FRANKFURT -- BMW will add a third model to its i subbrand called the i5 that will be based on the 5 series, a report said.
Sales of the i5 plug-in hybrid will start in 2018 and the model could become the subbrand's best-seller, AutoBild said.
A BMW spokesman told Automotive News Europe that the report was “speculation” and that no further derivative of the BMW i range has been decided yet.
If built, the i5 would join the battery-powered i3 compact hatchback and the i8 plug-in hybrid supercar
AutoBild said the i5 will have a powertrain that combines a gasoline engine with two electric motors. The car would have an electric-only range of up to 125km (65 miles).
BMW expects to sell about 30,000 units of the i5 a year with the U.S. and China being its main markets. The car would likely cost about 100,000 euros, the report said, placing it below the i8, which starts at 130,000 euros.
The i5 will be based on a longer version of the 5 series currently available only in China and will share some design elements with the new 7 series and the same proportions as the current 6-series GranCoupe, AutoBild said.
Last month, BMW r&d chief Klaus Froehlich said BMW is currently deciding which type of model it will add next to the subbrand. He dismissed reports that the third model would be a variant of the X5 premium SUV.
In 2014, global sales of the i3 and i8 were a combined 17,800 units.