Tapping into the Undercurrent: BMW i3 Concept Coupé
The message Classic Driver received at the by-invitation-only event was that in 2013 not only would the Bavarian company have a production-ready electric car, it would actually be able to offer that car to the public at dealerships. This latest concept is a step towards that car, although it’s likely another will be shown next year. Compared with the i3 hatchback, the Coupé has only three doors, a more steeply raked roof and more rounded windows.
The small car was revealed by the company’s design chief Adrian van Hooydonk, at a typical luxury LA location of a white villa set high in the hills above the city.
Despite its small size (3964mm long, 1768mm wide and 1555mm high) the three-door has good interior space, with individual seats for rear passengers and a ‘lounge’ atmosphere.
As a technological ground-breaker, the i3 is presented as the world’s first ‘fully networked electric vehicle’. That is to say that BMW’s ConnectedDrive services are fully configured to download real-time traffic information via a smartphone, ensuring the most economical route planning and vehicle dynamics settings.
‘Under the bonnet’ (it’s actually located on the rear axle) lies a BMW Group electric motor generating 170bhp and 184lb ft torque. The car uses Lithium ion batteries which are stored inside the floor structure of the car – that same set-up as the 5-door. BMW quotes a range of around 100 miles when the car is at its most efficient Eco Pro+ setting.
No performance figures have been released, but one can assume that BMW will live up to its ‘ultimate driving machine’ image and make the car as perky as it is parsimonious.