The response by Australian buyers to the BMW ‘i’ sub-brand has been profoundly positive, with the German brand's local head revealing it all but underestimated local demand.
- shares

Speaking to CarAdvice at the launch of the new BMW M2 at Targa Tasmania this week, BMW Australia CEO Mark Werner said the response to BMW’s first foray into a standalone electrified sub-brand has been a local and global sales success.

“We have been almost overwhelmed by the initial response that we have received from our customers,” Werner told CarAdvice.


Since launching the 'i' sub-brand in November 2014, BMW Australia has sold more than 200 BMW i3s (of which 75 per cent are the more expensive range-extender variants) and 70+ BMW i8s.

“[It] really is promising and encouraging that this kind of technology is not only finding new customers, but also being positively received by our clients,” Werner said.

According to BMW, the average Australian commute is 31.2km, which makes its plug-in hybrid and pure EV offerings an ideal choice for the majority of buyers. The company expects that, overtime, there will be an increase in the uptake of the pure EV i3 over the range-extender model, as range anxiety becomes less of an issue.

Eco-Test Country loop - Audi A3 e-tron v BMW i3 v Citroen C4 Cactus v Toyota Prius-148

Meanwhile, the global success of the ‘i’ sub-brand has led to BMW starting its second phase of investments, with additional models already in the pipeline.

“There is a clear intention to further invest in to the BMW ‘i’ technology - we call it BMW ‘i’ project 2.0. We will see an update of the i3 with even more range and an i8 Spyder, which has been confirmed. We will also see an additional 'i' product which is yet has to be confirmed but it eventually is going to happen.”

The next logical model in the ‘i’ line-up would be an SUV, which rumour has it will be called the BMW i5 (CarAdvice render below).


An all-electric power system is expected to provide motivation in the 'i5', although a plug-in hybrid version could also be offered to satisfy buyers with longer distance driving needs.

What do you think of the BMW 'i' sub-brand, its current models, and its likely model line-up expansion? Let us know in the comments section below.