Automobiles

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.
BMW

BMW 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 3 Series 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.

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The i3 shares powertrain components with the i4.

BMW

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.

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