BMW Reveals New i3, but It’s Not for Us
BMW introduces the new i3 eDrive35L in China, based on the long-wheelbase 3-series sedan, as an indirect replacement to the i3 hatch.At the moment BMW offers the i4 in the US and Europe, making it unlikely the i3 will appear outside of China.The i3 sedan features a 66.1-kWh battery, with a single motor out back producing 282 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.BMW has unveiled a new i3 this week, but it’s probably not what you think. Instead of being a successor to the innovative bubble car of the past decade, this new i3 is based rather directly on the current generation BMW 3-Series, and it will be built and sold solely in China for now. And not just any 3-Series, but the longer-wheelbase version that had been popular in China along with other midsize luxury sedans stretched at the B-pillar. Related Story BMW Starts Building the i4 Tesla-Fighter The model is set to enter production in May of this year at BMW’s joint venture with Chinese automaker Brilliance. “With an 11 cm [4.3 inch] longer wheelbase than a standard 3-Series, the BMW i3 eDrive35L combines a premium rear-seat experience with locally emission-free driving,” the automaker notes. “At the same time, the all-electric four-door sedan offers all the sporty driving dynamics, long-distance comfort, and wide range of individualization options for which the BMW 3-Series is so well known.”Badged as the BMW i3 eDrive35L, the electric 3-Series will draw power from a 66.1-kWh battery, with a single motor out back producing 282 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. This will be enough to make the jog from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, so it won’t be too ludicrous off the line, instead majoring in efficiency. BMW says that the i3 will offer a range 327 miles in China’s very optimistic CLTC cycle. Related Story BMW Previews What Could Be Its Best-Selling EV With the 81.5-kWh BMW i4 having landed in the US this spring, EV shoppers probably won’t be clamoring for a rear-wheel drive i3 with its 66.1-kWh battery. But the concept of a 3-Series with a smaller battery and less power than a rear-wheel drive i4 could perhaps be mildly compelling if it were offered at a significant discount compared to the rear-wheel drive i4. At least on paper.Even with the iX1 on the way, at some point BMW’s lineup could benefit from a less pricey electric sedan with a more modest range to serve as a base model in Europe or in the US, given the trajectory of EV prices at the moment.
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