The BMW i3 is dead. Long live the i3. Indeed, the quirky hatchback some love to hate will cease production in July, but the name will live on for an EV based on the 3 Series. The hatch was never sold in China where the zero-emissions i3 sedan will be produced exclusively for the local market. It’s not based on the global 3er, but rather on the long-wheelbase derivative with greater legroom.
The longer distance between the axles has created enough space to fit a 70.3-kWh battery pack that has a net capacity of 66.1 kWh. Based on the China Light-Duty Vehicle Test Cycle, the BMW i3 Sedan will cover up to 526 kilometers (327 miles) before running out of juice. According to the same CLTC, the 3er without a combustion engine consumes 14.3 kWh / 100 kilometers.
Known as the BMW i3 eDrive35L, the EV comes strictly in RWD form with a rear electric motor. With 282 hp (210 kW) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) on tap, it’ll do 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) run in 6.2 seconds. Just like the iX3 also made in China, the ICE-less sedan uses components developed for the Gen5 eDrive powertrain also found in the i4 and iX.
The 3 Series swallows 480 liters of cargo, but the i3’s volume is 410 liters due to the added hardware. Once the battery is depleted, it’ll take 35 minutes to charge it from 10% to 80% using a DC connection at 95 kW. Should you be in a hurry, 10 minutes of DC charging equate to 60 miles (97 km) of range. Using AC, the battery pack is charged at 11 kW.
The i3 Sedan Largely Retains the Appearance Of Its ICE Counterpart
From the few photos shared so far, it appears the i3 eDrive35L has redesigned headlights with sharper daytime running lights. It’s unclear whether the refreshed lights are earmarked for the global 3 Series LCI, but it seems plausible. As for the taillights, we can only see a section in a cutaway where they appear to be unchanged.
It gets the typical closed-off grille with blue accents and an “i” badge, along with a resculpted front bumper. Additionally, a look at the side profile reveals aerodynamically optimized wheels and charging ports on the front-left and rear-right fenders.
The silent and stretched 3 Series Sedan has a bespoke suspension catering to China’s roads. It was developed by BMW in collaboration with joint-venture partner Brilliance. The two will assemble the car at the factory in Lydia, Shenyang, with no plans to export the i3. Sales start in May.