By on July 25, 2013

BMW-i3-Leaked-2

These are said to be some of the first production photos of the BMW i3 electric vehicle. In the USA, the i3 will start at $42,275. Pricing for the optional range extender hasn’t been announced, but in Europe, the option is expected to retail for an additional 4,000 euro.

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62 Comments on “BMW i3 Revealed...”


  • avatar
    ash78

    At that price, the grille should have one kidney.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    My gawd, has Bangle been rehired? That car looks like it’s the limousine of the late Helen Thomas.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    As I’ve said in the past, I’m not against the concept of a stubby, quirky little BMW; there is precedent with the Isetta 600.

    Two issues:
    - I look at the painted wheels and immediately think of a Kia;
    - I look at that window “dip” and immediately think of a Hyundai.
    Take both for what you will.

    Ironically, the camouflage of the i3 AutoBlog first-drove last week was covering up all the styling elements I didn’t like!

  • avatar
    slow kills

    We’ll need a Vellum Venom on this puppy. The doorline is broken and it looks like one car is mounting another from the rear.
    I’m sure it’s technologically cool, but they’re getting like the motorcycle in using weird design cues for the sake of being different.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    What’s the EV range on this puppy? How deoes that compare to a Leaf?
    Assuming the range extender costs $5K (4K Euro) puts the price near $50K. Volts can be had for closer to $35K before tax credits. It will be interesting to see how the sales of this compare to the Leaf and Volt.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      “BMW” will do wonders for monotinizing the mini platform, an electric motor just justifies the price (BMW, like they say about Apple, has created an amazing reality distortion field, but the product has to back that up)

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Are you trying to say monetizing, or monopolizing?

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        “, an electric motor just justifies the price ”

        Carbon fiber passenger cell on an aluminum chassis with a weight of 2600 lbs justifies the price. The electric range is from 80 – 118 miles. Charges to 80% in 30 minutes with a level 2 charger.

        the European price includes VAT, so I’m guessing price with a range extender will start at 46k.

        • 0 avatar
          AustinOski

          “Charges to 80% in 30 minutes with a level 2 charger.”

          No, 30 minutes with a DC Fast Charger. Very few exist today and they are for commercial installation only. Other electrics charge just as fast on a DC charger, if so equipped.

          Charging on a level 2 (240v) charger is being quoted at 6 hours. Nissan claims 3-4 hours for the same on the LEAF, for comparison’s sake.

        • 0 avatar
          probert

          “Carbon fiber passenger cell on an aluminum chassis with a weight of 2600 lbs justifies the price. The electric range is from 80 – 118 miles. Charges to 80% in 30 minutes with a level 2 charger”

          You’ll have to say that a lot when people ask:”What is that ugly POS?”

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> You’ll have to say that a lot when people ask:”What is that ugly POS?”

            I pick cars based on what I like. I don’t care if other people like it or not. If someone finds the car visually offensive, that’s a plus in my book.

    • 0 avatar
      AustinOski

      I think it depends on how close or far the actual price is to that $42k and what the leases look like. Seems like BMW does a lot of their volume on 3-series lease deals here in the US.

      We’re LEAF owners (and traded in a BMW), largely because we got into a ridiculously inexpensive lease. Tax credits, discounts, etc (I’m the practical one). And, I can safely say I would not have gotten my wife into any Nissan other than the LEAF, being electric (not that I would have tried). Her previous two cars were Mercedes.

      I showed her these pictures and she immediately began rationalizing how easy it would be to get our 4yo daughter in and out of the those tiny doors…I’m sure it has nothing to do with the Roundel on the car. Nothing at all.

      Personally, I’ll be very interested to see how this stacks-up against the LEAF in real life. Assuming we’re still smitten with the LEAF in when the lease is up, I’m sure this will be a replacement contender.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      There is no point to bring Volt to the discussion. BWM i3 is a pure electric car.

      • 0 avatar
        rnc

        As an example of the reality distortion field at work, see how “BMW” does wonders, for the range extended, front wheel drive, all electric, mini.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “see how “BMW” does wonders, for the range extended, front wheel drive, all electric, mini.”

          It’s rear wheel drive. It’s also CFRP and aluminum. I hope they produce a conventional ICE MINI based on this car, but currently there are no carbon fiber MINIs to base it on.

          http://www.bmw-i-usa.com/en_us/

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        Not with the ReX option.

        Which, IMO, needs to have 2x the power in the same package, which for a motorcycle engine is doable whilst naturally aspirated let alone with turbo (and Turbosteamer heat reclamation which BMW pioneered like a decade ago).

        I’d like to see how crippled the car is while limping in ReX mode, since the Volt will do 100mph all day long on non-mountainous ground while on gas engine.

        • 0 avatar
          carve

          Putting the focus on light-weight and using an itty-bitty motor is exactly the right way to go. I like Audi’s rotary range extender.

          The idea behind a tiny-engine range extender is that it can run flat out until it gives you enough charge buffered in the battery where you can summon full-power on-demand. the other 95% of the time you incur a much smaller weight and space penalty (which means you can lighten all the rest of the car, too) and consequently, better electric range. The lighter engine and chassis means you can get by with a smaller motor and battery, further reducing weight and offsetting some of the cost of the expensive chassis, and making future replacement batteries much cheaper, as well as requireing less electricity to run, decreasing recharge time and operating costs.

          This little thing is getting 100 miles out of the same battery capacity of a chevy volt! This is the right way to do a series hybrid.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t doubt the 650 could make quite a bit more power. They’re running it under conditions optimized for efficiency, not for power.

          34 hp should be fine for 80+ mph, at least on level ground. Even reduced by the generator. For steep uphill highway driving you will probably need a “mountain” mode like the Volt’s.

          With a 2.4 gallon fuel tank (required to keep gas range < electric range?), this car won't be well-suited for long-distance blasts anyhow.

  • avatar
    Token White Guy

    A nice break before the release indeed. But would you be so friendly to credit the source, autoblog.nl? A few media just cut of the watermarks and posted tem without link. I guess you found them there.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “A nice break before the release indeed. But would you be so friendly to credit the source, autoblog.nl?”

      Looks like they came from the official BMW site – probably where autoblog.nl got them.

      http://www.bmw-i-usa.com/en_us/

    • 0 avatar

      Those are studio shot official BMW publicity photos. You can see them here:

      http://www.bmw-i-usa.com/en_us/bmw-i3/

      • 0 avatar
        Token White Guy

        I must be blind then, because I don’t see them :)
        And I don’t think BMW would put grainy pictures like this on their official website. I guess people with scoops should watermark their pictures more carefully, the Dutch site only had them on the bottom, easy to crop.

        Anyway, no big deal, in a few days it’s out in the open anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “Anyway, no big deal, in a few days it’s out in the open anyway”

          It’s out in the open now! Just go to the web site. Both Ronnie and I posted the URL. They even have a video. Where did you think the Dutch site got them anyway?

  • avatar
    SteelyMoose

    My kindgdom for a can of Raid!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    This looks like a Mini Paceman and a Citroen Berlingo mated.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I think Toyota has learned of my “hate” for their cars, and someone in Tokyo has declared that henceforth, ANY new two-door trucklet, SUV, or other thingy, regardless of OEM, will have an FJ Cruiser C-pillar low-cut window just to tick “that guy” off!

    OR… I’m just a legend in my own mind…

  • avatar
    sco

    Who would have guessed that BMW would lead the return of the two-tone paint job.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      2-tone is why I got the Volt in Black/Black. Not a fan.

      Except on W126 S-class Benzes. Somehow, they could pull the body vs. cladding 2-tone off.

  • avatar
    W.Minter

    Awesome x awkward.

    Great non-halo car anyway. Love the RE concept.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Suddenly the i-MiEV looks mainstream by comparison.

  • avatar
    A Caving Ape

    Those rims are just silly. What’s the size, 20×5.5? Though I imagine this thing would look pretty ridiculous with normal sized wheels.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Given the price is it safe to assume they plan to not sell many except where they need to for fleet averaging?

    Also, isn’t a perceived advantage of an electric car supposed to be long life and low maintenance? A BMW inline 6 lasts much longer than the rest of the car already. Isn’t buying an electric BMW getting the worst of all worlds?

  • avatar
    turbobrick

    First Intel rips off BMW naming convention, now BMW strikes back. I suppose the next logical move is to introduce a Datsun/Dacia competitor called “Celeron”.

  • avatar
    blackbolt

    Why so much money. Given the choice between this and a Tesla why would the Bimmer be the winner. It would have to be a case of size matters because price surely not.

    • 0 avatar
      Phillin_Phresh

      Yep, I am seeing more and more Models S (tried to do the correct plural there) on the streets around Portland and it always make me ogle. The Tesla is pure pornography. Conversely, BMW seems to be testing the limits of badge snobbery with this abortion.

    • 0 avatar
      AustinOski

      I don’t think there is a comparison. The BMW will be close to 1/2 of what most people are really paying for Teslas. That said, we’ll have to see what leases look like and whether they are also much less. I believe many are leasing Teslas and most/all will lease the i3.

      And, to your size point, that does matter. The i3 is (should be) targeted to urban dwellers. The Tesla is sweet, but long.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    Time to short Tesla stock.

  • avatar
    redliner

    This could have been the Lincoln C concept. It didn’t just get hit with the ugly stick, it got hit with the whole damn tree, At least in photographs. It looks disproportionately tall and stubby. The volt is not perfect, but it looks like a (chunky) ballerina compared to this.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I’d like to see a MINI GP built off of this platform. If it’s 2600 lbs as an EV, what would it weigh with a conventional drive train?

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    This car is such an abomination that it could finally open people’s eyes to the fact that BMW hasn’t built a truly attractive car in a decade.

  • avatar
    phargophil

    If car designers would only keep the beltline closer to horizontal instead of trying to eliminate the back window, dopey design elements like the dip in the suicide door line wouldn’t need to be dreamt up.

    Just think, better visibility, less ugly, and probably cheaper to build.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      If the visibility was good, backup cameras and collision avoidance options would be a tougher sell!

      With this car weight might have been an issue. Glass is much heavier than the carbon fiber the rest of the car is made from.

  • avatar
    MattPete

    It looks like a 3rd-generation Honda CR-V with the current Odyssey’s goofy side window kink.

    BMW has lost the plot.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Crack Pipe.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Apparently BMW requires no formal training for its designers or stylists. I would therefore like to add these improvements – cargo hooks for shopping bags on the outside of the vehicle, placed appropriately, naturally. A stretchy cargo net could also be hung over the black panels behind each front door. The final touch would be a permanent mount on the roof capable of dual duty: skis in winter and genyooine birch bark canoe in summer.

    Mr. CanoeHead mounts are particularly popular on Golf hatchbacks here in my area, so obviously its deployment here on the i3 would be an obvious marketing move to appeal to the hiker/woods trekker type of the more environmentally conscious. Bonus thought: optional carbon fiber racing canoe for aerodynamics, and solar panel hood to keep the battery charged.

    All of these items would improve the looks tremendously.

  • avatar
    mcs

    To me, the styling looks like someone stuck an aftermarket BMW styling kit on a MINI. This car would look much better as a MINI. BMW is pitching this car as a city car – how many attractive city cars are there?

    But, while it doesn’t look great and an electric isn’t for everyone, you still have to appreciate the engineering. Relatively cheap carbon fiber is a major development and this car could be a preview for BMWs future.

    This cars carbon fiber passenger cell on aluminum chassis architecture could very well find it’s way onto BMWs entire line if this technology works. They could potentially cut over 1000 lbs off the weight of every car they have. So, look past this cars styling and drive train and you may very well be looking at their future architecture. This is a significant car.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Huh?

    Also, there’s a tumor growing out of the steering column….

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    To all the people doing the Tesla compare, you are aware the$57K model is dead and entry to a Model S tickles $70K now, right?

  • avatar
    dougjp

    To me, this is the first time BMW has made something that is truly ugly.


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