BMW is reportedly closing in on a final direction for the so-called i5, the first new ‘i’ model since the i3 hatch and i8 coupe were revealed in 2013.

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Speaking with British magazine Autocar, BMW board member Ian Robertson said the company is in “the final stages” of deciding on the shape of the line’s third offering, which some reports have suggested could be an MPV-like version of the i3.

A more popular rumour, however, has been of a mid-sized sedan that would rival the upcoming Tesla Model 3 - itself pegged as an all-electric alternative to popular premium models like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Earlier this year, the UK’s Car magazine claimed that a plug-in hybrid electric sedan would join the BMW i range in the near future, although that report centred on a model closer in size to the 5 Series - making it more of a Model S rival.

The report added that outputs of around 400kW had been targeted, with two electric motors mated to a four-cylinder petrol engine.

It is unclear if the projects are one and the same, or whether the so-called i5 will go all-electric or, like the i8, feature a plug-in hybrid design.

Robertson hinted that an unveiling could occur - at least in concept form - at next year’s BMW centenary celebrations.

“We will look back 100 years at that point, but mainly into the future,” he said.