Certain cars, like the BMW 3 series, have been evolutionary over the years. While they’ve gotten a bit larger over the years and the model has split between the 3er and 4er (sedan and coupe), they are still recognizable as the compact executive machines that endeared them to the upwardly mobile in the 1980s. Then you have cars that are more revolutionary, such as the BMW i3 that you see here, brought to our attention by our reader Tony. I recently came across this glimpse of the future at a BMW dealer outside of Philadelphia. After seeing one in person, I can safely say that pictures don’t do it justice.
There’s a lot of things going on with this vehicle. Let’s break it down. First, the design is what grabs your attention first. It could almost be described as a blend of Picasso and Mondrian elements. The look is funky, but it works. Then you get down to the powertrain, which is an electric motor with the option of a small, two cylinder engine dubbed REx, or range extender. Sure, that’s nothing new but you have to take note when it’s being marketed by the company with the old tagline “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” Then, less visible, is the way the i3 is constructed. As automotive manufacturers scramble to meet CAFE requirements in the coming years, BMW is exploring use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic construction in the i3, helping to keep the weight down. Folks, the future is here.