BMW i3 spied almost undisguised

BMW i3 spy photo 05.07.2013
BMW i3 spy photo 05.07.2013 / S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Debuts on July 29

Our spies captured the BMW i3 testing without most of its camouflage, prior to a full reveal scheduled for July 29.

The two prototypes were spotted somewhere in Southern Germany while undergoing some last-minute testing. Closely mirroring the concept's looks, the production version will certainly be an interesting appearance on public roads once it hits the market later this year.

Upon closer inspection, we detected the side window line is disguised as a straight line, but once the car will lose all its camo it will reveal the side windows of the rear doors will actually be lower than the ones of the front doors. We assume the silver car is the pure electric model while the bronze one is the range-extending version since it has two caps. The two variants can also be distinguished by their different alloy wheels.

The EV is expected to come with a rear-mounted electric motor producing 170 bhp (127 kW) and 184 lb-ft (249 Nm). It should provide a range between 88 miles (130 km) and 99 miles (160 km). The range-extending model is said to make use of a two-cylinder, 0.65-liter motorcycle engine acting as a generator. In this configuration range should be of around 186 miles (300 km).

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Comments (33)

DocBones DocBones
This is a short range city car great for parking and visibility. Why are you all acting like it should look like more than it is? All these type cars look roughly the same little cute stubby shape. This car goes with Smart, prius, etc. Not 3 or 5 series. Not to mention this is a sub brand, a way to navigate and experiment with new tech that will translate to big brother down the road. Keep it in context.
Jul 6th, 2013 6:53pm
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RomanKadler RomanKadler
Sorry BMW but this looks like a plastic toy, I would never buy such a thing (especially not for the money it will cost). I like the concept of looking different than other cars, but this just doesn't look good.
Jul 5th, 2013 6:25pm
2 1
Giom Giom
I'm always fascinated at the amount of negative comments any new product receive. Specially new BMW models. Then, ten years later, when that model has been a huge success, everybody has forgotten about the initial hype. Just saying...
Jul 5th, 2013 4:13pm
4 3
CDspeed CDspeed
Exactly, you hear people say BMW has gone mad and the car is ugly, but BMW almost always finds a ton of people who like the car, and then the model ends up being successful. I remember when the first X5 came out car enthusiasts were calling it "horrible" and saying that the four wheel drive would ruin BMW's rear wheel drive tradition.
Jul 5th, 2013 4:25pm
3 1
Thats called "trolls". And what is most hilarious is that these comments often come out when the car's are heavily disguised. I mean you get comments about the cars looks when its under tons of camo. But most importantly, its people that dont want to see this brand succeed. It has succeeded without the means of a "sugar daddy" company that can pump billions into its projects like VW has done for Audi. For that reason, BMW deserves the highest respect it can get. This company has the right staff aboard.
Jul 5th, 2013 4:46pm
5 2
ethic_78 ethic_78
You're completely right.
Jul 5th, 2013 7:23pm
1 2
CDspeed CDspeed
These photos are excellent, who ever took these is a very talented photographer. I like the looks of this car, I'm sure some readers will disrespect my opinion because it's not the same as theirs, but I think it's going to be a very cool high tech hatchback. And like most BMWs it will be a blast to drive.
Jul 5th, 2013 4:08pm
2 2
I expect high sales numbers. BMW popularity is already as high as ever and this is the car people would love to own as its cutting edge tech, new design and direction from BMW. The badge has loads of pulling power.
Jul 5th, 2013 4:43pm
2 0
Gile Gile
I think those are Mazda RX8-like doors and I don't find them appropriate for i3. RX8 is primarily a sports car and it can sacrifice it's practicality, whereas i3 as as small city car should be all about practicality in a compact package. Plus it's efficiency.
Jul 5th, 2013 3:29pm
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vanquert vanquert
What is not practical with suicide doors? Just because Mazda used it on (a so called) sportscar, doesn't make them unpractical -infact suicide doors used like this is the complete oposite of impractical. Just saying.
Jul 5th, 2013 4:17pm
0 1
bert2578 bert2578
Don't worry, BMW know what they're doing
Jul 5th, 2013 6:10pm
0 2
Antimatter Antimatter
Remember the MINI Clubman also has one suicide door and that was no sportscar.
Jul 5th, 2013 6:12pm
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Gile Gile
Although it has auxiliary rear suicide doors, front passengers still have to get up in order to allow someone to access the rear seats. Plus if you have baby seats mounted in the back, they are easier to use if you have wider opening. So, my opinion on i3's practicality is that it would be a better car if it was a 4/5 door variant.
Jul 5th, 2013 10:41pm
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Gile Gile
And to make clear why I mentioned Mazda. It is a sports car with a short passenger cabin and it can afford only a small suicide doors to ease the access to the back. And practicality is not it's primary purpose. On the other hand, i3 judging by the photo has enough space to fit a regular door in the back.
Jul 5th, 2013 10:47pm
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mechamynd mechamynd
wow, those are narrow wheels
Jul 5th, 2013 2:55pm
2 0
Narrow for a reason. This is not an M model.
Jul 5th, 2013 4:41pm
1 2
mechamynd mechamynd
obviously. when you have light car, you dont require large tire contact patch to resist lateral forces. and with low rolling resistance you have good mileage. And also narrow tires dont cause aquaplaning. But my point is, we havent seen such norrow wheeled modern cars for a while. That's strange for me.
Jul 8th, 2013 10:24am
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hajimekishi hajimekishi
apparently bmw hasn't learned much from the bangle fuss.
Jul 5th, 2013 1:53pm
2 3
velsatis velsatis
Also, bmw is an an atractive brand but not for any of the reasons this car is, this is a disrespect to the brands core image...
Jul 5th, 2013 1:51pm
2 2
e92miami e92miami
The brand is about engineering, lets see the eco numbers this thing produces before we bash it.
Jul 5th, 2013 3:22pm
2 2
velsatis velsatis
Bmw's are all about performance and sporty handling, eco numbers aren't something of a priority when you think of sport...thats my opinion at least
Jul 5th, 2013 4:02pm
1 1
I suggest you read more. Here you go: http://green.autoblog.com/2013/03/05/what-its-like-to-ride-in-the-bmw-i3-and-i8-in-a-word-great/ Yep, faster than a Mini Cooper S and praised its handling and roadhoalding characteristics. There are plenty more rave previews of both i8 and i3 and how they are to drive floating around the web.
Jul 5th, 2013 4:40pm
0 2
velsatis velsatis
Ugly as hell, a shape that doesn't work, a ridiculously small range, this better be cheap otherwise I see lots of "special editions" and fast facelifts to boost the sells department. Honestly I predict bmw to lose money on this.....we shall see
Jul 5th, 2013 1:49pm
3 2
Doesn't work, you say? I think BMW knows more about market trends and technology than you do and i seriously doubt they would even create an i brand if it was doomed to failiure. Once again you will come back later on and have some delicious crow when this is sales success.
Jul 5th, 2013 4:35pm
1 2
Dude von Dudenstein Dude von Dudenstein
BMW can make a car ugly and still sell millions of them. People want it because it is a BMW, that's the end of it.
Jul 5th, 2013 7:35pm
2 0
pzigly pzigly
I know they are small for fuel consumption, but really with those tires? I think my mountain bike has wider tires than that. Motorcycles have wider wires than that for sure.
Jul 5th, 2013 1:47pm
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bert2578 bert2578
Why would it need wide tires in the city? BMW know what they are doing
Jul 5th, 2013 6:07pm
1 2
pzigly pzigly
There is going to be that situation where you are traveling 40-50 and you have to suddenly stop, and it can happen in the rain. That electric engine has torque, and your right in front of a cop and you accelerate a little to hard with puny tires. The cop gives you an exhibition of speed ticket (like a wreak less driving ticket) because he thinks your goofing off. Also there are more potholes in the street than the highway, and potholes don't just go straight down, they have edges on the inner sides. I predict many bent rims because of how narrow these rims are.
Jul 5th, 2013 8:34pm
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f1fan2009 f1fan2009
Looks like a Audi A2 rip off
Jul 5th, 2013 12:20pm
1 4
vanquert vanquert
Not a rip off maybe, but I can agree to some extent. If it was more desguised I guess it would look like an Audi A1. The profile shape of it atleast.
Jul 5th, 2013 4:19pm
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bert2578 bert2578
What??? thats like saying a Range Rover is a Ford Explorer rip off. They are just in the same body class
Jul 5th, 2013 6:16pm
1 0
Cale24 Cale24
More odd than interesting from a design point of view imo.
Jul 5th, 2013 12:12pm
7 1
w0bble w0bble
i dont really find it ugly but it definitely is rather odd,i wonder if it is going to be the ultimitave driving machine or if it´s just frugal
Jul 5th, 2013 12:42pm
2 0