Look for a 0-to-62-mph time of about 4.9 seconds.
BMW has revealed its sixth-generation 3-series sedan. The new model is the first in an unprecedented six-car lineup that will include a five-door GT and a four-door GranCoupe for the first time. BMW plans to put the car on sale across North America in February as a 2012 model. BMW officials suggest the price will rise an average 3 percent over the hugely popular fifth-generation 3-series sedan, on sale here since 2005.
While the overtly sporting i8 is set to act as the performance figurehead for BMW’s initial range of purpose-built alternative-drive vehicles, it is the less expensive and the more practical i3 that offers the choice of either standard plug-in electric or optional range-extended electric drive. This feature will provide BMW’s “i” brand with broad appeal at a base price that executives suggest will be comparable to more powerful versions of today’s 1-series when sales begin in 2013.
Conceived primarily for urban driving, the compact zero-emissions hatchback eschews the traditional low-slung lines of contemporary BMW small cars for a distinctly more upright stance that offers the i3 excellent all-round visibility for ease of maneuverability in city traffic, along with room for up to four adults and a nominal 7.1 cubic feet of luggage space behind the rear seats. In BMW’s words, “It’s been designed for maximum practicality but without any compromise in overall driving dynamics.”