BMW Revives i3 Moniker With an All-Electric 3-Series Sedan for China

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【Summary】BMW has brought back the i3 sedan in the form of the i3 eDrive35L, which will only be available in China starting later this May with 327 miles of range on China’s test cycle.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    May 09, 2022 7:15 AM PT
BMW Revives i3 Moniker With an All-Electric 3-Series Sedan for China

Last December, photos of an all-electric 3-Series sedan with Chinese badges hit the market. It seems like those pictures were a preview of what BMW had in store for the Chinese market, as the German automaker has unveiled a new i3 eDrive35L sedan for the country. The new vehicle revives the i3 name, but in an elongated sedan instead of a funky hatchback.

New EV Only For China

As its name implies, the i3 eDrive35L is an all-electric sedan that's based on the long-wheelbase variant of the 3-Series. It will only be available in China starting in May 2022. Compared to a regular 3-Series, the i3 eDrive35L has a wheelbase that's 4.3 inches longer. BMW claims the electric 3-Series has the automaker's Gen5 eDrive powertrain components that are also found in the iX3, iX, and i4, but didn't provide specifics on the vehicle's electric motors.

What we do know about the i3 eDrive35L's performance is that it makes 282 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Based on the cutaway image that BMW released, the sedan appears to have a single motor on the rear wheels for rear-wheel drive. The sedan has a claimed zero-to-62 mph time of 6.2 seconds and a range of 327 miles on China's CLTC cycle thanks to its 66.1-kWh battery pack. When plugged into a fast charger, the i3 eDrive35L can go from 10 to 80% in 35 minutes.

BMW claims that the i3 eDrive35L "offers all the sporty driving dynamics, long-distance comfort and wide range of individualization options for which the BMW 3 Series is so well known." Based on what the automaker has provided, it certainly sounds like a compelling vehicle.

Improved For The Chinese Market

In addition to lengthening the 3-Series sedan's body, the automaker also updated the vehicle's suspension when making the i3 eDrive35L to better suit China's roads. We can only assume that the automaker made changes to ensure the electric sedan provides passengers with a plusher riding experience.

The i3 eDrive35L will be built at BMW's Brilliance Automotive Ltd. plant in Lydia, Shengyang. The vehicle will officially come out later this May. The vehicle will play an important role in BMW's goal of having electric vehicles account for half of its global sales by 2030.

While BMW didn't say anything about the i3 eDrive35L coming to the U.S., seeing a production version of the 3-Series come out, even if it's for a different market, gives us hope that BMW could bring the vehicle to our market in the future.

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