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BMW unveils new electric i3 based on 3 Series, but it’s only for China for now

BMW unveiled today a new electric BMW i3, but unlike the previous vehicle with that name, this one is based on the 3 Series.

Therefore, BMW is unveiling the highly anticipated 3 Series, but it’s only for China for now.

The original BMW i3 had a polarizing design. It became the poster child for the phenomenon of electric “weirdmobiles” at a time when many automakers thought that you have to differentiate electric vehicles from the rest of their lineups with an unconventional design.

What people really wanted was an electric version of the BMW 3 Series, but the German automaker took almost a decade-long break before launching its next EVs.

Now they are finally coming out with more as the iX, iX3, i4 are coming to market.

Today, BMW is adding, or bringing back, the i3 into the mix, but as a brand-new electric vehicle for China:

The BMW i3 eDrive35L is the perfect fit for the particular requirements of Chinese customers. It is based on the successful BMW 3 Series, which led the premium-compact segment in China in 2021.

As you can see, the vehicle looks nothing like the original i3, and it is almost identical to a modern 3 Series:

The automaker didn’t release a lot of pictures of the new electric vehicle yet.

BMW says that the new electric car is going to have a range of 526 km (327 miles), but that’s based on the CLTC driving cycle, which is really generous.

Nonetheless, the BMW i3 is equipped with a 70.3 kWh (66.1 kWh net) battery pack, which should be enough for a decent range in real-world conditions.

The vehicle is going to be very similar to the 3 Series, but BMW says that it features a slightly longer wheelbase:

With an 11 cm longer wheelbase than a standard 3 Series, the BMW i3 eDrive35L combines a premium rear seat experience with locally emission-free driving. At the same time, the all-electric four-door sedan offers all the sporty driving dynamics, long-distance comfort and wide range of individualisation options for which the BMW 3 Series is so well known. A high level of build quality, service quality and longevity are likewise standout characteristics of the BMW i3 eDrive35L, making it a unique offering in the premium-compact segment.

The new BMW i3 is going to be produced at the BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd. plant in Lydia, Shenyang, and a market launch is expected in May.

No word on pricing yet, but it is expected to be competitive.

Here are the specs that BMW released about the new i3:

Body concept                                                        Four-door sedan
Length                                                                    4,872 mm
Wheelbase                                                             2,966 mm
Max. power output                                               210 kW 
Max. torque                                                           400 Nm
0-100 km/h                                                            6.2 s
Energy consumption (CLTC)                               14.3 kWh/100 km
Range (CLTC)                                                        526 km
High-voltage battery capacity   (gross/net)      70.3 kWh/66.1 kWh
Charging power max.                                           95 kW (DC), 11 kW (AC)
Charging time 10-80% SOC with DC max.        35 min.
Range after 10 min. DC max. charging              97 km
Luggage compartment                                         410 litres

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