LA 2012: BMW i3 Concept Coupe

By Brandon Turkus

November 27, 2012

We first saw BMW’s i3 sub-compact electric car over a year ago. It was a handsome little car, but lacked a certain pizzazz, especially when viewed next to the slinky i8. The introduction of this, the i3 Concept Coupe looks to liven things up considerably. Looks like the rumors we'd heard about a new i for LA were true.
Really, this concept is pretty standard fare. Like the last, five-door i3 we saw, it’s all electric, with 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of peak torque. The body is made from carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, which helps to keep weight down.
Its dimensions separate this concept from the original i3. To highlight its agile character, the Concept Coupe is wider and lower than the original i3. Its wheelbase, however, remains the same.
The i3 Concept Coupe will make its official debut at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Please scroll down for the official press release from BMW.
The future promises even greater agility: The BMW i3 Concept Coupe.
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 125 kW/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.
The LifeDrive concept for the BMW i vehicle architecture is instrumental in enabling a brand new vehicle character to be married so harmoniously with BMW eDrive, a technology that is already nearing production standard. The horizontally split construction consisting of two self-contained elements intrinsically focuses on the technical requirements of the electric drive train, and helps to produce a design concept, sense of spaciousness and driving experience that are unique to BMW i cars.
The passenger cell forms the core of the Life module, which is built from carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP). BMW i is scaling new heights for automotive engineering by making such extensive use of this high-tech material. Because it is extremely light yet very strong too, CFRP opens up tremendous scope for design and therefore has all the right credentials for translating the inimitable and unmistakable BMW i design idiom into a wide array of variants. On the BMW i3 Concept Coupé, the drive system, chassis and energy storage unit, along with the structural and crash functions, are once again incorporated into the Drive module that is made chiefly of aluminium.
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.
Body design: LifeDrive architecture sporting new look and colour scheme.
Transferring the design idiom developed specifically for BMW i cars to a coupe concept has resulted in a body whose styling smacks of fun at the wheel while still plainly signalling sustainable mobility. The BMW i3 Concept Coupe's looks let the brand values of efficiency, lightness, safety and premium quality clearly shine through, along with the study's distinctly dynamic bias. The exterior surfaces and colour scheme are structured in such a way as to visualise the basic construction defined by the LifeDrive architecture. The principle of overlapping levels known as "layering" serves to symbolise the harmonious interaction between the striking construction and design elements of the Life and Drive modules, as well as providing the basis for a transparency in the vehicle design that reinforces the concept's sustainability. For instance, the structure of the carbon-fibre material employed in the Life module can be clearly seen in the entrance area and the roof pillars when the door is opened. It is here, as the two-dimensional CFRP laminate typically used for load-bearing elements comes into view, that the material's composition becomes particularly apparent.
The bodywork panels around the wheel arches, doors and rear sidewalls are painted in Solar Orange metallic, a warm shade bursting with energy that was created especially for the BMW i3 Concept Coupe. It forms an electrifying contrast with the high-gloss black finish on the bonnet, roof and boot lid, as well as with the body's black lower edge.
The front apron includes black embedded elements designed to create an air curtain effect that carefully directs the airflow in the vicinity of the wheel arches. The rear apron's lower section incorporates a diffuser component to optimise flow conditions towards the rear of the vehicle's underside. The licence plate holder features a narrow border in Solar Orange, while the U-shaped rear light clusters are integrated into the rear window, just as they are on the BMW i3 Concept. Contrasting touches of Frozen Grey matt for the BMW kidney grille and the sill lines along the sides are specific to this model and add to its visual appearance. The brand emblems in Stream Blue at the front and rear and on the wheel hubs are characteristic BMW i features.
Innovative coupe lines spell pure driving pleasure.
A steeply raked windscreen that extends a long way forward and a roof line that descends