This ladies and gentleman, is what the production version of BMW's foray into the pure and extended range electric vehicle category, the all-new i3, will look like when the Bavarian carmaker presents it to the public before the end of the summer and ahead of its public premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
While these are drawings, they are official patents of the production i3 previewed by a concept of the same name some two years ago at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show. To see the differences between the conceptual and the actual i3, we placed pictures of the two cars side by side.
Overall, the i3 has remained fairly close to the study, with a few noticeable changes, one of which was to be expected – we're talking about the concept's see through door panels that are absent from the production car.
The other significant difference also has to do with doors, and in particular, BMW designers moved the front door further back and made the rear door much smaller. From what we understand, instead of a suicide-style four-door layout, the production i3 adopts a similar door configuration as the Mini Clubman, albeit on both sides of the car. At the back, the concept's full glass rear hatch has been replaced with a conventional window. The rest of the exterior updates are more trivial and concern the lights, mirrors and the design of the bumpers.
Using a clean sheet design, BMW based the i3 around a lightweight CFRP (carbonfibre reinforced plastic) body structure, which it calls the ‘Life Module’, with the hatchback riding on a predominantly aluminum chassis that houses the batteries and a rear-mounted, 170bhp electric motor.
Final pricing hasn't been announced yet, but we've heard BMW officials throwing numbers anywhere from €30,000 to €40,000 in Europe (equal to US$39,000 to US$52,000) for the regular battery powered version, and a premium of around €3,000 (close to US$4,000) for the range extender hybrid iteration that increases the car's driving range via a small displacement two-cylinder motorbike engine.
Sales of the i3 are expected to begin around in October or November this year.