The BMW i3 Coupe concept has been unveiled on the eve of its debut at the 2012 LA motor show, revealing a potential three-door twin to the five-door electric car due in late 2013.
BMW’s latest concept teaser for its new range of i-badged cars is similarly styled to the five-door i3 concept (pictured bottom) but features a more steeply raked windscreen, a tapering roofline and a pair of longer doors that look more production ready than its relative’s doors that are predominantly made of glass.
The i3 Coupe, which had been rumoured to be unveiled as the i4 as part of BMW’s upcoming revised naming system, is constructed from the same carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), and BMW says this helps to dispense with a B-pillar for easier access to the rear seats.
Both i3 concepts share the same 2570mm wheelbase, but the BMW i3 Coupe is slightly longer at 3964mm, with a width of 1768mm and a height of 1555mm.
The Coupe sits on 20-inch alloys wrapped in low-profile, low-rolling-resistance tyres.
Power comes from the same drivetrain as the i3 five-door – a BMW-developed electric motor that’s fed by a lithium-ion battery pack incorporated into the floor and producing 125kW and 250Nm.
BMW hasn’t stated a performance figure for the Coupe but the i3 five-door has a 0-100km/h claim of less than eight seconds.
Three driving modes are again included and changeable via a Driving Experience Control switch on the centre console. The default Comfort mode provides both sportiness and comfort, according to BMW, while switching to the Eco Pro modes retards throttle response and improves the efficiency of the i3’s heating and ventilation system.
BMW says the i3’s range can be increased by up to 20 per cent by using Eco Pro instead of Comfort. The electric car’s estimated range on a full charge is 160km.
If the Coupe version were to go into production, it’s likely it would follow the BMW i3 five-door and be offered with the same optional two-cylinder petrol engine that – like the Holden Volt – can act as a generator for the battery pack to recharge it on the move and extend the theoretical driving range.
The i range will also be joined by the BMW i8 sports car coupe and roadster twins.