Meet BMW's new electric saloon car. It's similar in size as the current BMW 3 Series, and you'll be able to buy it in 2021.
Named i Vision Dynamics, it will become the third model in its i brand line-up following the existing i3 and i8. 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, and will probably be badged i5 when it's released on the market.
“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."
At 4800mm (189in) in length, 1933mm (76in) in width and 1387mm (55in) in height, the i Vision Dynamics is 167mm longer (6.6in), 122mm (4.8in) wider and 42mm (1.7in) lower than today’s current BMW 3-series. A longer 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 Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW design boss. “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, BMW says early engineering work on the production version 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. 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.
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 built 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.
BMW will 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.
The one thing about this car that we haven't yet seen is the interior. One plucky journalist did manage to open the car's door at Frankfurt, but didn't manage to get much further. The interior packaging of the car will be very interesting; the nature of electric cars is that they usually free up a lot of space inside. Hopefully we'll all get a look soon, but in the meantime feast your eyes on all the photos of this 2017 Frankfurt show star.