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In August, BMW essentially confirmed that a third model was set to join the BMW i line-up, which is currently made up of the all-electric i3 hatch and the plug-in hybrid i8 sports car. The new car will sit between the two existing models, and it was reported earlier that the automaker was on the brink of confirming the body style of the vehicle, rumoured to be called the i5.

Initially, options were said to have been narrowed down to either a stretched i3 that would resemble an MPV or a proper sedan-type offering, to compete against Tesla. Rendering expert Theophilus Chin even came up with the notion of the i5 as a compact hatchback (above).

Now, Auto Express is saying that the new i car could well be neither, but an SUV – according to the publication, sources from within Munich have intimated that an SUV is likely the bodystyle favoured by BMW’s bosses.

The report adds that with SUV sales continuing to grow globally, especially in China, the German automaker is tipping the new car to head that direction. It has also been studying Tesla’s success, including the demand for the American carmaker’s new Model X SUV.

There’s still no confirmation as to the i5’s propulsion system and whether it will be a full-electric vehicle like the i3 or a plug-in hybrid like the i8, but indications are already pointing to it heading the PHEV route. Some reports have also suggested that BMW may be considering hydrogen power as an option, with the car maker knowingly involved with Toyota and its fuel-cell technology.