To paraphrase George H.W. Bush, read their lips: no SUVs. That's what BMW executives are saying when it comes to the electric-drive i sub-brand it is about to launch with the plug-in i3.
Car Advice spoke with i3 project manager Roland Kowalski, who said the German automaker is targeting city dwellers with the i line, and they put far more of a premium on fuel economy and convenience than an option for four-wheel drive. Additionally, Kowalski says the somewhat "bubbly" looking i3 actually has about the same interior space as a mid-sized sedan (we noticed), making the idea of going all-raised-platform-and-luggage-rack fairly pointless.
This doesn't mean there won't be more i vehicles. Bimmer has trademarked i1 through i9. The company selected the i3 and i8, the plug-in hybrid "supercar" it plans to start selling next year, as the first two names of the sub-brand so that it keeps open the options to go "bigger" than i8 or go "smaller" than i3. We wonder if BMW is planning to target an i5 plug-in specifically for customers on the US West Coast. By the way, that was an attempt at geographic humor. You're welcome.
BMW said in July that it would start selling the i3 in the US for about $41,000 by the second quarter of 2014. The car will have 170 horsepower and is supposed to have a "real world" single-charge range of 80 to 100 miles.