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BMW's i3 city car spawns a Coupe

By: Jason Woosey

BMW is getting excited about its first electric vehicle, which it plans to launch in 2013. The city car will be based on 2011's i3 Concept.

BMW is also exploring the sportier side of sustainable city car travel, with the i3 Concept Coupe that will be shown for the first time at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week.

The three-door's lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced plastic shell conveys a racier interpretation of the i3's 'stream flow' side window design. While sharing its more practical sibling's 2570mm wheelbase, the Coupe sits lower to the ground and has a broader look.

This, however, does not signify any real performance ambitions as the Coupe's electric motor, fed by lithium-ion cells beneath the floor, has not enjoyed a power increase.

Like the five-door, maximum outputs are listed at 125kW and 250Nm, delivered to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. The driver can choose between three driving modes - Comfort, Eco Pro and Eco Pro+ - the latter limiting the top speed to 90km/h and dumbing down the ancillary functions to allow a range of around 160km on a single charge.

While no range anxiety counselling is included, the car will help you manage its limitations.

It will even tell the driver if the navigation's destination input is within range and if it deems that a recharge would be necessary at the destination it'll help you find a charging station nearby and allow you to book it from the car.

This is one of many innovations in its big bag of ‘ConnectedDrive’ tricks that controls the flow of information between the car, the world outside and the driver’s smartphone.

In keeping with the Coupe's sportier orientation, the lounge-like cabin now has two individual rear seats. BMW also boasts that the interior surfaces are made from renewable resources and naturally treated materials.

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