Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LA Show 2012 Highlights: BMW i3 Coupe Concept

BMW is testing the market for a sportier-looking, three-door coupé version of its battery-powered i3 electric hatch with this i3 Concept Coupé, which has broken cover ahead of the Los Angeles motor show.

The BMW i3 Concept Coupé is lower and wider than the five-door i3 hatch due on sale in the UK next year and is distinguished by a more steeply sloped roofline, deeper rear side windows and slightly more angled tailgate.

Otherwise it shares the basic styling treatment, 2750mm wheelbase and carbon fibre reinforced plastic body construction — the so-called Life Module structure — with the i3 five-door.

Although the three-door has yet to be signed off for production, senior BMW officials say that cost and production feasibility studies have been carried out. And it has emerged that a soft-top version of the three-door i3 is also awaiting sign-off, suggesting the i-car line-up could eventually support up to five models — three i3 hatch-derived models and two i8 sportscars.

At 3964mm long, 1768mm wide and 1555mm high, the car is 119mm longer, 243mm narrower and 18mm lower than the five door. To put these dimensions into perspective, the existing Mini hatchback measures 3725mm long, 1685mm wide and 1405mm high.

Inside, the concept previews the i3’s production interior. Less flamboyant than the cabin revealed at Frankfurt last year, it sports a simple dashboard housing an integrated digital instrument binnacle, a minimum of switchgear and a free-standing, central sat-nav monitor.

The majority of the controls are accessed via an iDrive rotary controller mounted between the front seats. The steering wheel is a basic two-spoke affair with multi-function controls and the pedals elegant forged aluminium.

Power comes from a 170bhp, 184lb ft electric motor mounted within the rear axle and driving the rear wheels through a fixed ratio gearbox. Lithium ion batteries are packed inside the floor structure. This complete powerpack is shared with the five-door.

Thanks to: Autocar

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