More Expensive, Less Practical: BMW Debuts Luxury I3 'Urban Suite' at CES

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

BMW will debut a new version of its very green i3 EV at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next week. The compact hatchback has been reimagined for the future — and BMW’s future is one of less usability and much greater expense. You’ll need hired help.

Using the hashtag to underline its presence at this year’s show, BMW wants to display to consumers its understanding of their needs… and the answers it’s prepared to bring to the table.

Apparently, consumers in 2020 are concerned with the lack of of Chrysler Imperial Mobile Director features in modern automobiles. Designed for the chauffeured yet eco-conscious executive on the move, the Urban Suite ditches a couple of seats. What’s left is a living room that’s focused on the passenger, plus a seat for the driver. BMW points out that to achieve this executive lounge space, the standard i3 was revised almost entirely. Only the driver’s seat and dashboard are carried over from the standard car.

The of the Urban Suite is one of work and relaxation. The passenger lounges in an armchair made of recycled materials, and there’s a footrest located where the front passenger seat used to be. To the left of the relaxing occupant, there’s a certified wood desk complete with a desk lamp. From the ceiling folds down a screen, and the rear of the cabin is equipped with a personal Sound Zone. The floor mats are recyclable (for easy disposal once dirtied by a Zegna loafer).

Eager to prove its commitment to sustainable mobility via chauffeured vehicles, BMW has prepared multiple i3 Urban Suites. Shipped over from Munich, they’re presently in Las Vegas. Though they’ll be debuted officially at CES, Urban Suites can also be found driving around the city. There’s even a special BMW app that orders up an Urban Suite for the eco-conscious types of the Las Vegas Strip.

Still a concept at this time, BMW seems serious about the future of a personal luxury i3. The company firmly believes luxury travel of the future won’t have anything to do with a vehicle’s size. Further details will follow after CES commences on January 7th.

[Images: BMW]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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2 of 25 comments
  • Gasser Gasser on Jan 03, 2020

    Wow. It’s only January 3rd and already we have a winner for “dumbest car of 2020”.

  • RHD RHD on Jan 04, 2020

    Smart Fortwo II, or the German version of the Scion iQ/Aston Martin Cygnet.