extended electric drivetrain. The idea comes from not everybody will be able to afford the i8 but here is the more accessible offer.
i5 is seen as the ultimate test for BMWi and will be a mid-sized four door Sedan-esque Coupe again using the powertrain from the BMW i8. But expanding on the ideas wiith a proper four door sedan . Although the ideas are on the table such as strong BMWi identity and design elements such as sleek aerodynamics and rear hinged doors opening to a four seater interior.
Both i4 and i5 will also use cutting-edge CFRP technology in their construction.
Although Concepts should appear after the 2013 launch of the i3 and the 2014 launch of the i8. Full Production on further BMWi Concepts should not be expected until nearer the end of the decade.
In the meantime there is a lot more coming , especially on “personal mobility ” themes. BMW wants to get the public “future ready ” with the technological advancements of “personal mobility ” in terms of how it works and what it offers. So when the cars are launched the customer will be “mature ” to understand the purpose and background of the car and it ‘s features.
The teaching process stems from actual customers who specify options in their cars but never use them , even though they are there to help the driver . So over the next two years there will be an emphasis in learning everything about the car and what BMWi offers available via BMWi web site and technological aids such as Applications for the iphone etc.
It ‘s seems entirely plausable to us and a little exciting. Especially the i5 with the i8 ‘s performance oriented drivetrain.