2014 BMW i3 Spy Shots

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BMW’s revolutionary i3 ‘Megacity’ vehicle is now less than a year away from launch and in the lead up to its eventual arrival engineers are hard at work finishing off the final prototype evaluation. The latest spy shots show the i3 doing a striptease that leaves little to the imagination.

If you're not familiar with the i3, it is essentially a rear-wheel-drive electric minicar due out from BMW at the end of the year.

It's aimed at providing a high degree of urban mobility while still allowing the occasional extra-urban long-distance jaunt when fitted with a range-extender, which BMW has said will be available at launch.

While the i3 retains the stubby proportions inherent to the minicar class, it wears them well, thanks in part to what appear to be large, if narrow, wheels, and a raked, extended windshield. Apparently, so many people have taken to the car's design that BMW has more than 100,000 eager to test drive one.

According to a previous report, BMW is targeting a final price in line with that of a well-equipped 3-Series, so somewhere in the low-$40k bracket. This should get you the basic model, which will come with a 167-horsepower electric motor driving the rear wheels and powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. The total driving range is expected to be about 80 to 100 miles, while the range-extending gasoline engine will help lift that figure to around 186 miles. In the latest spy photos, the bronze example shows two ports, indicating one for gasoline, one for electricity. The silver i3 shows only the rear port.

The original concept version claims a 0-60 mph sprint of under 8 seconds, making it not exactly quick, but far from pokey. Key to its performance will be lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic used for its body.

Charging is claimed to be quick, too, with a high-speed charger juicing the lithium-ion battery pack to 80 percent in one hour.

There is still a little bit of development before the i3 reaches production, but if the retail car reaches the goals of the concept, at a rate of 40,000 sold per year globally, the i3 could be a very attractive option for urban dwellers and suburbanites alike.

Though we’ve seen many i3 concepts since the reveal of the first one in 2011, we’ll finally get to see the production version at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show in September. The first showroom examples should arrive before the year is out. While you wait for its arrival, click here to watch a spy video of a prototype.

Note, BMW is also working on a high-end sports car called the i8, which will be the range-topper of its i sub-brand for eco-friendly models. You can watch a spy video of it, too, by clicking here.


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Comments (9)
  1. This new electric car looks very promising. It also looks bigger than Smart cars, which I think is an improvement (safety-wise). I am excited to see it come to the states.

  2. I fail to see how this is a BMW. BMW has failed miserably to extend their brand into smaller, more efficient vehicles. (MINI doesn't count because that's a separate brand.) Just the opposite, each new version of BMWs keeps getting fatter, heavier, bigger and less efficient. The 3-series today is larger than the 5-series was in the late 80s. Now they expect the public to embrace a cheap little economy car that looks like the Toyota iQ with the propellor on its hood? Total brand management failure on BMW's part.

  3. Umm Rich Shanks - you are missing the point. having that blue and white propeller on thhe hood ornament will guarantee massive slaes. people will be stupid enough to flock to the brand because it is a Beemer, not because it is any good or value for money. look at hom many people bought the original 1 series wagon, regadless of the fact it was basically a 2 seater with 2 seats in the back for very very short journeys for people with less than average siized legs and a storage space in the hatch boot that was smaller than a corrolla

  4. My point, Wizard, is that BMW needs to do some more brand management today... Should have done some more brand management all along... preparing for smaller cars, which are inevitable given the prices of gas, govt regulations, recent consumer preferences. Instead of exploring both ends of the spectrum, they only gave us bigger, thirstier cars. The last M3 with a huge engine shoehorned in there was an example of going away from the brand's roots, which was sporty, efficient, lighter cars with superb handling.

  5. Rich - I will re make my point then using your logic. For every 1 driving purist that long's for the day of the snappy little driving machine with the Bavarian propeller on the hood walks away from the brand, 5 misguided and fashion conscious superficial people with no clue of the marque etc with join the buying queue. It's simple economics. BMW will make multiple times the profit that it would if it tried to appeal to a simple demographic by extending its range. I don’t agree with it personally, but from a business standpoint it’s a complete no brainer and the fat cats in BMW Munich GmbH will be laughing all the way to their multi million pound houses on the Italian and French rivieras. It’s sad but oh so very true

  6. Wizards: you're probably right (if a bit cynical) about the sales potential. Even current BMW owners aren't all that into the driving dynamics or details of their cars: http://www.motorauthority.com/blog/1043671_80-percent-of-bmw-1-series-owners-think-their-car-is-front-wheel-drive

  7. Nelson: I wouldn’t say i'm being a cynic more so a realist. I would love a BMW in my driveway but realise that I just can’t justify paying the premium for a car that is only slightly better than the one I currently own. Your article you have linked proves the point I made about the economic factor. The new buyers of BMW aren’t interested in how well it drives or corners, or how BMW has always been at the forefront with innovations etc along with its Stuttgart based rival. No, these new buyers all care about the badge at the front of the car only as a fashion statement, and that is it. It’s a terrible truth in that society as a whole is acting more and more like this not just with cars but with everything else. You only have to look at all these oh so smart people over extending themselves with loans well beyond their means and when the GEC took hold in 2009/2010 they couldn’t cover their outlays. If you have the money to purchase a BMW (or whatever brand you like) to appreciate a great driving machine then by all means indulge yourself, you probably deserve it. But to purchase the car purely on the fact that its badge is recognised as a fashion icon goes against the principles that BMW (and a lot of other Marques) used to stand by. i look forward to your response

  8. I like what you said. My friends like certain cars because they're "cool" but I would want some of the same cars for the reason of their engineering marvels and appreciation of design, heritage, and quality.

  9. Hey BMW fanbois, here is the next Ultimate Driving Machine. hhahahah. What a joke BMW has become.

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