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LEAKED: BMW i3 sedan is an electrified 3 Series

Published Dec 9, 2021

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A new version of the BMW i3 has been inadvertently revealed ahead of time by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and is essentially a battery-powered version of the BMW 3 Series sedan.

While the car that you see here is clearly earmarked for the Chinese market, there is no indication of when or whether it will reach global markets, although rumours are pointing towards a 3 Series EV reaching Europe in 2023. This i3 four-door could also be something of a stopgap, though, given reports that BMW will introduce a 3 Series EV on a brand new platform somewhere around 2025, as Autocar previously reported.

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We’re also not sure where this would leave the current BMW i3, which is a quirky, but aging, compact hatchback built around a dedicated lightweight EV architecture.

Although BMW has yet to officially announce this new sedan, the aforementioned Chinese website does mention some of the specifications, including a kerb weight of 2029kg (remember, batteries are extremely heavy) as well as a power output of 250kW.

The power figure implies that it will share its rear-axle-driven electric motor with the BMW i4 eDrive40i, and if the battery specifications are identical to the latter then owners can look forward to a range in the region of 590km between charges.

Like the i4, the i3 sedan is built around a modified version of the CLAR platform, which was originally designed to accommodate both electric and internal combustion models. It is expected that the 2025 electric 3 Series will be based on a new EV-dedicated architecture, while the ICE 3 Series is likely to live on to see another generation on an updated version of the CLAR platform.

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