A near production version of the BMW i3 which started life as the Megacity Concept at Frankfurt last year, has been spotted testing.
Photographs give the best indication of the car’s finished look, showing for the first time the ‘Stream-flow’ designed C-pillar hinting at the show car's clean tailgate design.
The ‘i’ brand, launched under the moniker of ‘Born Electric’, will see the Golf-sized i3 debut as its first offering. It's built using BMW’s ‘Live and Drive’ architectural philosophy, which separates the cabin from the drivetrain. The i3 has coach-opening doors for easy entry and exit, a versatile interior featuring a flat floor and the centre console has been removed to maximise space.
The ‘Drive’ part – the chassis – sees a 168bhp rear-mounted electric motor delivering 0-62mph acceleration in less than eight seconds, but a crucial 0-40mph in a mere four seconds, thanks to the electric motor’s instant torque. It takes six hours to charge, after which the i3 will travel around 140 miles. That range is helped by the i3's clever carbon fibre-reinforced plastic body and aluminium chassis, which help keep the i3’s weight down to a Golf-rivalling 1,250kg.
BMW hopes to sell 30,000 i3s in its first full year on sale after its release in 2013. Prices are expected to start at £31,000, which drops to £26,000 after the Government’s electric vehicle subsidy.