Best Look Yet At BMW's Electric 3 Series

Spy Shots / Comments

The electric BMW 3 Series prototype now has production headlights.

Like many automakers, BMW is rapidly expanding its electric car lineup. Earlier this month, BMW unveiled America's i4, which is essentially an electric version of the 4 Series Gran Coupe that will rival the Tesla Model S. It will also spawn a high-performance M50 variant.

Slotting below the i4 will be an electric version of the BMW 3 Series, which will be the Bavarian automaker's answer to the Tesla Model 3. Last year, our spies spotted BMW testing a prototype of the 3 Series EV. Nearly a year later, the electric BMW 3 Series has dropped more camouflage as it edges closer to production, revealing new details.

At first glance, this looks like an ordinary 3 Series, but the Electric Test Vehicle stickers on the front doors are a clear giveaway this is an EV. Another obvious giveaway is the lack of exhaust pipes.

The front is still heavily camouflaged disguising the closed-off grille, which will most likely carry over from the iX3. Production headlights have now been fitted to the prototype. Notably, the shape of the headlights and the LED taillights do not match the design of the current 3 Series, indicating that the electric version will be based on the upcoming 3 Series facelift. Other design details are difficult to make out, but it seems likely that the refreshed 3 Series will get some other minor tweaks such as redesigned bumpers.

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We can also expect these changes to be applied to the all-electric variant. Our spies believe the electric prototype is based on an extended-wheelbase version of the 3 Series, so it could only be sold in China. However, basing it on the long-wheelbase variant makes sense as there would be more room to store the batteries. If this is the case, the electric BMW 3 Series could still be sold in the US and Europe. It will reportedly be called the i3 when it goes on sale, replacing the current i3 hatchback.

Technical details are still a mystery, but we're expecting the electric 3 Series to share the same setup as the iX3 and 4 Series. In the US, the RWD version of the i4 uses a single electric motor producing 335 horsepower and has a range of 300 miles. The M50, on the other hand, has two electric motors producing a combined 536 hp.

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