The world premiere of the BMW i3 Concept Coupe sees the BMW Group unveil a particularly nimble and emotive version of its concept for sustainable premium-class motoring with zero local emissions. The study presented at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show has been brought out in parallel to the ongoing development process for getting the first ever all-electric model from the BMW i brand ready for series production, and demonstrates the potential for conceivably extending the model range. The state-of-the-art, clean-cut and open design showcased by the BMW i3 Concept Coupe represents a pioneering form of urban mobility that makes sustainability awareness an intrinsic part of the premium profile. Beyond this, the three-door model employs the design idiom that has been created especially for the BMW i cars to convey an undeniable sense of dynamism and driving pleasure.
The carbon-fibre body’s visual impact is largely shaped by the gracefully flowing coupe roof line and the fresh interpretation of the BMW i “stream flow” design that can be seen in the side window styling, and gives an instant impression of lightness, transparency and streamlined aerodynamic qualities. On the inside, the sense of spaciousness typical of the BMW i brand is combined with an exclusive lounge-style ambience in the two individual rear seats. The BMW i3 Concept Coupe furthermore assumes the title of the world’s first fully networked electric vehicle. Thanks to the inclusion of innovative BMW ConnectedDrive functions that have been devised by BMW i for use in production vehicles, operation of the navigation system as well as the information transfer between the vehicle, the outside world and the driver’s smartphone has been geared towards the specific requirements of e-mobility.
The BMW i3 Concept Coupe sharply focuses the spotlight on the dynamic performance that can be achieved with the purely electric version of the BMW eDrive technology. Like the BMW i3 Concept, the Coupe is also propelled by an electric motor developed by the BMW Group, which develops a maximum output of 170 hp and peak torque of 250 Newton metres (184 lb-ft), and channels its instantaneous power delivery to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. The electric motor draws its energy from the lithium-ion storage cells under the floor. Positioning the battery units here has the effect of lowering the centre of gravity considerably, which further adds to the vehicle’s sensationally agile handling.
Measuring 3,964 millimetres in length, 1,768 wide and 1,555 high, the BMW i3 Concept Coupe can be noted for its highly individual proportions. When compared directly to the BMW i3 Concept, the new study has a broader, lower-slung look that serves to highlight its agile nature at first glance. The wheelbase, on the other hand, is unchanged from that of the standard BMW i3 at 2,570 millimetres.
COMFORT, ECO PRO and ECO PRO+: three driving modes for the ideal mix of driving pleasure and efficiency.
The range covered by vehicles with an all-electric drive is very much dependent on driving style, just as fuel consumption is in conventionally powered cars. The BMW i3 Concept Coupe helps the driver to optimise efficiency by choosing an appropriate vehicle set-up. The Driving Experience Control switch on the centre console can be used to select the three driving modes, COMFORT, ECO PRO and ECO PRO+. The sportiness and comfort of the BMW i3 Concept Coupe can be best experienced in the standard COMFORT setting. ECO PRO mode places the focus more on economical energy management for an increased range and even cleaner performance. The accelerator mapping is modified, for example, so that the same pedal travel delivers less power. At the same time, the heating and air conditioning are switched into a more energy-efficient operating mode. Changing from COMFORT to ECO PRO mode can extend the vehicle’s range by as much as 20 per cent.
Efficiency can be boosted yet further in ECO PRO+ mode, which is designed to do everything possible to maximise driving range. So, not only is the accelerator mapping modified, maximum speed is also limited to 90 km/h (56 mph). Comfort functions such as the heating and air conditioning are furthermore run at the minimum level required to prevent the windows from misting up, for instance. Electrical consumers like the seat heating, mirror heating and non-essential components of the daytime running lights are even switched off completely. As a result of all this, more miles can be added to the vehicle’s range.