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BMW will launch its autonomous, electric i NEXT 'innovation driver' in 2021

BMW will launch its autonomous, electric i NEXT 'innovation driver' in 2021

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BMW will launch a flagship model that it calls its "innovation driver" — the i NEXT — in 2021, according to comments today from BMW chairman Harald Krüger at the opening of the company's annual meeting. Details are scarce, but it appears the car will be BMW's most advanced, including autonomous driving, digital connectivity, lightweight design, a "totally new" interior, and "the next generation of electro-mobility."

Earlier this year, BMW shared a bit about i NEXT, a car that will apparently be the flagship of the brand and packed with technology that will eventually make its way down to the rest of the BMW range. But now, instead of being a vague car of the future, we know BMW is aiming to have it to us in just five years.

We don't even know if it will be a sedan (perhaps competing head-on with Tesla) or something more sporty like the current i8, but BMW is making it clear that its current electric cars — the i3 and the i8 — are no fluke. It's in the process of bringing plug-in hybrid tech to much of its model range, and we can likely expect more fully electric "i" cars in the future.

The i NEXT probably won't be quite as futuristic as the BMW Vision Next 100 concept, a car that debuted earlier this year to hypothesize what a BMW might look like in 2116, 100 years from now. Regardless, the world of electric cars is about to get a whole lot more interesting.