Alleged patent drawings of a BMW model rumored to be called an i5 have surfaced.
The drawings were discovered by Autoguide and are claimed to have been filed by BMW with a patent office in Japan in April of this year.
It’s been rumored since 2012 that BMW would eventually plug the gap between the i3 and i8 in its eco-focused i sub-brand. The rumors have covered everything from a stretched i3 to an SUV to a Tesla [NSDQ:TSLA] Model S-rivaling luxury sedan. All BMW is willing to state is that its next i car will be a family-oriented model.
The patent drawings, if accurate, suggest BMW’s design team may be suffering from Prius envy. The depicted car combines the already questionable looks of the i sub-brand with the form factor of an elongated hatch. It certainly isn’t pretty, and that sloping roof at the rear certainly doesn’t look practical in terms of space.
Crucially, the next i car isn’t expected to be a pure electric. It isn’t even expected to be an extended-range electric. Instead, it will likely be a plug-in hybrid, like the i8. BMW has said that it’s next standalone electric car won’t arrive until 2021. However, before then, the automaker will launch electric versions of regular models like the X3 and some Minis.