BMW i5 coming in 2016?

The i5 will reportedly ride on a stretched i3 platform.

A new report indicates BMW will expand its environmentally-friendly i sub-brand with a family-oriented model called i5. The i5 will go head-to-head against the upcoming Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive.

Designed to fill the gaping abyss that separates the i3 city car and the i8 sports car, the i5 will adopt a lengthened version of the i3's all-aluminum platform in order to provide the rear passengers with over four inches of extra legroom and a generous amount of cargo space. The i5 will retain its smaller sibling's carbon fiber safety cell while gaining a B-pillar and a set of conventional front-hinged rear doors.

Mechanically, the i5 will follow the path blazed by the i3 and come standard with an all-electric drivetrain consisting of a rear-mounted electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack located under the floor. The i5 will be able to drive for up to 200 miles on a single charge, and customers after more range will have the option of ordering a small gasoline-burning range extender that will kick in for short distances when the battery is low on juice.

Look for the BMW i5 to bow as a thinly-veiled concept at a major European auto show next year. Car & Driver reports it will land in showrooms across the globe in late 2016 with a base price of approximately $50,000.

What's Next?BMW recently trademarked the nameplates i1 through i8, and we wouldn't be surprised to see the i sub-brand grow into a full-fledged lineup covering a wide spectrum of body styles over the coming decade.

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