First Ever BMW i3 Sedan, The Electric 3 Series, Shown In China

Looks like these images portraying a new BMW 3 Series EV from China can answer several questions that we had about the manufacturer’s upcoming electric sedan. The photos were published alongside some specs were published by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and they tell us a lot about the upcoming EV.

Firstly, what you’re looking at here is the long-wheelbase 3 Series that features a restyled, facelifted nose. It also confirms that BMW will call the electric 3 sedan the i3, reusing a nameplate that it has until now used to designate its quirky, boxy electric hatchback.

It also seems to lend credence to our hunch that BMW may only offer the electric 3 Series in long wheelbase guise in order to have more room to fit a bigger battery – camouflaged prototypes that we’ve seen all appeared to be the long version. We know with certainty that this is the LWB car since the spec sheet lists its wheelbase as being 2,966 mm (115 inches), which is roughly equal to the long 3 that’s already on sale in China.

However, this being the People’s Republic, the land where all sedans, even small ones, get an extended body option, it doesn’t mean the 3 Series EV sold elsewhere will have the same configuration.

The attached spec sheet also lists the vehicle as weighing 2,029 kg (4,473 pounds), as well as the fact that the vehicle shown has rear air suspension as standard. Regarding its design, we say this looks like a facelifted model because it seems to have revised headlights and a reshaped bumper, on top of the closed off grille whose design mimics that of the iX3 SUV.

The area behind the front wheel is also different, as do the side sills and the vehicle could be a bit taller than the ICE version due to the battery being placed low down under the floor. Moving to the rear, we immediately spot the i-specific rear bumper with no exhausts; instead it has a diffuser-like element with blue highlights, we also see the i3 badge on the rear and the model’s designation – eDrive 35L.

If we again check the spec sheet, this eDrive 35 model’s power and torque figures seem to perfectly match those of the i4 eDrive 40, the single-motor rear-wheel drive base version of that model. Its stated output is 335 horsepower and its top speed is 180 km/h (112 mph).

We will have to wait for the model to make its official debut to learn more about it, though. The new i3 sedan is expected to debut at next year’s Beijing Auto Show.


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