The first model of BMW’s highly ambitious “i” progamme is the i3 five-door hatchback, which was caught by our scoop photographers undergoing hot weather testing in Southern Europe.
The prototype pictured here with the “Hybrid Test Vehicle” decal on the tailgate is believed to be the so called “REX” version equipped with a normally-aspirated 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that acts as a range extender charging the battery to generate extra miles.
As with the pure-electric plug-in version that will also be available at launch, the i3 REX will rely on a 168hp (170PS) electric motor mounted under the boot floor to drive the rear wheels.
Like the i8 sports coupe, the i3 is based around a lightweight CFRP (carbonfibre reinforced plastic) body structure named the ‘Life Module’, while riding on an aluminum intensive chassis.
The i3 will measure just under 3.9 meters (153 inches) in length and will keep the i3 Concept‘s key styling elements such as the suicide-style rear doors and the shape of the roof.
According to the Bavarian automaker, the new i3 will roll off its production line at the Leipzig plant in Germany towards the end of 2013.
Photo Credits; CarPix for CarScoop