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Revealed: BMW i3 Concept Coupe - LA 2012

By KBB.com Editors on November 27, 2012 8:16 PM
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Sharing much of its technical design with the production-bound BMW i3 Concept 5-door that will go on sale next year, the sportier BMW i3 Concept Coupe makes its world debut in Los Angeles. In addition to exploring an even more youthful 3-door potential extension of the automaker's electric dreams for the future, the i3 Concept Coupe boasts a greater degree of in-vehicle connectivity and adds new interactive networking features thanks to the latest version of BMW ConnectedDrive specifically crafted to accommodate the needs BMW's line of "i" vehicles.

          Related: See the other new cars unveiled in Los Angeles


Like its bigger brother, the new i3 Concept Coupe features the automaker's LifeDrive architecture that matches a strong, lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) central Life structure with the BMW eDrive system. The eDrive system consists of a 170 horsepower electric motor that sends power to the rear wheels via a single speed transmission and is energized by an underfloor lithium-ion battery pack that delivers about 100 miles on a full charge. To help contour the car's performance versus range equation to suit the driver's preference, the i3 Concept Coupe also features a multi-mode Comfort/Eco Pro/Eco Pro+ setup.

Unlike the 5-door original, BMW's new i3 Concept Coupe puts a more aggressive styling spin on its super-green urban mobility theme.  While clearly maintaining the overriding light-and-airy "stream flow" design motif and all of its aero-optimizing elements, the Concept Coupe is shaped and contoured to create a bolder look from virtually any angle. That even-more- intense presence is further emphasized by its exterior trimout that matches Solar Orange with Gloss Black accented with Frozen Grey Matte grille elements and badges rendered in Stream Blue. Finishing the look are 20-inch light alloy wheels mounting staggered-width low-rolling resistance tires, 155/60s up front and 175/55s in the rear.

Inside, the 2+2 cabin displays many of the  simpler and more production-capable elements found in the updated i3 Concept that was shown earlier this summer in Europe. Here, too, sustainability rules as the seats, dash and door panels complement naturally tanned leather with natural fibers and Eucalyptus wood culled from certified sustainably managed European forests.   

While several other manufacturers may take issue with BMW's claim that the i3 Concept Coupe "assumes the title of the world's first fully networked electric vehicle," the latest i-focused strain of BMW ConnectedDrive certainly brings it into the forefront of the game. This new iteration fully integrates the car's navigation system into the mix and allows the i3 Concept Coupe to gather and relate all kinds of mission-critical information that can help keep its owner fully informed on all mission critical elements from remaining state of battery charge and precise driving range based on a given route and traffic conditions to finding nearby charging stations and preconditioning the vehicle to accommodate different climate conditions. The BMW i app can even supply the driver with directions to a given destination when they park the vehicle and set out on foot.

At the moment, the BMW i3 Concept Coupe remains a one-off proposition. But if it generates sufficient interest, we might someday see it make the transition to at least limited-build status.

 

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