BMW's third i model has been previewed at the Frankfurt show with a new 'notchback' concept
12 September 2017

BMW has revealed a new, electrically powered four-door concept at the Frankfurt motor show, confirming that it will see production as the third model in its i brand line-up. Called the i Vision Dynamics, the new saloon is claimed to possess a 0-62mph time of less than four seconds, a top speed in excess of 120mph and a zero-emission range of up 372 miles.

Due to reach showrooms in 2021, the production version of the i Vision Dynamics is set to take the i5 name, bridging a gap in the i brand line-up between the smaller electrically powered i3 and the petrol-electric hybrid i8.

Read more: In pictures - BMW's new electric '3 Series'

“With the BMW i Vision Dynamics we are showcasing how we envisage future electric mobility between the i3 and i8: a dynamic and progressive, four-door gran coupé,” said BMW chairman Harald Krüger. "We are electrifying the heart of the BMW brand."

Various design cues are borrowed from the early Vision Next concept revealed in 2016 as part of the German car maker’s 100th anniversary celebrations, including a bold kidney grille and distinctive hockey stick shaped headlamp graphics, and heavily contoured bonnet at the front.

The glasshouse features a heavily angled windscreen and reaches well back towards the rear, giving the i Vision a short boot deck typical of BMW saloon models that is bookmarked by heavily sculptured tail lamps with a flowing signature look. The sizeable wheel wells houses 22-inch wheels.     

At 4800mm in length, 1933mm in width and 1387mm in height, the i Vision Dynamics is 167mm longer, 122mm wider and 42mm lower than today’s sixth-generation 3-series. A long wheelbase also provides for short overhangs aimed at maximising interior space.

“With the i3 and i8 we have designed a city car and a sports car,” says BMW design boss, Adrian van Hooydonk. “Now we are therefore demonstrating how the product range and the design language of BMW i can be evolved further into other concepts.”

Although the new car is very conceptual in nature, BMW says early engineering work on the production version of the i Vision Dynamics has already begun.

BMW’s new electric saloon has a low and sporting silhouette with an overall length similar to that of today’s 3-Series saloon. Various design cues are borrowed from the early Vision Next 100 concept revealed in 2016 as part of the German car maker’s 100th anniversary celebrations, including a bold kidney grille, distinctive hockey stick-shaped headlight graphics and a heavily contoured bonnet.

 “With the i3 and i8 we have designed a city car and a sports car,” said BMW design boss Adrian van Hooydonk. “Now we are therefore demonstrating how the product range and the design language of BMW i can be evolved further into other concepts.”

Commenting on the technical aspects of the new i model, BMW R&D boss Klaus Fröhlich said: “The i model we have planned for launch in 2021 will incorporate our fifth-generation battery electric system – a step that will take us to the next level.”

BMW’s next-generation electric power system has been conceived around a new generation of battery cells and electric motors, providing what Fröhlich describes as “a big leap in energy density and overall range” over that of the existing i3.

Autocar can also confirm plans by BMW to provide the new i brand model with advanced new autonomous driving technology. Details remain scarce, although Fröhlich said future i models will be differentiated from BMW’s more mainstream electrically powered models planned for introduction by 2025, including the upcoming Mini Electric and X3 Electric, by innovative technology such as Level 3 and Level 4 autonomous driving systems.

“We’re going for a top-down approach on autonomous driving technology'" Frölich added. "We want to understand Level 5 first. It will likely arrive in 2025.

“By 2025, we will offer 25 electrified vehicles - 12 will be fully electric."

The i Vision Dyanmcis lands alongside other new BMW models in Frankfurt, including an electric-powered Mini. Also under development at BMW is an electric-powered version of the new third-generation X3 and a range-topping i brand model known under the working title iNext.

At the presentation of the new i brand concept, Fröhlich said it was separate to the iNext: “They are two completely different models.”

The iNext builds off the Vision Next 100 and is set to take the form of a high-riding crossover-style SUV, according to BMW sources who also suggest it will receive the i7 name.

Development boss Fröhlich said the brand's shift to electric comes at a time when public opinion of car makers is low. In an apparent nod to the Volkswagen dieselgate scandal, he said: "The actions of some have severely compromised the credibility and trustworthiness of our industry. As a result, we now face tighter – and sometimes irrational – approaches to legislation. Around the world, regulations on fuel consumption, emissions and safety are changing faster than ever before".

BMW is investing €200 million (£181m) into a battery research and development facility so it can control the production and supply of its batteries in-house.

Our Verdict

BMW i3

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Comments
13

7 September 2017

I'm sure Autocar reported that the i5 had been cancelled a few months ago..

7 September 2017

Plain. Looks very dated. Can't car manufacturers give us some new exciting models?

'BMW is investing €200 million into a battery research and development facility so it can control the production and supply of its batteries in house.'

Steam-electric power is a better bet - no large batteries have to be manufactured or recycled.

7 September 2017
max1e6 wrote:

Plain. Looks very dated. Can't car manufacturers give us some new exciting models?

'BMW is investing €200 million into a battery research and development facility so it can control the production and supply of its batteries in house.'

Steam-electric power is a better bet - no large batteries have to be manufactured or recycled.

And just how will you create the steam. a diesel powered kettle no doubt

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

8 September 2017
max1e6 wrote:

Plain. Looks very dated. Can't car manufacturers give us some new exciting models?

Gotta love the armchair critics. The car hasn't even been revealed yet and its looks are dismissed as 'dated'!

12 September 2017

Well now it's been revealed and it's awful. Doesn't look like a BMW at all.

8 September 2017

I hope BMW don't make it look like the 5GT....!

Peter Cavellini.

8 September 2017

I just bought a second hand i3 REX to test if it's viable in Sadiq Khan's woefully underquipped London, even thought I can't charge it at home. 

The worst part of the experience so far has been BMW's much-vaunted "i-division" who:

-made me call 4 different numbers to check its warranty status

-gave me different answers to a number of questions

-couldn't advise me correctly at first how to change the BMW Connect app

The car itself is amusing but (i) bouncy (ii) range is nowhere near the stated range (iii) REX is noisy (iv) doesn't come with rapid charge as standard (v) has daft rear suicide doors which don't open independently.

I hope BMW is learning from all these teething issues as the i3 is a great first try at an electric car.

Most of all, they need to provide a charging network, like Tesla do because the UK will never provide good infrastructure.

8 September 2017

I just bought a second hand i3 REX to test if it's viable in Sadiq Khan's woefully underquipped London, even thought I can't charge it at home. 

The worst part of the experience so far has been BMW's much-vaunted "i-division" who:

-made me call 4 different numbers to check its warranty status

-gave me different answers to a number of questions

-couldn't advise me correctly at first how to change the BMW Connect app

The car itself is amusing but (i) bouncy (ii) range is nowhere near the stated range (iii) REX is noisy (iv) doesn't come with rapid charge as standard (v) has daft rear suicide doors which don't open independently.

I hope BMW is learning from all these teething issues as the i3 is a great first try at an electric car.

Most of all, they need to provide a charging network, like Tesla do because the UK will never provide good infrastructure.

8 September 2017

Almost all your questions/faults would have been known before buying one, so the big question is, why did you buy one?

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

8 September 2017

I cant help but think most of your issues would be revealed in a short test drive and, in the case of the last 2 points  a cursory glance at a brochure!

As a tiny amount of research will reveal range estimates for electric cars are similar to fuel economy claims for conventional cars, only as good as the test behind them. A realistic range for a 1st gen i3 might be 65 to 85 miles and a 2nd gen 110 to 140 miles. There are many factors that affect this including temperature, incline, driving style and speed. The american figures (EPA) are much more accurate for some reason, so i would suggest looking at them.

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