BMW's New i3 Is Sadly Just an Electric 3 Series for China

The long-wheelbase i3 has 282 horsepower and a 327-mile range.


Disappointing, but not surprising.


has a brand new i3, but it isn't a true successor to the futuristic electric hatchback we know and love. Specifically developed for China, the new i3 is a fully electric version of the sedan, and that's a real bummer.

Only a couple exterior photos of the i3 were released, but we can see that it's our first glimpse of the as-yet-unrevealed facelift for the current G20 generation. There are new bumper and headlight designs, and the i3 gets blocked-off kidney grilles, unique wheels and a different diffuser. Expect some new trim pieces on the interior and updates to the infotainment system, too. The i3 is exclusively based on China's long-wheelbase 3 Series, which has a 4.3-inch-longer wheelbase than the sedan we get in the US.


The i3 shares powertrain components with the i4.


The i3 shares its powertrain components with other BMW EVs like the i4 and iX, and the sole eDrive35L model has a single electric motor powering the rear wheels and a 70.3-kilowatt-hour battery pack. BMW says the i3 has 282 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, which lets it hit 62 mph in 6.2 seconds. Max range is 327 miles, and using a DC fast charger the i3 can gain 60 miles in 10 minutes of charging or go from a 10% to 80% charge in 35 minutes.

The i3 will be produced at BMW Brilliance's plant in Lydia, Shenyang, with deliveries to start in May. While the i3 is surely set to remain a China-only model, the i4 hatchback that we get in the US is better looking, more powerful and more practical, so we really aren't missing out.

Watch this: Is the BMW i3s an all-electric hot hatch?
Daniel Golson Former social media editor

Article updated on March 31, 2022 at 9:02 AM PDT

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Daniel Golson Former social media editor
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