The new i3 was unveiled by BMW during a global event in New York, London and Beijing.
It features compact dimensions (a width of 3,999 mm, a width of 1,775 mm and a height of 1,578 mm) and a distinctive design, with a passenger compartment made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), which helps limit the total weight to 1,195 kilograms (DIN kerb weight).
The electric motor powering the BMW i3 generates a maximum output of 125 kW/170 hp and peak torque of 250 Nm (184 lb-ft), and drives the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission.
The motor sources its energy from lithium-ion storage cells integrated into the car’s underfloor section.
The significantly lower centre of gravity of the i3 – the result of the low, central placement of the battery units – and even weight distribution make an additional contribution to the car’s agile handling.
The battery gives the car a range in everyday conditions of 130 – 160 kilometres (81 – 99 miles) when fully charged from a conventional domestic power socket, BMW i Wallbox or public charging station.
This range can be extended by further 40 km with ECO PRO+ mode and a range extender (internal combustion engine) will be available as an option.
Prices will start from approx 36K Euros. Below we report some official details on the design and a set of presentation videos. Also check the full gallery of 50+ photos and sketches.
The use of CFRP in the construction of the passenger compartment allowed to remove the B-pillars, making access to the two rows of seats extremely easy.
One of the signature features of BMW i models is their “black belt”, which extends from the hood over the roof and into the rear of the car.
Another element of the BMW i design language is the “stream flow” sweep of the side contours, which allows larger side window surfaces at the rear and thereby magnifies the generous feeling of space inside the car.
The front-end design of the BMW i3 is defined by a powerfully contoured apron, by the distinctive interpretation of the BMW kidney grille as an enclosed element, and by headlights bordered with U-shaped LED light units.
The likewise U-shaped LED rear lights are integrated as “floating” elements into the large, fully glazed tailgate.
Opposing “coach” doors, coupled with the absence of B-pillars and the centre tunnel normally found in conventional vehicles, underline the high degree of spaciousness and freedom of movement inside the BMW i3 (given its compact exterior dimensions).
The lines and surface sculpting of the cockpit and door trim accentuate the impression of lightness and contemporary functionality.
The mixture of naturally treated leather, wood, wool and other renewable and recycled raw materials ensures that the premium character of the BMW i3 – complemented by the extra allure of impressive sustainability – is something you can both see and feel. The BMW i3 is fitted with lightweight seats featuring extremely slim backrests.
A slightly raised seating position optimizes the driver’s view over city traffic. The gear selector and start/stop switch share a control element projecting from the steering column.
Both the instrument cluster and the iDrive operating system’s Control Display (6.5 inch or 8.8 inch) come in free- standing display form.
The BMW i3 can be ordered with exterior paintwork in a choice of two non- metallic and four metallic colors, all of which present an eye-catching contrast to the black belt.
The interior can be tailored to the customer’s personal style with the Loft, Lodge and Suite equipment lines available as alternatives to the standard Atelier trim.
Standard equipment for the BMW i3 includes the iDrive system and Radio Professional, telephone hands-free facility, air conditioning, Park Distance Control with rear-mounted sensors, stationary climate control and a variable luggage compartment.
Also standard are onboard connectivity via an integrated SIM card and extensive Smartphone integration via USB and Bluetooth, including the BMW i Remote App. Additional options include a choice of navigation systems, Adaptive LED Headlights, an electrically operated glass roof, automatic climate control, heated seats, Comfort Access and a host of BMW ConnectedDrive features.
The exterior was designed by BMW DesignworksUSA and interior by Nadja Aernout (before she joined Tesla).