Executive: BMW not thinking about “i” brand SUV image

Despite the fact that in addition to the electric i3 and hybrid i8 BMW is now working hard at expanding the sub brand’s line-up, a company official has ruled out adding an SUV to its low-emissions i-badge vehicles.

The company has trademarked model names ranging from i1 to i9, but according to the i3’s project manager, Roland Kowalski, even though each designation could potentially be covered, SUVs didn’t fit the brand.

“It may be possible [to have every i number] but for now we have the i3 and the i8,” said Kowalski. “We’re thinking about a few options. But we have time [to bring it to market]. We’re not thinking about SUV on i models. For BMW i we are talking about an urban concept for megacities. The thing with the SUVs is nobody, more than 90 per cent, needs four-wheel drive for the city. The SUV trend is only a thing about the space or the roominess.”

Kowalski says the i3 offers the interior space of a 3 Series mid-sized sedan on the wheelbase of a 1 Series hatchback.

BMW’s vice-president of functional integration and driving dynamics, Jos van As, said the decision to start the i brand with an i3 and i8 was designed to allow freedom for more models.

“If you start with i1, what do you do if you want to make a smaller car? A 0.5?” said van As. “I think they did it to leave space for something if we want to do something different. And that’s something we’re developing. With the separate i [brand] we take a very deliberate step in one direction if the world is moving towards less emissions, [problems with] petrol availability, etc.”

A UK car magazine recently reported one of the options being considered by BMW is an i5 model that would take the form of a sedan or crossover-style vehicle offering more cabin space than the i3, as BMW’s choice of starting with an i3 and i8 certainly gives the company options to go smaller than the i8 and fill a sizeable gap between the city car and supercar.

Via Car Advice