Has BMW just killed the i5?
The BMW i8 is one of the most impressive cars I’ve ever driven, and the i3 is one of the most original ones, so when rumours of an i5 first began several years ago there was reason to be excited. Sure, there wasn’t anything concrete, but the idea of a car that was larger than the i3 with the premium feel of the i8 was pretty tempting. However, the magical i5 never materialised, and now it looks like BMW has killed the project for good.
According to the BMW Blog, which is usually very accurate about these things, BMW has decided to move focus away from i cars, and instead work on bringing electric and hybrid tech to its existing model range.
In a speech earlier this week, BMW boss Harald Krüger said: “We will incorporate all-electric, battery-powered mobility into our core brands, as we have already done successfully with our plug-in hybrid vehicles.
“By using highly flexible architectures we can avoid duplicate investments in plant and equipment and will be able to adapt our range of electric and conventional vehicles to changing demand both quickly and efficiently.”
The two i cars aside, BMW has been pretty slow to the electric party compared to its peers, and the decision to cancel a highly anticipated i model only seems to make things worse. However, it’s actually quite a good idea for two reasons.
Instead of creating incredible but expensive models such as the i3 and the i8, BMW is instead using the prestige of its existing range – which already has decades of public awareness behind it.
What’s more, the move to bring hybrid tech to existing models could also be far more cost-effective. Sure, cars like the i8 and i3 are amazing, but they’re bespoke models and made in much smaller numbers than normal cars.
That means they’re nowhere near as profitable for BMW as the rest of the range – and there are rumours that BMW actually makes a loss on every i8. Concentrating on technology that can be transferred to more profitable models makes more sense in the long run.
The only issue? It might mean BMW won’t produce ridiculous cars like the i8 and i3 anymore – cars that made BMW a little more than another German car maker. And, after driving an i8 for two weeks, I can only hope I’m wrong.
Main picture taken from our sister site, Auto Express.