Our legions of spies, both local and abroad are out on the prowl lately! This latest set of shots nabbed by our European spy photographers CarPix shows the upcoming BMW i3 electric vehicle out and about. It’s thoroughly camouflaged but there’s a fair bit of insight to be uncovered here.
First up, the i3 concept car’s forward-opening suicide rear doors are present on the near-final test mule, though they are considerably shorter than before with the slim C-pillar pushed ahead of the rear wheels. That’s a taste of a Rolls-Royce for you (or Mazda RX-8 if you must). Cabin space looks promising too – you can just about see the top of the rear seats placed a long way back from the driver.
Also surviving the productionisation process is the unique wraparound glasshouse. A more traditional belt line is used but the ‘undercut’ feature has been revised to fit the smaller rear doors. With a detached, floating roof design there is no Hofmeister kink to be seen, making the i3 the first modern BMW to not feature the long-standing signature element.
A fully covered BMW kidney grille can be seen through the camouflage wrap, but as this is an all-electric vehicle, it no longer acts as an air intake. The small opening in the front bumper provides sufficient cooling airflow for the rear-mounted electric motor.
Other notable features are the large, presumably lightweight wheels with a wind cheating design shod with ultra narrow tyres to cut back rolling resistance and aid efficiency. There appears to be some kind of under-body aerodynamic witchery too – note the turning vanes just aft of the front tyres and the clean rear under tray.
Full technical details are still kept under wraps. So far, we’ve only been informed of its all-electric range of between 130 and 160 km, or up to 300 km if fitted with the optional petrol range-extender. The BMW i3 is scheduled for a Frankfurt debut in September.