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by David Zalstein

The first images of the BMW i3 production car have leaked ahead of its three-part world premiere next week.

Taking significant inspiration from the i3 concept car first seen at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show, the production BMW i3 features a mildly restyled front bumper with new headlights and round front fog lights. The blue-framed twin kidney grille remains.

As seen in earlier patent and testing images, the concept’s translucent doors and rear hatch have been swapped for more conventional opaque units, while the rear suicide doors have been reduced in size.

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At the rear, a new rear bumper and LED tail-lights join an illuminated BMW badge and a tailgate-mounted spoiler.

The first vehicle to ride on BMW’s new LifeDrive platform – said to enable greater interior space while retaining a small wheelbase – the i3’s futuristic looking cabin seats four and features a blue-trimmed two-spoke steering wheel, a digital instrument cluster and a central touchscreen.

The dash-mounted touchscreen is expected to be the hub for the car’s connectivity, navigation and entertainment functions as well as interfacing smartphone integration.

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The images, first published by Netherlands-based Autoblog, also reveal metallic interior accents and optional wood trim highlights.

In electric form, the almost four-metre-long BMW i3 is powered by a 125kW/250Nm electric motor and lithium-ion battery that claims a range of up to 160km. The range extender version features an additional 650cc two-cylinder petrol engine to maintain battery charge and is intended to result in a range of approximately 290km.

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Overseas pricing released earlier in the week may hint towards the electric car’s positioning when it lands in Australia next year, with prices for the hybrid version yet to be announced.

The BMW i3 will make its international debut on July 29 at simultaneous events in London, New York and Beijing.

Click on the Photos tab for more images.




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