New BMW i3 based on 3 Series revealed

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BMW i3 name gets a second outing for 215kW, long-wheelbase EV version of 3 Series sedan.

The BMW 3 Series has been given an electric powertrain for the Chinese market, where it will be sold under the i3 name.

The new model, based on the long-wheelbase Chinese market version of the traditional BMW four-door, is planned to go on sale in May, shortly before the nine-year-old BMW i3 electric hatchback bows out of production.

bmw electric 3 series

It will be launched in rear-wheel-drive i3 eDrive35L guise, which is claimed to provide a range of up to 526km on the Chinese Light Duty Test Cycle (CLTC).

Drawing on developments brought to the Chinese-built BMW iX3 SUV that arrived in 2021, the new i3 eDrive35L has a single electric motor. Sited at the rear in a new electrified axle assembly, it develops the same 214kW and 400Nm as it does in the rear-driven iX3.

Energy for the motor is provided by a 66.1kWh (net) lithium ion battery pack using cells provided by the Chinese company CATL.  Mounted in a modified version of BMW’s CLAR platform structure, it can be charged at rates of up to 11kW by an AC charger and up to 95kW by a higher-powered DC system. The charging time from 10-80 per cent is put at 35 minutes.

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By comparison, the iX3 uses a larger 74kWh (net) battery that can be charged at up to 150kW.

BMW claims a 0-100km/h time for the i3 eDrive35L of 6.2sec. An official top speed hasn’t been announced, but BMW officials suggest it will be limited to the same 180km/h as the iX3, as is common for Chinese-market models.

The i3 eDrive35L is based on the Chinese-market 3 Series L, which has a wheelbase 115mm longer than that of the standard model sold in other markets, extending its overall length to 4872mm.

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Inside, the new i3 receives BMW’s eighth-generation iDrive infotainnment system and what BMW describes as a “wide range of cutting-edge digital features and services making their 3 Series debut”.

The packaging of the battery and power electronics reduces boot capacity over standard petrol and diesel versions of the 3 Series by 80 litres, at a claimed 400 litres. This is 25 litres more than that offered by the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid.

The new i3 is the second electric BMW model to be produced in China after the iX3.

Like its SUV sibling, the new four-door model is produced in a joint venture between BMW and Chinese car maker Brilliance in an operation called BMW Brilliance Automotive, headquartered in Shenyang.

Automotive Daily

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