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BMW i3 Concept Coupe Evolves the Future

BMW i3 Concept Coupe Evolves the Future

By Jeff Youngs, November 27, 2012
The new BMW i sub-brand is focused on "sustainable premium-class motoring" and "zero local emissions," and the company is preparing to launch BMW's first electric model, called the i3. The BMW i3 Concept Coupe debuting at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show is a design study exploring how the new BMW i3 model range could be expanded in the future, and its styling and 4-passenger seating demonstrate a sporty evolution of the company's "stream flow" design language--one reserved for the BMW i lineup.

BMW calls the i3's electric drivetrain BMW eDrive. The electric motor generates 170 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, and is powered by a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery pack located under the floor of the vehicle. A single-speed transmission powers the i3 Concept Coupe's rear wheels.

The driver can select between Comfort, Eco Pro and Eco Pro+ driving modes, or a Range Assistant feature might suggest the best mode to maximize distance to be traveled. A dynamic range function is paired with the ConnectedDrive system, taking into account factors such as topography, traffic, and other variables when the navigation system's route guidance function is used. BMW says the i3 can cover 100 miles between visits to an electrical outlet.

Constructed of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, the i3 Concept Coupe is lower and wider than the existing i3 Concept, equipped with a steeper windshield rake, faster roofline, long frameless doors providing easy entry to the rear seats, and 20-inch aluminum wheels. The key exterior design highlight, however, is the modified side and rear window treatment, adding a sense of spaciousness for rear-seat occupants.

Inside, the BMW i3 Concept Coupe is equipped with an interior that is closer to production-spec than that of previous i3 Concept vehicles. It is loaded with ConnectedDrive technologies, and for the concept vehicle is rendered in leather, wood and brushed aluminum. Owners with smartphones running iOS or Android software can remotely check charge status, plan a route, find a charging station, and control charging via the BMW i app.

An iDrive controller is present and accounted for, located between the front seats on the center console and used to execute infotainment system commands on the 8.8-inch screen located in the center of the dashboard. A digital gauge cluster is also standard, and both screens offer 3-D high-resolution graphics.

BMW employs sustainable materials in the i3 Concept Coupe's construction. Textured wool, kenaf fiber, sustainably-managed Eucalyptus wood, and naturally treated leather tanned using extract from olive tree leaves are among the many approaches BMW takes with this concept vehicle.

In addition to the upcoming BMW i3 electric vehicle, the company is planning to launch a production version of its BMW i8 Concept, a plug-in hybrid sports car.

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