- bmw has launched an electric 3-series called the i3 edrive35l, which is being built exclusively for the chinese market.
- the i3 has 282 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, and a 66.1-kwh battery providing 327 miles of range on china’s test cycle.
- the i3 edrive35l has a 4.3-inch longer wheelbase than the standard 3-series, and will launch in china in may 2022.
the bmw i3 is back, but not as we once knew it. instead of a tiny hatchback with concept-car styling and a carbon-fiber-reinforced-plastic structure, the new bmw i3 is an electric version of the venerable 3-series sedan. but bmw’s latest ev will not be available stateside, with the i3 edrive35l being built exclusively for the chinese market.
the i3 utilizes a similar powertrain as bmw’s latest electric offerings such as the i4, ix, and the ix3 that's also not sold in america. bmw didn’t provide specifics on the i3’s electric motors, but given that the i4 edrive40 is rear-wheel-drive and bmw is promising “sporty driving dynamics,” we would expect the i3 to feature a single motor on the rear axle, which the cutaway image provided seems to confirm. bmw did say that the i3 makes 282 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. this allows the i3 to scoot to 62 mph in a claimed 6.2 seconds. a 66.1-kwh battery provides 327 miles on china’s cltc testing cycle, and bmw says the i3 will charge from 10 to 80 percent in 35 minutes.
you may have noticed the l tacked on at the end of the name—this denotes a lengthier wheelbase, with an extra 4.3 inches between the i3’s wheels compared to a standard 3-series sedan. long-wheelbase versions of luxury sedans are popular in china, where having a chauffeur is more commonplace than it is here. the i3 will launch in china in may of this year and will be built in shenyang by bmw brilliance, a joint venture with chinese automaker brilliance auto. perhaps bmw will eventually bring an electric 3-series to the u.s., but for now, the electric sedan space is occupied by the i4.