Senior BMW spokesman Kai Lichte dropped a few hints about a couple of special anniversary models to celebrate the brand's centenary in 2016.

Senior BMW spokesman Kai Lichte dropped a few hints about a couple of special anniversary models to celebrate the brand's centenary in 2016.

Lately there have been several rumors about BMW's plans to expand the "i" family beyond the current i3 and i8 and it seems this will happen in 2016 when the Bavarian marque will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Asked by Motoring about the prospects of launching an i9 plug-in hybrid supercar, senior BMW spokesman Kai Lichte responded with "in two years" time maybe we will have some surprises for our anniversary" and also "there are a lot of discussions and a lot of ideas for this special occasion."

The i9 will act as a spiritual M1 successor with a plug-in hybrid system producing a lot more power than the i8's 362 PS & 570 Nm output. It will likely ditch the 3-cylinder 1.5-liter turbo engine in favor of a new generation 6-cylinder 3.0-liter while the electric motor will also be more punchy than the i8's, without ruining the perfect 50:50 weight distribution. These hardware upgrades will lower the 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) run from 4.4s to less than 4 seconds.

Kai Lichte was also asked about the possibility of a family-oriented i5 model and responded with "again the 100th anniversary might be a good chance for this." It is believed the i5 will enter production in 2017 and will essentially be a stretched wagon variant of the i3 priced at around 50,000 USD. Due to the increase in size, it will probably adopt a bigger battery pack providing an electric range of up to 200 miles (322 km). For longer distances, a range-extending variant is also allegedly in the works.

Note: 2008 BMW M1 Homage concept pictured.

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