BMW i3 Spotted in Production Form

The BMW i3 is closing in on its official internet debut as evidenced by these photos of an early European journalist test drive. With a rural German back-drop, these photos gives us our first look at the production i3 ‘s final trim and the way color will and won ‘t be used.

Look for much more information in the coming month and a public debut at the Frankfurt Motorshow in September. Sales should be begin in late 2013 in Europe and early 2014 in the US.




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  • Herr26

    We have started to move forward with the launch of the i3 with early media drives, in preparation for the launch. We will also be allowing some customers behind the wheel of an i3 before the launch.

    I hope we will see you there?

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      I certainly look forward to it and hope we get an invite. I would like to make this my daily driver so how- I am so excited for all this technology to come to market and truly believe that this car will change the market even more than the Model S. I was impressed with the ActiveE and the MINI E for what it was- now with the technology advancing and public opinion added in the i3 should be leaps and bounds better.

      I am in the process of moving out of my perfect apartment in the city to a new house in no small part so I would have a private garage to store and charge the i3. My city here in Germany still has no public infrastructure for charging in the private/public garages- yet Burger King does (and it is free!).

  • Steve S.

    Here is the SF bay area this makes sense. I hope that it looks more eye catching than these spy shots. The concept version of the coupe looked great and futuristic, this is just looking a bit drab for my liking.

    The infrastructure will take off in the next few years but I would be hesitant to buy this without the range extender because in the case of an earth quake (we get those now and again :/ ) I don’t want to be worrying about battery charging getting out of town.

    I look forward to reading some hands on and have been intrigued about this car for the past few years. Tesla is single handedly changing the world view on EVs right now, and undoing all the bad PR from the Leaf saga. I only expect BMW to do one better.

  • Jack Black

    Not my cup of tea but what BMW has done right is using this EV program to spur development and use that in other areas. My M6 has CFRP and some other tricks. If the program tanks BMW can at least right it off as R&D for other models unlike what the others are doing and heading the way bankruptcy. Shame that Fisker didn’t just keep on designing amazing looking cars rather than build his own brand.

  • matt72

    Looks great but the C-pillar doesn’t follow the curve of the roof and that alone makes me want to wait for the cleaner lined coupe! That said I think that the i3 will mark the beginning of the end of petrol cars (over the next decade).

    • Herr26

      Its deliberate. The i3 invokes a very spatial feel , visual awareness is extended thanks to the all round glasshouse. The best way to describe the i3 is like modern architecture in car design. Its futuristic because it is meant to subscribe to a potential future and that description is everywhere on the car. Lets get this clear this is not an electric 1er this is all new and a completely individual from the current portfolio concept.

      BMW have felt that in order to sell this image of a sustainable future they have to be a complete turn from the current cars unlike VAG who have abandoned individual electric mobility by producing an electric variant of the Audi A3Sportback. In Europe you have a choice for that model. The i3 is not going to be like an i3 20i or and i318d.

      The BMWi philosophy has been the result of extensive investment by BMW but it proves that BMW is very innovative and are leading the way with the first mass produced volume CFRP body shell. At the envy of our competitors. Audi are so far behind in advances of technology , an aluminium space frame may be innovative twenty years ago but many manufacturers caught up. LED technology has now advanced with BMW developing laser projected headlights . The next 7er will be BMWs most technically advanced car to date and be the first BMW to integrate extensive CFRP construction within the structure , suspension and body panels such as the trunk lid , bonnet , door skins and roof panels. The advances in mass volume production of CFRP has made this possible that BMW will now introduce a new flagship – BMW 8er based on the 7er and feature the same extensive weight loss programme.

      The recent BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso was more than just a conceptual idea for the new 8er as the overall look of the concept has it genes in the styling of the next BMW 7er. The next 8er will launch in late 2016 at first as a Coupe but with extensive sharing with the 7er , A Cabrio and flagship Gran Coupe to mimic the other sportier 2, 4 and 6er lines are put forward on the brief.

      The overlooked point of the BMWi investment is that it is very much rapidly becoming a choice for many areas of engineering. Aswell as production cars BMW have and are negotiating contracts with many other aspects of industry to sell these manufactures CFRP for use in the aeronautics industry as one example. Allowing BMW to recooperate its investment.

      The partnership with Toyota will also share CFRP as will the joint BMW/Toyota Sports Car project which will follow the initial Spyder Stradale idea which eventually morphed into the BMW i8/i8 Spyder.

      Think of the new i3 as the acorn that will grow the great oak , as it grows the branches will expand , BMWi is not just about cars it is an entirely new philosophy . And when these branches expand they will cover the entire BMW group including BMW M.

      One question I am always asked or told that BMW have lost its way. From this point of view BMW took the advantage of sorting out their priorities. If we look at the always looming future legislation from the EC or CAFE point of view. Then the answer is simply within the investment BMW made in EfficientDynamics , BMWi and the BMW UKL strategy with MINI. BMW cars with EfficientDynamics , The BMWi investment and the BMW UKL strategy will take BMW to reach these targets ahead of its premium competitors which allows the flexibility to explore further options for the profitable high end luxury market based on existing and future architecture.

      The BMW i8 sports car will be a one of its kind in its segment. It is not directly fair to compare the i8 with the hyper cars due such as La Ferrari and Porsche 918 Spyder. The BMW not only has different ideas on the same philosophy it also means you can buy your friends an i8 and still have money left at the 1 million plus for the hyper cars.

      The BMW i8 uses a more powerful and exclusive to the i8 version of the forthcoming new three cylinder engine , coupled with the electric drivetrain the car is exceptionally fast , its acceleration can now leave behind the current M3 , the car is also extremely agile thanks to its lightweight body , very communicative in the driving dynamics and futuristic to look at , sit in and drive. Its intended to be entirely different and as soon as you start to drive , that philosophy is highly apparent.

      On the same level the BMWi model is similar to Tesla or Fisker , but with recent developments of Fisker you have people concerned that the rug will be pulled from underneath them. BMWi will be fully backed from BMW so that eliminates that fear some may have with the latest concept of electric mobility.

      I went to Tesla in California , visited the factory and drove the Model S and also the Karma. And by driving the Model S I can actually see why the car decimated US premium sales it is a very good car. Powerful , flexible and adaptable. With that situation you have to adapt to changes , Audis reaction to the Model S sales shows how a new threat has arrived. In which you can either dispute it or progress on it. A BMWi mid sized sports sedan is now under development , sharing the same design philosophy as the i3 and i8, meaning everything will be different and will not just be an electrified 5er.

  • CDspeed

    It looks like the third car has a front bumper that looks more like the concept car. I wonder if the front facia will have variations in design, one for the pure electric versions and one for i3s equipped with the ReX generator?

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      Interesting idea… the ReX is a two cylinder engine borrowed from Motorrad so there will be a gas filler for the small front mounted tank and I would imagine there needs to be some form of additional cooling for the ICE, so it may be very possible there is a difference but I believe that all of these cars are ReX models as BMW has been testing them exhaustively over the last 18 months.

      • CDspeed

        The third car since the front end is still covered could be the pure electric version being that it doesn’t need as much air, like a Tesla.

      • Herr26

        Yes that is correct there is additional functional intake with ReX over standard eDrive i3.

        Some magazines now have official leaked Patents of the new i3 in its final production guise , of course i3 Concept Coupe took the car to its production appearance just as the i8 Spyder reflects the production i8.

        But from initial 2011 Concept nothing else bar the detailing has changed.

  • Frank Granados

    What will be the base US pricing on this?