3.12.2012 BMW reveals new i3 Concept Coupe
The concept BMW i3 Coupe has been revealed at the LA Auto Show, demonstrating the potential for the possible extension of the 'i' model range.
The three-door i3 Coupe follows three other models in the 'i' family; the five door i3, i8 and i8 Spider. All of which have been touted as ground-breaking electric vehicles.
The i3 Coupe features a striking exterior which is a continuation of the BMW i 'stream flow' design which is reflected in the side window styling – it has no B-pillar.
Like the other models in the 'i' series, the new coupe prides itself on being 'connected'. In fact, thanks to the inclusion of BMW Connected Drive it is the ‘World’s first fully networked electric vehicle’. In collaboration with the owner’s smartphone, BMW Connected Drive enables the i3 coupe to obtain navigation information, access to Google, speed information and parking assistance.
As with the five-door i3 the new Coupe is designed in two halves, a design dubbed 'LifeDrive architecture'; a 'passenger cell' comprised of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic, sits atop a Drive module (which houses the electric power-train and batteries) made almost exclusively of aluminium. This two-fold design allows the 'i' series to save on weight and boost efficiency, an important consideration when constructing an EV.
Excepting the new radical design, the i3 Coupe features the same 168 bhp electric motor, single-speed gearbox and lithium-ion battery pack the five-door model does. However, customers will have the option to include a range-extending petrol engine with their order, an addition that would not affect the overall look of the car.
Of course, energy saving was an important consideration when designing the cars in the 'i' range and as a result, the cockpit features a 'Driving Experiencing Control' which offers three driving modes: Comfort, Eco Pro and Eco Pro+. It is reported that in the most efficient Eco Pro+ mode, the electric car has a range of 100 miles.
Official performance reports have yet to surface, but mechanical similarity with the five-door model suggests that it will accelerate from 0-62 mph in under 8.0 seconds and hit a top speed of 93 mph. However, in Eco Pro+ mode, the top speed will be limited to 56 mph in an attempt to conserve energy and extend range.
Though BMW has yet to confirm the price of the i3 Coupe, which will go on sale in 2014, it is expected to cost the same as the £30,000 i3 (including £5,000 government grant).
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