BMW has officially unveiled the 2014 i3 at a series of simultaneous events in New York, London and Beijing.
Described as a "revolutionary step towards sustainable mobility," the i3 has a familiar design which closely echoes the concept that was introduced at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Notable styling highlights include a distinctive grille, U-shaped LED headlights and a “black belt” that runs from the hood to the tailgate. The model also has rearward opening “coach” doors, “stream flow” side contours and 19- or 20-inch forged light-alloy wheels.
The interior reflects the model's eco-friendly roots as it comes equipped with "naturally treated leather, wood, wool and other renewable and recycled raw materials." Three different trim levels are available - Loft, Lodge and Suite - and even the entry-level model comes nicely equipped with air conditioning, USB/Bluetooth/SIM Card connectivity and a freestanding 6.5-inch iDrive display. Options include GPS navigation, automatic climate control, heated front seats and an electrically-operated glass roof.
Motivation is provided by a 22 kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor that develops 170 HP (125 kW) and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) of torque. It is connected to a single-speed transmission that enables the rear-wheel drive model to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 7.2 seconds, hit a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph) and travel 130 – 160 kilometers (81 – 99 miles) on a single charge. While this doesn't sound like much, BMW says the typical driver only travels 64 km (39.7 miles) on a daily basis.
The model can also be equipped with a range-extending two-cylinder petrol engine that "maintains the charge of the lithium-ion battery at a constant level, while on the move, as soon as it dips below a specified value." This enables the i3 REX to have a combined maximum range of approximately 300 km (180 miles).
The 2014 BMW i3 will be priced from €34,950 in Germany, £25,680 (after a £5,000 government grant) in the U.K. and $41,350 - excluding a $925 destination & handling fee - in the United States.