BMW's i3 city car has been spotted during final testing in Germany before hitting showrooms in October.
The five-door hatchback, which will be offered with either an all-electric or range-extended powertrain, is expected to cost from £35,000 when it goes on sale later this year. BMW showrooms have already had several models of the i3 on display for customers, and the car was recently seen at London's Motorexpo, but BMW is still giving the car a final shakedown.
This test mule was spotted in southern Germany with minimal camouflage. Most of the design of the i3 is already known, including the fact that the clear doors shown on early prototypes have been replaced with more standard options, but in these pictures the side window line is disguised, suggesting ongoing development.
Order books for the car will open towards the end of this month, with the range-extender model getting a significant price premium over the pure-electric version, at £38,000. Such a cost will place the i3 at a price point above rivals like Nissan's Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt. Based around BMW's 'Life Module' concept, the i3 has a carbonfibre reinforced plastic body structure and rides on a chassis made of almost pure aluminium.
The production version weighs 1270kg, with dimensions to rival the Mini One. The electric motor in the i3 is a 168bhp unit with 184lb ft of torque. BMW claims the i3 can acheive 0-37mph in 3.9sec and 0-62mph in 7.9sec. Maximum speed is limited to 93mph.
Recent spy shots of BMW's other i-range model, the i8, have also confirmed that the model is nearing completion. The i8 is expected to cost £100,000 when it arrives next year.