Spotted! BMW’s i3 and i8 Testing in Sweden

#BMW, #I3

While undergoing cold-weather testing near the Artic Circle, BMW’s duo of efficient i Series cars were caught dressed up in swirly camouflage. Our friends over at Motor Trend have captured a few snapshots of the cars come from BMW’s new sub-brand.

BMW had previously only showed us a sketch of what the i3 and i8 cars were going to look like. What we do know, though, is that the i Series will be technologically advanced cars that stay true to the core fundamentals of BMW driving dynamics but also achieve high fuel efficiency from hybrid and electric propulsion. BMW plans to have the i3 and i8 on the road sometime in 2013.

We’ve already had a good look at the i8 2+2 coupe with the 2009 BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car; now, we have a closer look at the production vehicle. The version that will hit the roads will stay close in design to the concept car, with aerodynamically efficient bodywork creating as little air resistance as possible. The i8 will have an aluminum chassis and a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic body shell to offset the weight of its battery pack. Power for the i8 will come from a plug-in hybrid system.

What we haven’t seen yet is the smaller i3. Previously known as the MegaCity vehicle, the i3 will be EV only. These spy shots give us a much better look at what the itty-bitty, front-wheel drive BMW will look like. However, we hope that that front hump is only part of the camouflage cladding, and that the i3 won’t sport such a thing. We’re not sure if it worked on the 1998 Fiat Multipla, and we’re not sure if it will work here. The rest of the body of the i3 seems fairly restrained, similar to the straight-forward and spacious box design used by Japanese “kei” cars like the Mitsubishi i.

What do you think of the BMW i3 and i8? Will BMW be able to make a splash in the market, or will the design hold them back? Let us know in the comments, and make sure to check out the full photo sets over at Motor Trend.

Source: Motor Trend

Although BMW is quite late to arrive at the hybrid and electric vehicle party, the i3 and i8 will leap-frog every hybrid that Toyota has ever sold. In reality, these are the kinds of cars that Lexus should have made its first all-hybrid line, not the warmed over Prii that it currently offers.

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